It’s National Pie Day! I don’t need an excuse to make pie, but I will definitely take it. Since we’re getting lots of amazing citrus this time of year, I was inspired to make a meringue pie. I wanted to switch things up, though, and decided to forgo the traditional lemon. Some particularly beautiful blood oranges caught my eye, so a blood orange meringue pie made the menu. It’s as beautiful as it is flavorful and can be served as the sweet ending to any wonderful dinner party.
Blood Orange Meringue Pie
For the pie crust:
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
1/4 c plus 2 tbsp water
For the blood orange curd (adapted from Zoe Bakes):
1 heaping c sugar
5 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cold water
5 egg yolks
2/3 c blood orange juice
1 tbsp blood orange zest
3 tbsp unsalted butter
For the meringue:
5 egg whites
3/4 c sugar
A pinch cream of tartar
1. Make the pie dough. Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter cubes and use a pastry cutter to incorporate until the butter pieces are roughly pea-sized. Drizzle in the water while stirring the mixture. Use your hands to bring the dough together and knead briefly. Form the dough into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
2. Cook the pie crust. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the dough to fit an eight- or nine-inch pie pan, then gently press the dough into the pan. Line the dough with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights and continue to bake until the crust just begins to turn golden, about another 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Make the blood orange curd. Stir together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Cook until the mixture becomes translucent. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture becomes very thick (it must be very thick for the resulting curd to be pie-filling consistency). Whisk in the blood orange juice and zest. Remove from heat, add the butter, and whisk until melted and fully incorporated.
4. Make the meringue. Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium until the eggs become frothy, then increase the speed to high. Slowly pour in the sugar and then the pinch of cream of tartar and continue to whisk on high speed until the meringue holds firm peaks.
5. Assemble the pie. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the curd into the baked pie crust. Use a spatula to add the meringue topping, being careful not to incorporate it into the curd. Spread the meringue to the edges of the pie, then use the spatula to create peaks throughout. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the topping just begins to turn golden in spots. Finish the topping with a kitchen torch, or under the broiler, until the peaks become deeply browned. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight before serving.
Coteaux du Layon “Florilège,” Dom. Leduc-Frouin – 2010, $15.96
This sweet Loire stunner, made from late-harvest Chenin Blanc with some botrytis, is the perfect complement to a dessert that is bright with acidity. Although this wine is rich and unctuous enough to withstand the heft of a buttery crust and candied meringue, with its notes of honey, quince, and stone fruits, its clean finish and bracing palate make it an obvious choice for a citrus curd-filled pie. –Hannah Selinger