Each May it has always been a tradition for my mother to prepare a lemon meringue pie for my fathers birthday. I always enjoyed watching the alchemy in the kitchen as sweet butter and acidic lemon transformed into a creamy curd and ooy-gooey egg whites magically whipped into frothy and foamy peaks.
What I loved most about the iconic pies preparation was that the recipe perfectly utilized both the yolk and egg from farm fresh eggs. We’d pick up our eggs from a local farmers market and once home carefully crack them one by one, being sure not to let the fatty yolk for the curd make a mark on the elegant egg whites.
This Christmas season impress your guests by preparing a surprising twist on my mothers popular lemon meringue pie recipe. I’ve tweaked the classic curd to make it more festive for the holidays, adding cranberries and rhubarb (a pucker-worthy match made in heaven) which results in a beautifully creamy pink custard. Your guests are certain to be fighting over the recipe for this one!
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4-1/2 cup ice cold water
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Make the crust: Pulse flour, granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds.
- Drizzle 1/4 cup ice water evenly over mixture. Pulse until mixture just begins to hold together (it should not be wet or sticky). If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse. Press dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or overnight.
- Roll dough to a 14-inch circle (1/8 inch thick) on a floured surface. Fit dough into bottom and up sides of a 10-inch fluted round tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim excess dough flush with edges of pan using a knife. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prick bottom of tart shell all over with a fork, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove weights, and bake until set, about 5 minutes more. Let cool.
For the filling:
6 oz chopped rhubarb
1 cup white sugar
Juice and peel of 1 lemon
1 stick of softened butter
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- Make the cranberry curd: Put cranberries, rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice and peel in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until cranberries have popped and softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blitz. Add the butter into the warm liquid while the blender is on low. Add the eggs and egg yolks.
- Return liquid to pot and cook over low heat until nearly bubbling and thickened, about 10 minutes. If using immediately, let cool to room temperature. If working ahead, cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap (press wrap against curd) and refrigerate.
- Pour cooled cranberry curd into the cooled pre-baked tart shell and smooth top with a spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to set curd. Cool on a rack. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days.
For the meringue:
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Whip egg whites in a stainless steal bowl until they form soft peaks.
- Add cream of tartar and continue whipping until they form stiff peaks.
- Beat sugar into whites one tablespoon at at time and finally add vanilla extract until fully incorporated.
- Top the pie curd with with meringue, smoothing with the bottom of a spoon ensure the meringue touches the crust (this ensure the meringue does not shrink into the centre of the pie in the oven).
- Bake 10-15 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F.