Monday, January 02, 2006

Rhubarb, Meringue, Rhubarb Meringue Pies

Remember how I said yesterday, in justification of my excessive new year’s eve baking and cooking, “sometimes your inner domestic goddess just needs to be let loose!”??

Well, today, my inner domestic goddess went into deranged superwoman overdrive.

Firstly, for breakfast, I made Nigella’s Arabian Mornings (from Feast). In the afternoon, I decided to make mini rhubarb meringue pies with the leftover pastry, rhubarb pulp, and egg-and-sugar mixture from yesterday. And instead of making the meringue from the rhubarb meringue pie recipe again, I made the recipe for meringues from the Basics etc. chapter (it’s slightly different, no cream of tartar), topping the pies with half the meringue mixture, and making actual meringues with the rest.

233. Meringues (Basics etc.)

Making the pies was just the same as making the big pie for Symone, but in miniature. (This obviously meant reducing the cooking times. I wasn’t exactly sure by how much I should reduce the times, so I went by eye).

Roll out the pastry, and blind bake it. Let cool, and fill with rhubarb pulp…

pastry cases filled with rhubarb

Then top with the egg-sugar-orange-juice mixture…

filled with egg

Bake until set, and then top with meringue mixture.

cooked and being topped

Then bake until the meringue is brown and puffed. While they were in the oven, I clumsily piped the rest of the meringue mixture into almost-snail shapes. And when the pies came out 5 minutes later, I turned the oven down from 200C to 140C and shoved the meringues straight in. They take about 40 minutes in total. Now, I know you’re only supposed to do them in a cool oven, but I was afraid that they’d collapse on me if I waited for the oven to cool down.

I let the pies cool in their little tins for a while before prising them out with a skewer. One of them stuck to the tin and broke a little bit, because the filling oozed through a hole the pastry and baked onto the tin. However, once I put it on a plate and wodged it back together, it looked presentable.


While the pies were cooling down, I had to think of what to do with the remaining rhubarb pulp. Yes, one 21cm pie and 4 miniature pies down, and there was still approximately half a cupful of rhubarb pulp left. Not enough fruit to warrant making more pastry, yet too much to throw away nonchalantly, and having been frozen and defrosted twice in the past week, I didn’t think it was up to more dramatic temperature changes.

So, with my fabulous breakfast still fresh in my mind, I decided to make a breakfast-type dish. Inspired both by Nigella’s raspberry and oatmeal swirls, and the rhubarb compote and muesli snacks that are sold at my fave café on campus, I layered the rhubarb pulp with Greek yogurt, light muscovado sugar and Andy’s Fairfield granola. My brother and I shared it for a snack, and it was brilliant. This is highly recommended for anyone wanting to use up rhubarb pulp or granola, or anyone looking for an excuse to make them!

And in the afternoon, I was feeling a bit peckish, so I had one of my mini-pies while it was still faintly warm.

pie & tea

My immediate reaction (which I said out loud): Fuck me, this is good!

Apologies for the crudeness, but this pie was seriously the best thing I have ever eaten. The pastry was light and flaky (probably a fluke, but who cares?), and the plain, unsweetened base was the perfect foil for the tart filling and sweet and crunchy topping. I know that many food writers often liken food to sex, (especially Nigel Slater writing about pommes dauphinoise or sausages), but I’ve always tended to dismiss it as tawdry sensationalism rather than an actual response to the food.

But these pies, these pies! They’re more than just sex… this is love.


When the members of my family tried their own individual pies later that night, they all had pretty much the same reaction.

Now, back to the meringues. You’re supposed to let them cool in the oven, because they’ll crack if you take them out too suddenly. I baked them this afternoon, and took them out when I came home from work at 1:00am, and they didn’t crack.


I think they’re a bit brown because the oven was too hot to begin with. I know what you’re thinking, they look kinda dodgy. But my mum had one, and she says that they taste much, much better than what you think they look like.


Meg said...

I've had internet probs and been away from your site for five months and have finally caught up with all your HTE diaries - you are such an inspiration! Can't wait now to get some rhubarb and try the rhubarb meringue pie

domesticgoddess said...

to (mis)quote one of my favourite bands:

'gimme a piece of your rhubarb meringue pie.....'

that DOES look like an orgasm on a plate.

Andrea said...

Whoa. I think I better try this recipe! I love rhubarb.
I am not sure how I found your site (a series of food blog links) but I am glad I did. I have been curious about Nigella's books and recipes and I enjoy reading your accounts of trying them. Well done! I will visit again I am sure.