grapefruit lime meringue pie

I’ve spent a lot of time lately daydreaming about a few things. Of how I want to buy a giant Spice Girls poster and hang it in my bathroom, for one. Of how if I meow back and forth with my cat frequently enough, I should probably discover true communication with her. And also, of potential flavor wow-ing combos for meringue pies.

I’ve made a few excellent versions in the past, flavored with blood orange and rhubarb.

However, I may enjoy this new creation the most : the tangy, slightly sour and bitter, but still sweet Grapefruit Lime Meringue Pie.

This filling is amazing. The lime juice brings tangy sourness and its zest brings a hit of bitterness. The grapefruit juice and zest are milder and sweeter, and successfully balance out the limes. Over time the custard sweetens, so that by its second day in the fridge, it is predominantly sweet.

In addition to pie filling daydreams, I’ve lately been experimenting with various flours. High gluten flour in pancakes [a smashing hit!], rice flour in tempura batter [not a huge success!], and for this recipe, a Rye Flour and Hazelnut Pie Crust [which I will now talk more about!].

Rye flour is high in protein and low in gluten, which I used to my advantage. As with other meringue pies, the pe crust must be blind-baked in this recipe. Normally, regardless of the amount of beans I pile onto my crust, the dough puffs up awkwardly and inevitably breaks in places, creating a poofy mess. Not so here: the low gluten content in rye flour means it has relatively weak rising powers. Win!

The crust reminded me a bit of linzer torte pastry dough. It was tenderly sweet and nutty, and was the perfect companion for the tart limey grapefruit custard and delicious pillowy meringue.

 

Grapefruit Lime Meringue Pie

{Original recipe}

Rye Flour and Hazelnut Pie Crust

++Ingredients:++

1 c. rye flour
1/4 c. hazelnuts
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter
ice water (1-2 tbsp)

++Directions:++

Pulse rye flour, hazelnuts, salt and sugar to combine in food processor. Add pieces of unsalted butted, mix well. Add ice water a few drops at a time, mixing just until ingredients begin to ball together.

Spray a pie plate with baking spray if desired – the crust is a bit sticky after baking, and while I didn’t do this step, I will next time. Roll dough out into a circle and press into pie plate (or just press it in by hand, as I did). Put in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Fill chilled pie shell with a circle of aluminum foil, and cover with dried beans or pie weights. Blind-bake for 25 minutes, remove beans and foil, and cook an additional three to five minutes until bottom appears cooked. Cool to room temperature.

Grapefruit Lime Custard

++Ingredients:++

Zest of 1 grapefruit
Zest of 1 1/2 limes
Juice of 3 grapefruit
Juice of 2 limes
3/4 c. sugar
3 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 c. hot water
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour

++Directions:++

In a sauté pan on medium-high heat, reduce grapefruit and lime juice to 3/4 cup, roughly half of it’s original volume. This will only take a few minutes; watch for the color to darken in hue. Set this juice aside in a small bowl to cool.

In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, cornstarch, salt and hot water to a boil, whisking frequently. When the mixture boils, it will change in consistency, and will look gloopy and viscous. Cooking, stirring continuously, 2 additional minutes.

Add egg yolks and 1 1/2 tbsp of zest to the cooled juice mixture. Temper eggs slowly with 1/2 cup of the hot sugar-cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly. Return pan to heat, and, whisking continuously, stir in the grapefruit-lime mixture. When all is mixed, add butter. Cook over medium-high heat for three to five minutes. Near the end of cooking, sift flour over mixture and whisk in well. When all is combined, turn off heat and allow to partially cool.

Mixture should be lump free. If so, pour into cooled crust. If not, strain into crust. Cool to room temperature, then place in fridge while making the meringue.

Meringue

++Ingredients:++

1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp water
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 – 2 tsp grapefruit juice, if desired

++Directions:++

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, beat egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Beat in cream of tartar until eggs reach soft peaks. Slowly add boiling hot sugar syrup in a thin stream, mixing constantly on medium speed. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks.

Add grapefruit juice, if desired, to give depth to the meringue. Note: This will reduce the meringue’s ability to remain stiff, but will taste nice !

Spoon or pipe meringue onto cooled pie. Leave no filling exposed.

With the broiler set on low, cook meringue until adequately browned. Remove promptly, and return to fridge.

Enjoy, as we here in northern Maine did, beside a fire created of freshly-split logs taken from the side of the road forest.

 

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chocolate macarons with bacon-infused maple ganache

I forgot to mention two thirds of the way through my last post that I was at the 66.666 posting waypoint of my blogging career. Does this inspire you to ask, kindly, if it maybe isn’t time that I seek out a new career? I’d be hard pressed not to agree with you; for now, however, I’ll present the most satanically devilish idea that’s ever sprung into my mind: Chocolate Macarons with a Bacon-Infused Maple Chocolate Ganache.

The macaron of the beast !

To be fair, the idea was sprung. Ever since I received a digital scale last month, I have frequently heard the call of macarrrohhnn!, uttered in a phony French accent. Not by my stomach, not by my heart, but by my boyfriend. Since all I ever want to eat these days is bacon, his suggestion was well-received by me.

Ever since that genius moment, I’ve wondered about the best method for getting bacon into, or on to, a macaron. My favorite thought was to wrap and skewer it, similar to a bacon-wrapped scallop. Somehow, though, I knew that no one would want to eat those but me.

The solution was to start off the ganache with maple syrup and butter, and cook a piece of bacon in it for a few minutes. This created a liquid that looked as if it wouldn’t thicken very well – but I wasn’t fooled. I knew it was just Beelzebub trying to keep the maple bacon deliciousness for himself. Not this time, gluttonous prince.

After removing the bacon from the syrup (and eating it promptly), it was simply a matter of mixing in the chocolate, and then the egg yolks, as one might do with a custard. Simple. This recipe, while mostly just a glimmer of imagination in my bacon-hungry eye, turned out well. There’s a lot of discussion out there in the macaron world about how difficult chocolate macarons are to make. I have nothing to compare that potential factoid to, as this was my first experience making them.

Yep, I wait until a trend has passed to get on board. It’s what I did with Hanson and the Spice Girls – and hey, I still happily listen to them. I’ll tell you what you want, what you really really want: to taste the sin that is a chocolate macaron with bacon-infused maple ganache.

Before I get to the recipe, I’d like to add that I traipsed through a snowstorm to get the heavy cream needed for the ganache. Indeed, as we moved our belongings into our new home last Friday, we experienced Presque Isle’s snowiest day of the season. Then earlier this week, heavy rains drenched our basement and my spirits. And now it’s Friday again, and hard snow has fallen steadily since early this morning. Lovely.

Wending my way through the snow, I was able to take these first shots of my new home. I enjoy them most in sepia tones, reminiscent of my days developing my own photographs, when I would sepia anything and everything in sight. Enjoy.

    

Now that you are thoroughly chilled by scenes of ice and snow, just remember that come spring, I can move on to such great photographic heights as the documentation of potato plant growth. It will happen.

Chocolate Macarons with Bacon-Infused Maple Chocolate Ganache

{mostly original recipe, chocolate macarons from here}

Made three quite large macarons and six more smaller ones – could easily make twelve macarons of medium stature.

Chocolate Macarons

++Ingredients:++

45g almond meal / ground almonds
90g confectioners’ sugar
25g unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
62g egg whites (preferably aged up to a day)
3g meringue powder (egg white powder)
60g sugar
Red food coloring

++Directions:++

Blend ground almonds and confectioners’ sugar together. Sift in cocoa powder.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites and meringue powder until soft peaks form. Add sugar slowly, and beat until hard peaks form. Add food coloring during the last minute of mixing.

Fold the almond-sugar-cocoa mixture into the egg white mixture in four parts.

Pipe macarons on parchment-lined baking sheets. If sheets are not professional grade, place a second sheet underneath. Sprinkle with Candied Bacon, if desired, and dust with cocoa powder. Let sit at room temperature  for 45 minutes to an hour.

Bake at 280 F / 140 C for 16-18 minutes. Let cool.

Fill with Bacon-Infused Maple Chocolate Ganache, recipe below. Refrigerate until set. Give thanks to Beelzebub for not snatching your bacon so that you could enjoy it in this new, delicious format.

Candied Bacon

++Ingredients:++

1 strip maple-flavored bacon
Handful of brown sugar

++Directions:++

Heat small sauté pan, and add strip of bacon. Partway through cooking, add brown sugar to the top of the bacon strip. Let cook for a minute, before flipping. Add more brown sugar as desired. Be careful to keep the heat low enough so the bacon doesn’t burn from over-caramelizing.

Remove from heat before fully cooked. Cool, and cut into small pieces.

Bacon-Infused Maple Chocolate Ganache

{You will have lots of leftovers, but I will present this ganache recipe to you without halving it. Use it for something else delicious – – like a midmorning snack, as I did. Or, you can halve (or third) it.}

++Ingredients:++

6 tbsp maple syrup (120 g)
1 1/2 tbsp butter
2 strips maple-flavored bacon
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c heavy cream
60 g dark chocolate
3 egg yolks

++Directions:++

Melt the maple syrup and butter in a saucepan. Add bacon, and bring to a simmer until bacon is nearly cooked, but still soft and pliable. Add sugar, and bring to a boil. Add cream, stirring continuously.

Remove bacon, and take pan off heat. Add chocolate, and let sit to melt for two to three minutes. Mix. Add a small amount of the mixture to the egg yolks, to prevent them from curdling. Mix eggs into ganache, and return to heat for a minute or two, stirring continually.

Transfer to a bowl, and allow to chill in the fridge.

Me and my calorie-clogged fingers are submitting these dazzling cuties to Mactweets Mac Attack #26: Razzle Dazzle Macarons.

blood, locusts and a rhubarb meringue pie

Last night I had the pleasure of reclining back with a delicious meal – my second Passover Seder dinner. While I was less confused this time around, I still had quite a bit to comprehend about this symbolically-rich feast. Fortunately/unfortunately, my copy of The Concise Family Seder was drastically different from the version that the group was following (and the version I remember following last year). This was fine by me, as it allowed me to delve further into such raucous and memorable songs as “The One Only Kid.” It also allowed me to distractedly follow the ritual, while staring down the dessert that I had made for the occasion. It was in a clear line of sight the entire time. It was…

Rhubarb meringue pie!

 

I saw a wonderful version of this dessert earlier this week on MyKugelhopf. Kerrin had made a rhubarb (rhabarber for her and her Zurich compatriots) meringue pie, with a Speculoos-based crust and a generous topping of meringue. It sounded phenomenal. It sounded mildly time-consuming. It sounded like something I could adapt for my Seder dinner. And Kerrin had already thought of that, mentioning that she planned to make the dessert again this week with a matzoh meal crust. So there it was. I had my dessert, and all I needed to do was find a matzoh meal crust recipe – not my specialty.

Enter Four Pounds Flour, a blog devoted to Historic Gastronomy, that I found while searching for appetizing matzoh meal pie crust recipes. The blog’s author, Sarah Lohman, cooks “temporal fusion cuisine,” which I will admit fascinates me to no end. Her posts are a wealth of old recipes, reworked and translated into present-day terms. Her matzoh meal pie crust recipe comes from the 1944 Manischewitz publication Ba’ṭam’ṭe Yidishe maykholim, or Tempting Kosher Dishes. I was tempted already. Or at least I was until I made my way through the post, finding moderately disturbing photos of the to-be-baked product, labeled “I made you puke pie.”

And with that… I became more tempted.

Which was a good thing, because it worked. I judged the amount of magical matzoh mix in Sarah’s photos to be insufficient for my crusty needs, so I upped the number of matzohs from 1 1/2 to 2. It was an interesting process: soak the matzohs, wring the matzohs of all water, and fry the matzohs in shortening, before adding them to a mixture of matzoh meal, eggs, sugar and salt. This batter came together quite nicely for me, and I was able to push the crust into shape up the sides of the pie plate.

I didn’t take a photo of the pre-baked crust, but it looked remarkably similar to some sort of bird seed.

The theme of the day seemed to be inefficient supply, as the cooked-down rhubarb didn’t look aplenty to me. And my now-satisfied crusty needs.

Since I had no more rhubarb in my possession, I decided to turn the filling into a more custardy affair, similar to my recipe for blood orange meringue pie. The addition of three egg yolks may have been a bit much for the subtle and tart rhubarb flavor, but after adding some extra salt, the flavors were again apparent. And tasty!

I attempted to dye the filling with some small peeled wedges of beet, and it worked almost a wee bit. A wee beet. However, the beet flavors became stronger until I decided to yank them out of the pot. I probably overreacted, as the taste was likely not as strong as I was imagining it to be. Still, I’m trying to be more cautious, as I have a nasty habit for altering recipes for the worse, with or without thinking the ramifications through first.

I tinted the meringue pink. I have a nasty habit for tinting things pink, with or without thinking the ramifications through first. In this case, however, I think it worked out all right. It didn’t look ridiculously bright to me, or too fake. I like the way that colored meringue looks when it browns, and it seemed an apt choice for a pie made out of a red vegetable that loses its coloring once cooked.

Upon arriving at the Seder celebration, an exploratory crumb of matzoh meal found its way onto my finger. Knowing it came from the pie, I popped it into my mouth. This is what I do. I have a nasty habit for popping “edibles” into my mouth, with or without thinking the ramifications through first. So many nasty habits. At any rate, the piece of meal nearly broke my teeth, it was so hard. My delight at not only making a successful meringue pie, but also at transporting it without losing more that a half cup of juicy filling, turned into a terror that I was going to feed my friends tooth-breaking pie. This may be a more truthful explanation of why I remained distracted throughout the Seder.

Creeping over to the pie shortly after eating the savory portion of the evening’s foodstuffs, I was extraordinarily relieved to discover that the wayward matzoh crumb was indeed just that. The rest of the crust was edible, and good by matzoh meal standards. It was crunchy, sticky, and had flavors of caramel (this must have been all the FAT). The filling was also good, but if I make this again I’d like to beef it up a bit more. Perhaps 1.5 pounds of rhubarb, rather than 1. And more of the same, delicious meringue. And no wayward matzoh crumbs.

For more information, check out the following links:

Let the Rhubarb (Dessert) Season Begin – MyKugelhopf
The History Dish: Matzo Meal Pie Crust – Four Pounds Flour
Blood Orange Meringue Pie

Rhubarb Meringue Pie
{recipe adapted from MyKugelhopf & Four Pounds Flour}

Makes 1 pie

Matzoh Meal Pie Crust

++Ingredients:++

2 matzohs
1 1/2 tbsp shortening
1/2 c. matzoh meal
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt

++Directions:++

Soak matzohs, then press them as dry as possible. Fry in a skillet with shortening until dry and crispy; at this point they should have turned golden brown in color.

Mix matzohs with the other ingredients: I mixed all the ingredients in the pie plate that I planned to bake with. Press in pie plate to a 1/4-inch thickness.

Bake for 18-20 minutes in a 350 F oven.

Set aside to cool.

Rhubarb Filling

++Ingredients:++

1+ lbs rhubarb, roughly chopped
1/2 c. sugar
Juice and zest of 1/2 a small lemon
1 tbsp cornstarch
Small beet wedges, for coloring (if desired)
3 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt

++Directions:++

In a medium saucepan, mix together rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Add beet whenever desired, if using. Rhubarb should be broken down and have a syrupy jam consistency.

Combine egg yolks and zest. Gradually temper eggs with about 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture, drizzling the hot mixture in very slowly. Return saucepan to heat and, stirring continuously, stream in the yolk/zest mixture. When thoroughly mixed, cook over medium-high heat for another 3 minutes. Remove beet wedges when the time is right. What time is it? TOOL TIME!

If desired, puree mixture; I used an immersion blender for this step. It works very well for blending in any undissolved lumps of cornstarch.

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

Meringue

++Ingredients:++

1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. water
5 egg whites (I used 6 because my eggs were small)
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 drop red food coloring (if desired)

++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. Add drop of food coloring if desired. 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 cooled 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.

Cool before moving – or you will have a mess on your hands.

Bon appetit! {Mazel tov!?}