Pile-it-high Orange and Rhubarb Meringue Pie
The flavour of orange zest does something quite magical to the flavour of rhubarb, and this light, fluffy meringue pie is a perfect dessert for late spring.
‘Pile-it-high meringue', incidentally, applies only if you have extra egg whites to use up or want to make the meringue high. If not, you can simply use the egg whites in the recipe: it will still be superb! If you want to use more egg whites, then 4 egg whites need 8 oz (225 g) sugar, 5 need 10 oz (275 g) sugar, 6 need 12 oz (350 g) sugar.
This recipe first appeared in The Delia Collection: Puddings.
Begin by making the pastry: rub the fats into the flour and add enough cold water to make a smooth dough that leaves the bowl clean. Then wrap it in a polythene bag and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest and become more elastic.
Take the pastry from the fridge, roll it out to a round on a lightly floured surface (giving it quarter-turns as you do so) and use it to line the tin, pressing it up a little way above the edge of the tin.
Next, prick the base all over with a fork and use some of the egg yolks to paint all over the base and sides to provide a seal. Put the tin on the pre-heated baking sheet on a high shelf in the oven and place the rhubarb on the lowest shelf.
The pastry should take about 20-25 minutes to brown and crisp, and the rhubarb about 25-30 minutes to become soft. Then remove them from the oven.
While you're waiting for that, you can pour the orange juice into a small saucepan. Use a little of it to mix the cornflour to a smooth paste in a bowl, then bring the rest up to simmering point. Next, pour the hot orange juice on to the cornflour mixture and pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.
Whisk over the heat with a small balloon whisk till it becomes very thick indeed, then remove it from the heat.
Now strain the cooked rhubarb over a bowl, then add the rhubarb juices and the remaining egg yolks to the cornflour mixture and, still whisking, bring it up to the boil again. Remove from the heat, tip the strained rhubarb into the bowl and stir the cornflour mixture into it.
Now, for the meringue, put the egg whites into a large, roomy, clean bowl and, using an electric hand whisk, beat them until they reach the stage where, when you lift the whisk, little peaks stand up and just slightly turn over.
Next, beat the sugar in,1 tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Pour the rhubarb mixture into the pastry shell, then spoon the meringue mixture over, making sure that it covers the edges of the pastry with no gaps.
Then just pile it on, 'normal', high or very high.
Place the pie on the centre shelf of the oven, at the same temperature as before, and bake it for 25 minutes or until the outside of the meringue is golden.
Remove it from the oven and leave for about 2 hours before serving.
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