Lime-Blackberry Meringue Pie

In my mind, there are few luxuries in life that beat a great dessert.  To me there is nothing more satisfying than spending hours in my kitchen, conquering and crafting a new confection, it’s like an adventure.  This pie sure was an adventure and quite a bit of work, but my, oh my, was it worth the trouble!  I will definitely make this pie again, it was absolutely delicious.  And although I support the purchase of good quality, pre-made lemon or lime curd so you can skip that step in baking, in this recipe the homemade lime curd is decadent and amazing.  This is a refreshing departure from traditional lemon meringue pie.  The lime curd is tart and creamy while the blackberries add a fantastic burst of sweetness, and oh the mounds of fluffy meringue…need I say more?  Lets get down to business, this is a long one!

Start by making your favorite pie crust recipe.  My favorite is an all butter recipe, found here.  You will only need 1/2 of the recipe, so you can easily freeze the other half of the dough to save for a later time.  Be sure when you roll out your dough, you have enough on the sides for it to shrink up a bit when it bakes – as you will be able to see in my photos, mine shrunk a lot and looks a little silly.  But I figure I’d rather it look silly and taste amazing than look amazing and not be delicious, right?!?  You will need to blind-bake the crust, which just means you bake it without the filling in it.

While you are rolling out and prepping your dough, preheat your oven to 375°.  Once you have your crust rolled out and in your deep-dish pie pan, with edges crimped, prick the crust all over with a fork (this makes sure that no bubbles form when it’s baking).  Line the crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans (makes the crust think the filling is in there and keep it’s shape).  Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the weights/beans.  Reduce the temperature to 350° and return to the oven to bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until a light golden brown.  Make sure to watch the crust during this process, using a fork to prick any bubbles that form and pressing them down with the back of the fork.  Let cool completely before adding any filling.

Lime Curd:
1 cup fresh lime juice – about 5 limes
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream

Set a strainer over a medium bowl and set aside.  Stir lime juice, eggs, egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl.  Create a double boiler by setting the bowl over a pot of simmering water without letting it touch the water.  Whisk until mixture has thickened (whisk leaves a trail when lifted) and a thermometer reads 175° – about 15 minutes.  Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking to blend between additions.  Strain the curd into the prepared bowl.  Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd to prevent a film from forming.  Put in fridge until cold, about 2 hours, or until you are ready to assemble the pie.  This step can be done up to 2 days before you want to serve.
On the day you are serving the pie… Sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl.  Let stand until gelatin is soft, about 10 minutes.  Using a whisk attachment with your mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks form.  Add gelatin mixture and continue beating cream until just before firm peaks form.  Fold the whipped cream mixture into the lime curd.  Cover and chill until ready to assemble.

Blackberry Compote:
1 cup fruity red wine (Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon)
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups blackberries (about 1 1/2 pints)

Bring red wine, sugar and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup of liquid, about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool, then add in 3 cups of berries; fold gently to coat.

Spread berry compote in an even layer over the baked pie crust.  Spoon lime curd over the berries, smooth the top and chill for 1 hour.

Meringue:
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup blackberries (about 1/2 pint)

If toasting your meringue in the oven (as opposed to using a kitchen torch), preheat your oven to 450°.  Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat the whites until soft peaks form (a little, fluffy mound forms in the egg mixture when you pull up the whisk), set aside.  Stir sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.  Add a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.  Increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring, occasionally swirling the pan, until thermometer registers 238°, 6 to 8 minutes.  Remove pan from heat.  Beat the salt into your soft-peaked egg whites.  With the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites.  Be sure to drizzle it slowly down the side of the bowl, not directly onto the whisk – this way you will not get splashed with hot sugar syrup, which is a painful ordeal.  Turn the speed up a bit and whisk the mixture until cool, firm and glossy, about 4 minutes or so.

Spoon the meringue on top of the lime curd, leaving about a 1″ border on all sides of the pie.  Sculpt it decoratively, like so:
Tuck the remainder of the berries in and around the meringue.  Bake pie until meringue is toasted in spots, 3 to 5 minutes, or use a kitchen torch to brown.  Chill for 30 minutes before serving.  You can make the pie several hours before you want to serve it and just keep chilled.  It is best to eat the pie the day you assemble it.

Hope you’re still with me after all of those steps!  It is an undertaking, but if you are a lover of desserts and baking, I highly suggest you try this one!

Time: several hours
Serves: 8 generous helpings or 10 smaller ones
From: Bon Appetit August 2011

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