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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Pie's The Limit


Marmalade Meringue Pie


I found myself with four left over Seville oranges at the weekend,
and not being one to waste food,
 I decided to experiment with them.

Having watched the Comic Relief shows of The Great British Bake Off last week,
 I was inspired to make one of Mr. B's favourites - lemon meringue pie,
but replacing the lemons with the Seville oranges that I had rattling around in the fruit bowl.

I wasn't quite sure what the finished result would be like,
but the bake produced a rather tasty treat, with a slightly tart flavour.
If you closed your eyes, it really did taste like marmalade, in a meringue pie.

You will need :

25cm (10in) loose bottomed fluted flan tin

Grated zest of two Seville oranges and juice of 4
90g cornflour
600ml (1 pint) water
4 egg yolks
175g caster sugar

For the meringue :
 5 egg whites
250g caster sugar

for the pastry:
250g plain flour
30g icing sugar
125g chilled butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp cold water

1. Make the pastry: sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg yolk and enough cold water to make a soft, pliable dough. Alternatively you could make the pastry in the food processor, which is much easier, but not quite as therapeutic. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and use to line your greased flan tin. Chill in the fridge for around 30 minutes.

2. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake blind in a preheated oven at 200c / 180c fan / Gas 6 for 10 minutes.

3. Remove the baking beans and greaseproof paper and bake the pastry case for a further five minutes or until the base has dried out. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150c/ 130c fan / Gas 2.

4. Now for the pie filling - mix the orange zest and juice with the cornflour. This is best done by taking a little of the juice and gradually adding it to the cornflour to avoid ending up with a lumpy mess. Keep adding the juice into the cornflour until all combined. Bring the water to the boil in a pan, then stir into the orange mixture. Return the pan to the heat and bring back to the boil, stirring until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat.

5. Leave to cool slightly, then stir in the egg yolks and sugar. Return to a low heat and cook, stirring until just simmering (this will only take a few seconds). Pour into the pastry case.

Bet you can't resist dipping your finger into this for a quick taste.

6. Next, whisk the egg whites until just stiff. Whisk in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, on full speed. Pile it on top of the filling and spread over evenly. This can be a little tricky because if you use too much pressure the meringue mixture will sink into the pie filling. I tend to dollop the mix around the flan and then gently spread the blobs together. Then you can have a lot of fun creating peaks and patterns on the top.

Look at those peaks - great fun to pick at when it's cooked.

7. Bake for 45 minutes or until crisp and pale brown. Serve warm or cold, but I prefer mine cold as it allows the pie filling to 'set' a little. Cutting into the pie when it is still warm can sometimes risk the filling being a little runny and everything seems to escape out onto the serving plate.

Now sit yourself down with a fork, and a nice cuppa, and enjoy the mouth watering tang of marmalade and the crunch of the meringue topping - bliss.

Enjoy your day!


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Oranges & Lemons

Seville Orange Curd

It's that time of year, when a very small window of opportunity presents itself
- Seville oranges are in season.

Most people tend to automatically think
Seville orange = marmalade. 
That is very true, but a few years ago I discovered that orange curd made with these little beauties is delicious.
You can also freeze it which means it will last for up to six months,
(instead of 6 weeks in the fridge,)
so you can enjoy this delicious
little indulgence right through to the

After all the excitement of Christmas it has been lovely to settle back into the comfortable routine of spending some time in the kitchen with non-Christmas related baking and cooking.
This recipe is a wonderfully zingy and refreshing taste and almost makes you think of warm summer days that seem so far away at this time of year.
Especially as we have quite a thick covering of snow up here in the North East at the moment.

Some people struggle with what to do with fruit curds once you have made them.
I love to use them as the filling for a meringue roulade or pavlova's, etc. but they are also good mixed with whipped cream inside a good old Victoria sponge.

You will need :

150g butter
250g caster sugar
finely grated zest of one Seville orange and the juice of three Seville oranges
4 eggs and 2 egg yolks

1. Heat the butter, caster sugar, and the zest and juice of the oranges very gently until the butter has melted.

2. Beat the 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks together thoroughly, and then stir into the melted butter mixture.
3. Stir the contents of the pan very gently over a low heat until the mixture has thickened and will coat the back of the spoon.
If the heat is too high the mixture will start to scramble, but don't worry if this does happen, just quickly push it through a sieve.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and pour into a sterilised jar.

This will keep in the fridge for around 6 weeks.
As I mentioned earlier, it is possible to freeze this liquid gold.
Instead of putting the curd into a jam jar use a plastic, freezer safe container.
Seal tightly, label and pop into the freezer for up to six months.
So don't delay, pop off to the shops as soon as you can
and grab these oranges before they are gone.
It'll be a whole year before you can try this recipe if you don't!
Enjoy your day!