Filled with a striking purple filling, this blackberry meringue pie recipe is an eye catching and tasty take on the classic lemon version.
Check out that colour contrast between the plum of the blackberry filling and the snow white of the meringue, doesn't it catch the eye!
Having recently been asked by British Lion Eggs to come up with an egg recipe, I was interested to learn a little more about the humble egg. They truly are a marvel, not only being adaptable enough to enable cooks and bakers to prepare both savoury and sweet dishes, but they're pretty comprehensive too as far as egg nutrition is concerned!
Although our household goes through almost a dozen eggs each week, mainly as an important support to Mr E's vegetarian diet, I quickly surveyed family to learn what their favourite egg dish was. Many listed omelette, which of course is straight forward to make and can be pimped up to make a frittata. Egg mayonnaise sandwiches were also mentioned as were dippy eggs, which just have to be served with soldiers if you ask me!
During a conversation with my mum, she mentioned that she seriously (and, yes, there was an awful lot of emphasis on the word 'seriously') liked fried egg butties! She elaborated and said it had to be on a soft white tea-cake (bread roll) with a runny yolk. She could even remember the old lady who had introduced them to her whilst she worked in a bakery after leaving school! Mum used to make them for my brother and I periodically, and oh yes they were good! Simple, straightforward, fast yet nutritious food! Fast food doesn't get better than this, with no microwaves anywhere near, nor any manufacturer's packaging, other than the egg shell of course!
But for me, being a lover of desserts and all things sweet, meringue jumped straight into my mind. Meringue pies are a great bake, because although the yolk and white are separated, the whole egg is used and you're not left wondering what to do with that random egg yolk! Although I love lemon meringue pie, I decided to ring the changes a little and use up some of the foraged blackberries I had lurking in the freezer. Not only does it add a beautiful colour to the filling, giving it arguably more presence to the table, the blackberries carry a slight tartness which works well when teamed with the sweet meringue. It was really delicious and neighbours who sampled it commented how much they had enjoyed it!
In this bake I challenged myself to achieve a better edge to my pastry crust. As we all know, pastry needs to be refrigerated before rolling and baking to prevent, in theory, any shrinkage. Although I thoroughly chill the pastry, I still find it has a tendency to shrink back, probably because I trim the pastry before the blind bake, a habit I've always done since being taught how to make pastry with my mum and grandma. And to be honest, it is the easiest way. I decided to trim the pastry part way through the blind bake (just after removing the baking beans). I realise the 'pro' chefs trim their pastry cases after it's been fully blind baked, but, call me chicken, I could just envisage the pastry cracking as I tackled it had I left it that long. As I wanted my pastry case to remain in one piece I took my time trimming it. I was successful! Yay! The pastry didn't break and the shrinkage was by far reduced, certainly a technique I'll apply to future bakes.
Yield: 1 x 23cm pie
Serves: 8 generous slices
Freezable: Pastry case only
Time: 30 minutes hands on; 45 - 50 minutes bake time; plus chilling and cooling time.
Stick Blender / Food Processor / Potato Masher
1 x 23cm loose bottomed flan tin
Baking Beans or Uncooked Rice / Beans
Side-less Baking Tray
Hand Held Electric Beaters or Balloon Whisk
Piping Bag (optional)
Star Piping Nozzle (optional)
225g Plain Flour, plus extra for rolling
100g Unsalted Butter, chilled & diced
50g Icing Sugar, sieved
2 medium Egg Yolks, lightly beaten
2-3 tablespoon cold Water
splash of Water
40g Corn Flour
300ml Water, boiling
2 medium Egg Yolks
4 medium Egg Whites
115g Caster Sugar
1. Prepare the blackberries. Tip the berries into a small heavy based pan with sufficient water to cover the base by 1cm. Place the pan onto a medium heat and allow them to cook down for 5 - 10 minutes, stirring periodically. Take off the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Break the berries down further by blitzing them with a stick blender or potato masher. Pour the blackberry mixture into a sieve suspended over a bowl. Use a spoon to encourage the mixture through the sieve into the bowl. Set aside to cool and discard the blackberry seeds remaining in the sieve.
2. Meanwhile, make the pastry. Have a look at my Guide to making pastry if you need a few further tips. Place the flour and cubed chilled butter into a good sized bowl. Rub the butter into the flour between your thumb and finger tips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre of the breadcrumbs and add the 2 egg yolks. Using a rounded pallet knife, or similar, cut through the mixture to make a dough. You may need to add a little cold water to fully bring the mixture together. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead for 10 seconds. Shape the pastry into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
3. Line the flan tin. Remove the pastry from the fridge and place onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the pastry out until it is nice and thin, about 2mm. Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin, lift it up (using the pin) and place into the flan tin. Gently tease the pastry into the case so that it sits into the edges well and picks up the shape of the fluted sides. If the pastry tears, patch it with surplus pastry. If the pastry over hangs the sides of the flan tin excessively, use a pair of clean scissors to trim off some of the excess. Use a fork to gently prick the pastry base. Place into the fridge to chill for a further 20 - 30 minutes.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 210c / 190 Fan / Gas 6. Place a baking tray which is large enough to house the flan tin on the middle shelf of the oven.
5. Meanwhile complete the blackberry filling. Place the corn flour into a small heavy based pan and make a smooth paste with a little of the measured water. Gradually add the remaining water, continue to stir the mixture ensuring it is smooth and lump free. Add the blackberry coulis and mix again. Place on the hob over a low to medium heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until it thickens further. Continue stirring and cooking for a further 2 - 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir together the sugar and 2 egg yolks. Add the egg and sugar mixture to the pan containing the blackberry mixture and stir. Place back onto the hob and cook gently for a further 2 - 3 minutes, continuing to stir. Set aside to cool.
6. Blind bake the pastry. If you'd rather trim the pastry when it's raw, use a sharp knife and trim the excess pastry now. Cut a sheet of grease proof paper large enough to cover the flan tin. Scrunch it up and open it out. Gently lay it on top of the pastry, easing it into the edges. Weigh the paper down with baking beans or uncooked rice / beans. Place into the oven (on the heated baking tray) and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the baking beans and grease proof paper. If the pastry hasn't been trimmed yet use a sharp knife to very carefully trim off the excess pastry. Return the flan tin to the oven and bake for a further 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
7. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 c / 140 Fan / Gas 3
8. Make the meringue. Using a scrupulously clean bowl and beaters (or balloon whisk), beat the egg whites. Once they have increased in volume and are at the stiff peak stage, add the sugar 1 teaspoon at a time. Continue to beat the meringue until all of the sugar has been incorporated. The meringue will now be glossy.
9. Start to assemble the pie. Spoon the blackberry mixture into the pie case and level it off with the back of a teaspoon.
10. Top with meringue. Either spoon the meringue onto the blackberry filling gently, spreading it out so that none of the filling is showing. Use the blade of a knife to create peaks in the meringue. OR, three-quarter fill a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle with the meringue. Pipe the meringue onto the blackberry filling in a smooth circle so that all of the filling is covered. Now pipe rosettes (or similar) on to the meringue base.
11. Bake. Carefully transfer the flan tin to the oven and place onto the heated baking tray. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. You may need to rotate the tray after about 15 minutes.
12. Cool. Once the meringue is a beautiful golden colour, remove it from the oven and set onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
* Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, written in collaboration with British Lion Eggs. All opinions, written content and images are my own.