Friday, November 23, 2007

Orange Meringue Pie

My horoscope today said, You might feel like fulfilling your needs through indulging your desire for comfort today...Finding a healthy raw food restaurant that gives you the encouragement to eat well more often could also be another way to indulge yourself.

Oh, hell no. Finding a raw food restaurant when I have orange meringue pie in my fridge right this very minute?

Are you crazy?!

This, by the way, is an awesome pie. It went really well with the turkey last night, and is a pleasantly different kind of pie to make. SO! I feel it is my moral imperative to pass along the recipe; it has been modified from the original to increase the eggs and orange juice (half a cup? That’s more like a ‘hint of orange but actually very lemony meringue’!).

Here we go.

1 9” baked pie crust

1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar (depends on how sweet your orange juice is!)
5 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups orange juice (preferably fresh-squeezed, but nobody will disown you for using concentrate) (and if they do, well, that’s more pie for you, isn’t it!)
4 eggs, separated
1 cup water
1 crummy tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice (ooooh, tartness!)
1 tablespoon shredded orange peel (actually, I consider this optional)

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup superfine sugar (you can also use just plain old sugar; or if you’re got the time and inclination, you can take your regular sugar and give it a quick whir in the food processor)

OK! Bake that pie crust and set it aside. Leave the oven on at 400, you’ll need it later for the meringue.

Juice your oranges! This time around, I used a whack of Satsuma Mandarins I got from Planet Organics. Their juice was very sweet and a really intense orange. You would have sworn I used food dye in it! It took about a dozen of these little guys to get a cup and a half (plus a quality assurance swallow for the cook, very important) of juice.

Separate your eggs! It is very important that you have no yolk in the whites! A little white in the yolks is OK, but if there is even a drop of yolk in the whites you won’t get a big old fluffy meringue. Also, make sure you are putting them into a bowl which is absolutely clean. Any oil in there will also keep them from getting good and stiff. Set the whites aside, but don’t put them back in the fridge. You want them to come up to room temperature because, again, that’s how you get a nice big fluffy meringue.

Now, put your starch, sugar, and salt into a heavy saucepan. I have found that the heavier pans really do make this a lot easier; they tend to distribute heat more evenly and gently. Combine those together, then add the orange juice and mix.

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and water together. Turn on your heat to medium (no cheating! I know it takes forever, but High Is Not Your Friend!), and slowly pour in the yolk/water potion.

Settle in and enjoy the gentle motion of your spoon as you stir constantly and I mean constantly for about eighteen years well, for as long as it takes for the concoction to thicken up and start to boil. Boil and stir for one minute, taking care not to be splattered with the napalm custard. It hurts. Trust me on that one.

Take it off the heat, mix in your butter and lemon juice and orange peel (if using) (frankly, I almost never do), and pour it into the pie shell.

Now, quick! To the meringue! You want to make it fast and get it on there because otherwise you’ll get an unpleasant film on the top of your pie! If you must walk away right now, put some plastic wrap over the filling – actually press it down onto the filling. Yes. You will lose a little filling – but at least you won’t have a Saran-wrap-like gelatin uck between your meringue and the filling.

Sprinkle the cream of tartar into your egg whites and set those beaters on stun medium. Beat those eggs like they’re your ex for about a minute, until soft peaks are forming. Then remember just how mean that ex was, raise the speed to annihilate high and continue beating away while sprinkling your sugar about a tablespoon at a time into the bowl, until you’ve got nice stiff, glossy peaks forming – the kind you could, if so inclined, do artwork with like rosettes or stars or the Mona Lisa (in egg white form!).

Then do whatever you feel like doing. Only once in my life have I actually piped stars all over my pie; usually I just take a spoon and plop it all over, smooth it down, give it a few artistic twirls and then?

Into that 400 degree oven, for about five minutes. WATCH IT CLOSELY. Sometimes, in five minutes you don’t have a single patch of brown anywhere; sometimes, in five minutes, it’s starting to blacken. The transition from ‘perfect’ to ‘too dark’ is literally a matter of seconds, so I tend to perch anxiously next to the oven staring at it from the 3 minute mark until I pull it out.

And then, uh, you eat it. Sharing is considered polite, but sometimes is a little overrated.

Hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving! And don't you just love me sharing FOOD recipes the day after?!


Science PhD Mom said...

YUM!!! Sounds great! I'll put out that one for Christmas. This year I stepped away from the traditional pies myself and made a fig cheese tart. Some ricotta, some sugar, some sour cream...a little coconut in the crust...peeled fresh figs...ahh!! Heaven! If you want the recipe I'll post it on my blog. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

JenneferDawn said...

Ooh, that does sound very yummy. I missed out on all the food yesterday and everyone's T-day blogs are making me jealous. The orange meringue really is tempting me.... I may just have to start baking again....

21stCenturyMom said...

Oh so that sounds SO good. YUM!

Yarnhog said...

How about if I just come and have some of yours?

buffi said...

This pie sounds heavenly. Except for the meringue part. Ick. Not a fan of the meringue. Would it be sacrilege to replace it with freshly whipped vanilla bean enhanced whipped cream? Then it would be sorta like an amazing dreamsicle! That'd be okay, right? RIGHT?!