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Peach and mango meringue pie

Peach and mango meringue pie

Peach and mango meringue pie

This one’s for my friend Michael and his daughter, who are going in for a pie competition this weekend. I’m very pleased with the way it turned out – it really does taste as good as it looks. This pie is made with an all-butter pastry (none of your revolting shortening here, Californians) which is flavoured with lemon zest, and has a juicy filling that’s very easy to put together. I have been obsessing a bit about meringue recently, and the lovely puffy cloud that makes the lid of this pie is a beautiful and really delicious way to top things off.

Michael and Yael are cooking in the US, where weighing scales are not the norm – unfortunately, cup measures aren’t the norm here in the UK, and I have real trouble using them when I’m baking.  As a result, I’ve measured by weight, not volume, below. For those who don’t have a set of scales at home,  there is a decent conversion tool here.

You’ll need an 11 inch (28 cm) flan case with fluted edges and a loose base that you can push out, and some baking beans (some use ceramic beans – I just used half a pack of dried butter beans from the cupboard). If you plan on transporting your pie, you may prefer to use a foil dish.

To make one totally fabulous pie, you’ll need:

Pastry
225g plain flour
25g icing (confectioners) sugar
100g salted butter
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons water (approx – see below)

Filling
4 large, ripe peaches (I used white peaches – choose the most fragrant fruit you can find)
3 ripe mangoes (I used Alphonse mangoes, which are my favourite)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
3 level tablespoons semolina (cornmeal for Americans)

Meringue
6 egg whites
225g caster sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Peach and mango meringue pieStart by making the pastry. Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl, and rub in the butter with your fingertips until you have a mixture resembling breadcrumbs. Try to keep things as cool as possible as you work; your pastry will be crisper and shorter if it stays cold. (My grandmother used to make pastry in a large bowl placed in the kitchen sink while she ran cold water around it – perhaps there’s a degree of overkill in this, but it does work well to help your pastry along in hot weather.)

Use a butter knife to stir the lemon zest, yolk and water into the mixture until you have a stiff pastry. You may need a little more water according to the weather; the behaviour of pastry varies horribly according to how much moisture there is in the air on any given day. Wrap the pastry in cling film (saran wrap for Michael and Yael) and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

While the pastry is resting, turn the oven to 200ºC (400ºF) and prepare the fruit. Quarter and peel the peaches, then cut each piece into three. Dice the mango in pieces the same size as the peach bits (I’m sure you all know the mango trick, but here’s a YouTube video of someone preparing a mango just in case you’ve not done it before). You can keep the fruit around the stone section to nibble off as a chef’s treat. Cover and set aside.

Roll the pastry out on a cool, lightly floured surface to fit your flan dish. (I have a marble slab for pastry that my Mum bought for me at a gravestone shop. Again, this is probably overkill. It’s also a bit sinister, now I think about it.) Line the dish with the pastry, use a fork to prick the base of the pie case all over, and cut a circle of parchment paper to fit in the bottom. Slip the parchment inside the pie and cover it with baking beans. Bake blind – that is to say, without any filling – for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden. Remove the beans and parchment and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the base is dry and golden too. Turn the oven down to 150ºC (300ºF).

Prepare the meringue by whisking the eggs and vinegar for about five minutes until you have stiff peaks (the vinegar will not add a detectable flavour to your pie, but it will make the peaks of the meringue simultaneously crisp and chewy, like a baked marshmallow), adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time as you go. You should end up with a very stiff, glossy mixture.

Sprinkle the semolina into the base of the pie dish – this will soak up excess juices from the fruit. Fill the dish with the fruit mixture (depending on the size of your peaches and mangoes, you may find you have some left over to make a fruit salad with) and sprinkle over the sugar.

Spoon the meringue carefully all over the top of the pie in a dome, making sure there are no gaps, and use a spoon to tease it into lots of peaks on top. Put the pie in the oven at the cooler temperature (don’t worry if the temperature hasn’t quite settled down yet – a little bit of extra heat at the start of cooking won’t hurt it) and bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes until the pie is an even gold colour all over and marshmallowy inside. Serve warm or cold, but do make it as close as possible to serving as you can manage to keep the meringue nice and high and puffy.

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9 comments to Peach and mango meringue pie

  • Kevin

    I’ll be honest – aside from the fact the pie looks divine, the tip re semolina is – pure genius!
    I am pretty crud at making pastry & not having the base come out soggy. This could be the solution……is this something you do generally with tart pastries?

    Cheers!

  • Liz

    Hi Kevin. Absolutely – the semolina trick’s a lifesaver with pastry cases which you’re going to put something damp into. (Being careful when you blind-bake the base to get the bottom bone-dry is helpful too.) Let me know how it works out for you if you give it a shot!

  • Claire

    This looks absolutely incredible!!! I always add 1 tsp of cornflour to my meringue mixture too – melt it into the vinegar.. means I don’t remember my last meringue failure (which is more than I can say for other recipes!!).

  • That is a truly phenomenal looking meringue atop that pie. I really like the idea of a peach mango pie, my Mister’s mom makes a delectable peach pie, but I imagine that the combination of the two fruits would be great!

    I very recently came into possession of a flan dish, it looks like a good time to pull it out.

  • Liz

    Claire’s cornflour tip is an excellent one. I should also have noted in the recipe that for a successful meringue you should be careful that there is not a speck of grease in your bowl or on your whisk – separate the eggs one at a time into a separate bowl, so that if the worst happens and you get a bit of yolk in there (the grease in it will make your meringue fail), it won’t pollute the other eggs you’ve separated successfully.

    Thanks, Dana, for the compliment! My sense when dealing with meringue is that more is definitely…more. Meringues should always be huge – they’re much better that way!

  • Tamara

    It looks good, and I plan to try the recipe–though I doubt I can get my meringue to look quite so artistic. However, I am curious as to why you would tell US readers to substitute cornmeal for semolina. Semolina is readily available in North America. It is known as “cream of wheat”. I know are only requiring 3 tbsp, but I would not, by choice, use cornmeal as a substitute for semolina in most recipes.

  • Liz

    Hi Tamara – consider me educated! I was, embarrassingly, completely unaware the stuff was available in the US. That said, in this application fine cornmeal or polenta will do exactly the same job, being there for its absorbency, not its flavour. Use what you can find, and thanks very much for letting me know what the Americans call semolina!

  • Lisa

    Well, we made the pie for the pie bake-off. I think it turned out well, but the judges seemed to favor berry pies this year. Nevertheless, we ate up what was left of the pie after the contest and we all proclaimed it the winner. It was fun to make and even though I had not made a meringue for many years and was quite stressed about it, Liz’s recipe and instructions were flawless and it turned out beautifully. The sunny yellow fruits topped by that airy meringue were so perfect for celebrating the first local peaches. Thanks to Liz for her lovely recipe and for joining us at the contest! It was a fun day at the Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market.

  • Sue

    The perfect meringue….just as above, but add the cornstarch to the vinegar as another poster suggested and use Marshmallow cream instead of the sugar…..Also when browning your meringue…When it is the color that you want, Turn off the oven and open the oven door slowly so that the meringue cools gradually and does not collapse. Leave in the oven with the door open for 40 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before removing. Your meringue will be the talk of the town.

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