Saturday, June 19, 2010

Martha Stewart's rhubarb meringue pie

I was thumbing through Martha Stewart Living at B's aunt's house last week and admiring the pictures, so B's aunt kindly lent me several back issues. When I flipped through the May issue, I saw all the rhubarb and knew this was where I had to start. B requested the rhubarb meringue pie. It was easy but time-consuming to make, just because the rhubarb pulp had to be cleaned out of the juicer so frequently. (Cleaning up, on the other hand, was ridiculously difficult and time-consuming. Getting all the bits of rhubarb pulp out of the tiny crannies of the juicer I'd borrowed required a bevy of toothpicks and an electric toothbrush [with a clean head, of course].)

The end result was nice but not amazing. Despite my following the directions exactly, the pie filling didn't firm up quite enough. Every time I cut a slice, the filling gooshed all over. And the meringue was not the billowy-yet-firm masterpiece I'd imagined from the photo. It didn't quite set properly, and there wasn't enough of it. And the overall flavor, though nice, was a bit one-dimensional. However, I really loved the crust, which I wasn't expecting after tasting the dough before it baked. The crust was just perfect. The pie was nice enough that I'd like to try it again with a few tweaks. When I make it again, I'll make more meringue, whipped to firm rather than medium peaks. I'll add just a bit of gelatin to the filling to firm it up. And if the extra meringue doesn't balance out the sour filling, I may resort serving it with strawberries.

rhubarb meringue pie (from Martha Stewart Living, May 2010, p 34)
1 disk pate sucree
all-purpose flour, for surface
2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces
1.75 C sugar
coarse salt
3 large egg yolks plus 4 large egg whites
2 TB unsalted butter

1. Preheat aoven to 375. Roll out pate sucree to 1/8" thickness on a lightly floured surface. fit dough into a 9" pie dish; trim to 1", fold under, and crimp edges. Refrigerate for 30 min. Prick inside of pie shell all over with a fork; line with parchment. fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges are golden and set, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove weights and parchment. Bake until bottom is dry and light gold, 5-10 min. more. Let cool.

2. Juice rhubarb. (You'll need a juicer to make this filling. Rhubarb is fibrous, so cut it into 3" pieces before juicing. This will help keep the fibers from clogging the appliance. Clean your machine if it gets too full or sounds labored.) You'll need 2.25 C juice; add water if needed. Whisk together 1 C sugar, the cornstarch, and .25 tsp salt. Whisk in juice; bring to a boil in a medium saucepan, whisking. Cook for 1 min.

3. Place yolks ina bowl; gradually hisk in half of hot juice mixture. Return to pan. cook over medium heat, whisking, until thick, about 1 min. Whisk in butter. Strain through a fine sieve into pie shell. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

4. Preheat abroiler with rack about 8" from heat source. Heat whites and remaining .75 C sugar in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering waater, whisking, until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot (160 F), about 2 min. Transfer to the bowl of a mixer. Whisk on high speed until medium peaks form. Dollop meringue onto pie. Broil until well browned, 30-40 seconds.

pate sucree
2 large egg yolks
.25 C aice water
2.5 C all-purpose flour
3 TB sugar
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1. Lightly beat together yolks and water until combined.

2. Pulse flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. Drizzle yolk mixture over dough mixture. Pulse until mixture just begins to hold together (no longer than 30 seconds).

3. Divide dough in half, and wrap in plastic wrap. Shape dough into disks. Refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes or overnight.

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