This week on The Great British Bake Off, the theme was botanicals. I was pretty confused leading up to the episode about what would actually be baked, other than flowers, but the first challenge was pretty straightforward - a citrus meringue pie.
I decided to make a lime and ginger meringue pie, which is lovely and sharp from the filling, with a sweet and fluffy Italian meringue topping. It's super yum, and was really simple!
I used a long tart tin with a removable base - it's 36cm (14 inches) x 10cm (4 inches). If you use a larger tart tin, double the quantity of the recipe.
I've also found that for the meringue, it is very important to use good quality fresh egg whites - otherwise the whites do not whip up well and you get a flat meringue :(
For the pastry:
- 125g (1 cup) plain flour
- 30g (2 tbsp) icing sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 60g (1/4 cup) butter, chilled and cubed
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp water
For the filling:
- 1 tin (400g, 1&1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk
- 120ml lime juice (I used bottled lime juice, but this would be 4-5 limes/1/2 cup)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp chopped stem ginger
For the meringue topping:
- 300g (1 & 1/2 cups) sugar
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 140g (1/2 cup & 1 tbsp, about 5 medium eggs worth) fresh free-range egg whites
- 180ml (1/2 cup) water
- Red food colouring (concentrated gel)
1. Prepare the pastry. Into a large bowl sieve the plain flour, icing sugar, salt, ginger and cinnamon.
2. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Be patient at this point and make sure no large clumps of butter remain.
3. Add the egg yolk and water. Bring the dough together with your hands. Knead lightly into a ball.
4. Roll the dough out between two layers of clingfilm, until it is around the thickness of a pound coin (2-3mm). Transfer to the tart tin. Trim off any excess pastry. Line with baking parchment, and fill with baking beans/rice/flour.
5. Chill the pastry for 30 minutes.
6. Preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan)/350f/gas mark 4.
7. Bake the pastry case for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment and baking beans/rice/flour, then bake again for 3 minutes. Set aside whilst you make the filling.
8. Beat together the lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and chopped stem ginger. Pour into the pastry case, it will nearly come to the top of the tin.
9. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 160c (150c fan)/325f/gas mark 3. Return the tart to the oven for around 10 minutes, until the filling is set (it doesn't wobble when the tart is lightly moved).
10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
11. Make the Italian meringue. Pour the sugar and water into a medium saucepan, and place on a medium heat. Heat the mixture until it reaches 113c/235f.
12. Meanwhile, whip the egg whites using an electric whisk or stand mixer until stiff peaks form - this means that when the whisk is removed from the mixture, a peak of egg white stands, which doesn't tip over.
13. Once the sugar/water has reached 113c/235f, take off the heat. Whilst whisking the egg whites, gradually pour in the hot sugar syrup. Keep whisking until the meringue has stiff peaks - this takes between 7 and 9 minutes, so if you have one, use a stand mixer (or have a great arm work out!).
14. Turn your piping bag inside out, and paint a stripe of red food colouring up one side of the bag (about 1/2cm wide). Turn your bag back outside (so that the red food colouring is on the inside).
15. Place a 2D closed star nozzle into the piping bag. Trim the end off the bag, then fill with meringue. Pipe rosettes all over the tart, as neat as you can.
16. Return the tart to the oven for 10 minutes, until the meringue has lightly browned all over. Leave to cool.