Berry Meringue Pie

You may not be aware of this, because you may be summering in the Southern hemisphere or on the space station or fielding an expedition to the North Pole, but it is HOT out here in Texas. I’m talking 107°F without a cloud in sight. And since the Dallas area has some kind of religious aversion to trees, there’s not much shade to be found, either.

Times like these call for desperate measures.  For things crisp and cold topped with fresh berries and then frozen again because fresh berries just aren’t cold enough. It helps that this pie is also easy to make, enough so that I didn’t mind making it between 11:30 PM and 1:00 in the morning so that it would be nice and frozen for the fourth of July shindig I was heading to after work. Another bonus to baking in the middle of the night? It’s not so damn hot. Only about 85°F. My air conditioning can do more than growl helplessly at 85°F, even with the oven on.

I found the idea for this lovely pie here,  and my first thought was “Cool. But that looks finicky. Why not use an Italian meringue?” So I did. I also used chocolate graham crackers instead of Oreos, because I’m not allowed to have Oreos in the apartment. It isn’t safe. The filling, even at room temperature, is a pile of sticky goodness that I just wanted to eat out of the bowl (Note to everyone who ate these pies: I did not. I did, however, lick the spatula once the pies were in the freezer. And it was great.) and I’d like to try to make meringue cookies using this much berry flavor. I don’t know if that will work, though. It’s a lot of berries.

Ingredients (makes 1 9-inch pie. I doubled the recipe and made two. Each pie serves about 12.)

For the crust:

9 chocolate graham crackers

3 T granulated sugar

1/2 t salt

5 T butter (6 if your graham crackers are freakishly dry, like mine were.)

For the filling:

3 cups mixed berries (I used half blackberries and half raspberries)

1 cup sugar (divided use)

1/4 cup water

3 egg whites

extra berries, for garnish

Directions

We start with the crust. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Then you want to crush the graham crackers. There are about 84,000 ways to do this, including putting them in a bag and handing them to a husband or child, but my favorite is this.

Put them in a food processor and process until you have a fine powder. This leaves no big chunks you have to pull out and eat so no one finds them.

Add the sugar and salt to the crumbs and stir with a fork.

Then stir in 5 T of melted butter. If you can’t get a pinch of the crumbs to stick together at this point, add another tablespoon of melted butter and stir it in, too.

Press the crumb into a buttered pie dish. I forgot to butter my pie dish. This made removing pie slices complete with crust virtually impossible. Butter your pie dish, kids!

Bake the crust at 350F for about 15 minutes. Set the crust aside while you make the filling. Oh, you can turn off the oven. We’re all stove top from here on out. Rinse out your food processor and fill it with berries.

Puree!

It’s worth noting that when one doubles this recipe, the berry puree surpasses the maximum liquid fill line of a seven-cup food processor. This line is not a polite suggestion. It is the point at which your food processor starts oozing berry puree underneath the blade. On the plus side, you can use a blender if you have one, and liquify as many berries as you want.

Pour the puree into a fine mesh strainer and scrape it down until everything that isn’t a seed is in a bowl. This took me twenty minutes. I need a slightly less fine mesh strainer. You could skip this step if you are very fond of seeds, but I don’t think most people are. I can’t stand them, and obviously I represent complete normalcy with regards to taste. Set the berries aside.

Pour 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.

While the sugar starts to cook, whip the egg whites and a pinch of salt to soft peaks in a large bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue to beat on low speed until your sugar reaches the soft-ball stage.

Oh. I don’t use (or own) a candy thermometer. The one time I used one is the one time I burned caramel. Just use your eyes. when the bubbles in your boiling sugar look lacquered and the syrup makes long thread as it drips off of the back of a spoon, it’s done. At that point, pour the boiling sugar into the egg whites. Whip the sugar and egg whites together for a long time, until the bowl is room temperature. This took me almost ten minutes. When you’re baking after midnight and have to get up for work at 5:30 the next morning, this seems like forever. I did it anyway.

Now pour the berry puree over the whipped meringue.

And fold the mixture together.

Pour the berry meringue into the pie crust.

Oops! there was some unmixed berry in the bottom of the bowl! No matter, we’re going to cover that up. Put the pie in the freezer at least 4-6 hours. Arrange 12 red raspberries and 12 white raspberries (okay, so they’re yellow. I didn’t name them) around the perimeter of the pie.

My white raspberries came with a mangled, leafy raspberry branch, so I plucked the best looking leaf and posed it under a white raspberry in the center of the pie. A mint leaf would do fine as well. Or no leaf, since no one’s going to eat it anyway.

Let it soften for 5-10 minutes before serving. It’s perfect on its own; I think whipped cream or ice cream would just be too rich and a bit redundant. I mean, it’s a frozen meringue. Do you really need to add something cold and sugary to it? If you decide it needs an accompaniment, a pile of fresh berries or a squeeze of berry puree would do nicely.

, , , , ,

  1. #1 by Ariel on July 7, 2011 - 3:17 PM

    For some reason, this struck me as your funniest post so far. Also, the new camera is AWESOME!

    • #2 by koshercorvid on July 7, 2011 - 10:12 PM

      I was feeling a bit silly this morning. And yes, the camera is brilliant. For the first time, I’m having difficulty choosing among lots of good pictures instead of choosing the best of the awful ones. Hopefully soon I’ll be taking great ones!

  2. #3 by Sasha @ The Procrastobaker on July 10, 2011 - 3:42 AM

    This looks beyond good. I think its my favourite pie recipe ive seen recently and thats saying something! I am definitely saving it for when im feeling a little adventurous, but unless im being blind I cant see a printable recipe link and that would be realllyyy useful if you ever have the time to make one :) SO so beautiful, and lovely photos! Thank you lots

    • #4 by koshercorvid on July 10, 2011 - 12:20 PM

      Thanks! I’m not sure it’s my favorite (I’m a Florida girl; lime pie will always be special to me), but it’s definitely the best for cold and refreshing, and tastes way better than it should for an almost-fat-free low sugar dessert.

      I don’t have printable recipe thingum yet; I honestly haven’t made much time for getting into the fiddly stuff WordPress can do. I’ll see what I have time to work on, but it’ll probably take a few weeks.

  3. #5 by Lynda Kayes on July 15, 2011 - 3:52 PM

    looking for desserts to have this next week with a house full of hungry company and look here is a beautiful, easy cold pie. Perfect, and I happen to have a dozen egg whites frozen left over for making bread pudding. I’ll let you know what Kevin and family think, but I’m sure it is a winner.
    PS pictures are beautiful!

  4. #6 by laura on July 24, 2011 - 2:05 PM

    I’m trying to make this today, it looks yummy, and we have a ton of blackberries in our yard. What is considered “1 graham cracker?” Is it one little rectangle, or one big one? I’m assuming a big one, but couldn’t tell.

    • #7 by koshercorvid on July 24, 2011 - 10:04 PM

      It’s the big rectangle. as in, 9 graham crackers is about 5 ounces. Typically there are 3 packs of 9 crackers each in a box of graham crackers.

  5. #8 by Mandy on March 13, 2012 - 2:37 AM

    I followed this recipe and now the pie is setting in the freezer. The batter tastes great! It wasn’t until about 30 mins later that I realized…”Wait! There’s uncooked egg in there!” Did you bake the berry meringue filling at all? I’ve built up an immunity to raw egg over the years via kitchen experiments, but I’m not sure my friends have… =(

    • #9 by koshercorvid on March 13, 2012 - 2:45 PM

      Actually, you did cook the egg whites! When you cook sugar to the soft-ball stage, it’s about 240 Fahrenheit. You pour that over the whites while mixing and the sugar cooks the eggs. That’s why the mixer has to be going the whole time; if you let it sit at that temperature, the egg white will clump into scrambled egg whites, which would not be so good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 105 other followers

%d bloggers like this: