Friday, 22 March 2013

Mini Meringue Pies


So, you know how to make a lemon meringue pie. And it's very tasty and everything, but something's missing. Think of recent trends in baking - cupcakes, macaroons, cake pops - is there anything they have in common?

SIZE guys, size. Small is beautiful, small is cute, small is appealing. And this bias towards small things has absolutely nothing to do with me being a travel sized human. Not at all.

So I set myself the unenviable task of making tiny lemon meringue pies. And although it took ages, and was messy and stressful, they turned out beautifully:

But you already know how to make lemon meringue pie, so I'm going to give you a recipe for 24 tiny raspberry meringue pies instead. If you want to make the lemon meringue pies, just halve all the pastry and filling ingredients for the big one, but leave the meringue ingredients the same.

You will need:

For the pastry:
87g flour
44g butter or margarine meant for use in pastry (I used Stork)
1-3 tbsp water
a baking tray with 24 small holes for fairy cakes or similar

For the filling:
125g fresh raspberries
2 large egg yolks
25g cornflour
50g butter
25g caster sugar
125ml water
½ tbsp lemon juice

For the meringue:
1 tbsp cocoa
2 large egg whites
75g caster sugar
80ml water
a sugar thermometer

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Add the water, a little at a time until the mixture comes together in a dough. Roll it into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface really really thin, as thin as you can get it without it breaking every time you touch it.

4. Cut out 24 circles of pastry with something that with produce circles small enough to line the holes in your baking tray. I used the mouth of a glass jar. Don't worry about making the little pie cases too deep - I actually found that the shallower ones worked better. Use a little piece of excess pastry to push the dough circles into the holes - you're far less likely to break the pastry that way than if you use your fingers.
5. Blind bake for 5-7 minutes, depending on your oven. You could cover all the pie cases in foil and weigh it down with rice or baking beans, but that would take ages, so I just pricked them all over to stop them from rising.
5. While the pie cases are baking, put the water and cornflour in a saucepan over a low heat. Whisk to remove any lumps and then add the butter and stir until melted. Increase the heat until nearly boiling then remove from heat.
6. Add the lemon juice, sugar and juice the raspberries into the pan by forcing them through a sieve. Make sure you scrape all the juice off the bottom of the sieve. Stir until the sugar dissolves. You should be left with a thick, gloopy, pink mixture. Beat the egg yolks in.
7. Take the pie cases out of the 24 hole baking tray and put them on a normal flat one. Put a teaspoonful of the raspberry filling in each pie case.
8. To make the meringue, heat the caster sugar and 80ml water until it reaches 110C on the sugar thermometer. Continue heating and meanwhile, whip the egg whites into stiff peaks. When the sugar syrup reaches 115C, pour it slowly into the egg whites, whipping all the time but being careful not to get any of the sugar syrup on the whisk.
9. When the meringue cools (up to 15 minutes later) sieve the cocoa into it and fold in with only 2 or 3 streaks so that the mixture is streaky. I tried to do this but it didn't really work so I just dusted the raw meringue with cocoa. Either spoon onto the filled pie cases or pipe using an icing bag without a nozzle on it. Try to make sure the filling is all covered and the meringue is as peaky as possible.
10. Bake for up to 10 minutes, then leave to cool before serving. 

These are divine hot, but I don't want to get sued if you burn yourself with hot raspberrieness so COOL THEM PEOPLE, COOL THEM. I would definitely do these again, they're great fun and so cute. For those waistline watchers, one or two of these is a lot less calorific than a slice of the big meringue pie, even though they're heavy on the topping. They don't travel well though, as I found out when I took them into uni, so treat them gently and they'll love you back. 



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