blood orange meringue pie

It seems that this time of year finds those in the food blogging world extolling the many virtues and joys of citrus. Take, for instance, a recent foray into the world of exotic and rare citrus fruit by David Lebovitz, a tempting Seville and blood orange sorbet with sichuan pepper by Keiko Oikawa of Nordljus (adapted from a Lebovitz ice cream recipe), smitten kitchen’s blood orange olive oil cake, or glazed sour orange and pudding cakes at Cannelle et Vanille.

Not wanting to feel left out of the apparent citrus lovefe(a)st, I spent a bit of time thinking about the limited, but decent, citrus selection at my local grocery store. I settled blood oranges as my citrus of choice, and before long it popped into my mind to make a blood orange meringue pie. While somewhat well-versed in general meringue and custard making, I’d never put the two together into a pie before. I have subtle memories of my family’s general interest in lemon meringue pies, but they always seemed very Baker’s Square professional to me – probably because those are the only ones I ever remember eating.

Creeping about on the internet found recipes for multiple citrussy variants, including a grapefruit meringue pie recipe from Baking Bites that I ended up adapting to meet my blood orange needs. Although it took time to put all the components together, it was a very simple recipe. I’d like to repeat the dessert, next time with grapefruit, perhaps. Or with Cara Cara oranges.

Blood Orange Meringue Pie {recipe adapted from Baking Bites’ recipe for Grapefruit Meringue Pie}

Makes 1 pie

Pie Crust

++Ingredients:++

1 c. + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
6 tbsp. cold butter
1-3 tbsp. ice water

++Directions:++

Pulse flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add butter in pieces and mix until the mixture is coarse, but uniform. Slowly add the ice water until dough almost comes together. After removing from the food processor, press dough into a flattened disc and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 375F. Roll dough out to fit a 9-inch pie pan and trim the crust, leaving some length around the edge as the crust will likely shrink a slight amount. Evenly prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, and line the inside with aluminum foil. Do not cover the edges. Fill with pie weights or with 2 cups of dried beans, and bake for ~25 minutes, until very lightly browned. Remove the foil and weights/beans and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until medium brown at the edges.

Set aside to cool.

Blood Orange Filling

++Ingredients:++

3/4 c. sugar
3 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
3 tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 c. water
1/2 c. freshly squeezed blood orange juice
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp. blood orange zest
3 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
2 tbsp. butter

++Directions:++

In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt and water. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring with a whisk, for ~3 minutes, until quite thick and goopy-looking. In a small bowl, combine egg yolks with blood orange juice and zest, and lemon juice.

Gradually temper eggs with about 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture, drizzling the hot mixture in very slowly. Return saucepan to heat and, whisking continuously, stream in the blood orange mixture. When thoroughly mixed, add in butter and cook over medium-high heat for another 3 minutes.

After cooling slightly, strain into the pre-cooked crust. Cool to room temperature.

Meringue

++Ingredients:++

1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. water
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

++Directions:++

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Beat in cream of tartar at high speed until egg whites reach soft peaks. Slowly, with the mixer on medium speed, pour in sugar syrup in a thin stream. When all sugar syrup has been added, beat egg whites on high speed to stiff peaks.

Spoon meringue onto pie filling and make sure to completely seal the edges or the meringue with the crust, leaving no filling exposed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the pie for 8-10 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned.

In retrospect, I would have left my pie in a shorter amount of time (I left it in several minutes longer to achieve a nicer browning), and finished the browning with my kitchen torch. The extra baking time heated the blood orange filling to a degree that partially melted the meringue.  And, despite my most valiant meringue-ing attempts, it pulled away from the edge of the pie after it had cooled, due (I’m sure) to the over-heating in the oven.

Having a fully-functioning kitchen torch in my possession, I’m not sure why I didn’t just use it in the first place!

A final note of caution: Don’t happen to set anything – say, a handbag – on top of your meringue, or you will wind up with it on your car seat, violin case, mittens, and on the coats of you and everyone you love. This is but a simple, handy tip, that I’m sure won’t be too hard to abide by.

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18 thoughts on “blood orange meringue pie

  1. Absolutely the prettiest meringue I’ve ever seen!!!I am going to have to make this to see how it tastes..(Bet that it is yummy!)

  2. Mum: thank you! What you don’t see is the meringue topping post-run in with my well-intentioned tote bag. It still tasted delicious though… give it a try!

    C Fox: Wonkavision, mmm, a delightful treat that I have the ill fortune to possess not frequently enough! Thanks for checking this out; I’ll have to go find some giant gummy bears to go knock down to get my Wonkavision back… (2:21 in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ-uV72pQKI)

  3. I think that handbag meringue and backpack mayonnaise are in cahoots foil the cleanliness you and your loved ones!

  4. I’m counting down the days for citrus to arrive here in Australia. (Happy for summer to end now – well, except for the stone fruit!)

    Great idea for a meringue pie. I usually just make lime or lemon. I’m inspired to consider other flavours!

  5. strubshank: TO foil the cleanliness? Indeed, I think you’re right. And it’s true, I nibbled on both the backpack mayonnaise and the handbag/car-strewn meringue:) This must be a facet of my continuous Wonkavision.

  6. Julia: I’m not one to be eager for a changing of the seasons, but I can echo your desire for a change of scenery in the produce section of the grocery store. And I’m glad that I can provide some inspiration to you, knowing how much insight your recipes have brought – and continue to bring – me.

    And mmm, maybe next up will be lime meringue, rather than grapefruit!

  7. So, a new pie creation. Was it good? Did it knock your socks off, or, ho – hum? Would you do it again? Now, do you recommend it? -inquiring palates want to know…

    1. David: Ho, hum, yes! I would make it again. I’m sort of guessing on the 3/4 c. of sugar, because I actually used 1 c., and it was too much! The recipe, originally being for grapefruit meringue, had been beefed up with too much sugar for my measly oranges. In response, I added more juice than listed in the recipe, trying to even out the sugar. Probably too much juice. In the end, I added teeeeeeny amounts of salt until the taste was just right.

      In summary, I’d start with less sugar, and definitely include a small amount of lemon juice and salt to bring out the blood orange flavors. I hope the inquiring palates of your household get to enjoy a tasty meringue pie (kitties??)!

  8. I made Smitten Kitchen’s blood orange olive oil cake just now (it’s in the oven as I write this), and I had never done anything with blood oranges before. Their color is so breathtaking! It makes a beautiful custard in your pie!

    Kitchen torch? I am officially jealous.

    1. Brianne: Let me know how that blood orange olive oil cake tastes, it sounds great! The only olive oil-based dessert I’ve made before were some shortbread cookies with fennel seeds in them… they tasted okay, but I think I messed up the powdered sugar amount (I was converting poorly from metric) and they were a bit funny. So I’m rarin’ to try baking with olive oil again:)

      I love my kitchen torch. It’s not like I can use it every day, but I can think about using it every day!

  9. “…next time with grapefruit, perhaps. or with cara cara oranges.” or rhabarber ! ;)

    funny thing is that when i had originally decided to make lemon meringue pie, the runner up was… smitten kitchen’s blood orange olive oil cake. true. it’s like a full circle between our blogs, love it !

    and why i am not familiar with your blog is *beyond me* !!! grrrr. i’ve got lots of catching up to do. no more blood oranges at the market here unfortunately or i would have been all over this. love the idea, emma !! =)

    ps – a friend just asked me how on earth a meringue loving girl like myself doesn’t have a mini blow torch. think i need to add one of those bad boys to my kitchen…

    1. Kerrin: Love the rhabarber! I’ll see how many facets of my life I can work it into. I like our full-blog circle too, but I’ll admit… I’m much more drawn to your end, because you have nearby photogenic markets!

      Blood oranges are about done here too, but I don’t mind as I welcome the fresh fruit of summer. Hah about catching up – you are one busy kugelhopf, and I am really just beginning to navigate myself in blog-dom. It feels good to be taking pictures on a regular basis again though:)

      And no kitchen torch?!?!? Yowz!

  10. Beautiful Pie! I scraped the seeds of one vanilla bean into mine and it was delicious. Did you add any coloring to the pie in your photos? I used the juice from very dark oranges and didn’t get nearly as nice of a color with my custard.

    1. Hi Colleen! Vanilla bean sounds like a lovely addidtion! Oh boy, I bet that was tasty.

      I did not add any coloring to this pie, I remember having insanely dark blood oranges. Sometimes they’re like that, very dark to the point of looking almost rotten – but they’re not. If I made this and my oranges were not as dark in color, I probably would have added a drop or two of food coloring;)

  11. I made this recipe and the blood orange filling came out almost peach colored. Looks nothing like the pictures above. Very disappointed ;(

    1. Hi Rory, sorry to hear that you were disappointed. If you see the comment above, Colleen’s filling came out light too. And I have made this since as well, with a much lighter filling – I just haven’t been able to replicate the beauty of those blood oranges from 2011! I will make the same recommendation to you that I made to Colleen – if your filling looks light or too pastel-colored, add a drop or two of food coloring to darken the color of your filling. Not too much though… a little goes a long way!

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