Recipe: Pumpkin meringue pie (in three steps)

November 22, 2013 

Pumpkin meringue pie

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Pumpkin Meringue Pie (in three steps)

Crust

1 traditional pastry pie crust dough for a 9-inch single-crust pie (see recipe below)

1/4 cup heavy cream (to glaze the crimped pie edges)

Filling

1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

11/2 cups heavy cream

Classic Meringue (see recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Pastry: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. To prepare the pie shell, on a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll out half the disk of dough with a rolling pin until it forms a 10-inch circle. Wrap the remaining half of the dough tightly in plastic wrap and reserve it in the refrigerator for future use for up to 5 days. Fold the circle in half, place it in a 9-inch pie plate so that the edges of the circle drop over the rim, and unfold the dough to completely cover the pie plate. Using your thumb and index finger, crimp the edges of the pie shell. Brush the edges of the pie shell with heavy cream to create a perfect, golden brown finish. Set the pie shell to the side while you make the filling.

Filling: To prepare the pumpkin filling, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, combine the pumpkin puree and eggs. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Mix the ingredients together, scraping the bowl several times. Add the heavy cream and mix once again, until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the unbaked pie shell.

To bake, place the pie plate on the lined baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake it for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the filling is firm in the middle but still soft to the touch. Transfer the pie plate to a wire cooling rack and allow the pie to cool for at least 2 hours.

Meringue: When the pie has finished cooling, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the meringue on top of the pumpkin pie, forming a mound of meringue in the middle of the pie. Use a spatula to pat and lift the meringue across the top of the pie, forming peaks. Take care to spread the meringue all the way out to the edges of the crust.

To brown the meringue, place the pie on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the desired brownness has been achieved. If you have a kitchen torch, you can also use this method as an alternative, but be careful to spread the flame evenly across the entire surface to achieve a uniform look.

Pumpkin Meringue Pie is best served the same day and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

 Pie crust

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons Crisco, cold

5 tablespoons water, ice-cold

1/2 cup heavy cream

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the Crisco to the flour mixture. Either with a pastry blender or with your fingertips, mix the ingredients together with an up-and-down chopping motion until the dough forms, coarse, pea-size crumbs. Note: Take care not to overhandle the dough. In the perfect pie, the Crisco will have a marbleized look when the dough is rolled out and you will actually be able to see Crisco swirls within the uncooked dough.

Add the ice cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, delicately incorporating each tablespoon into the flour mixture before you add the next. You may have to use 1 more or 1 less tablespoon of water than the amount recommended, depending upon the humidity in your kitchen at the time of baking. You will know you have added just the right amount of water when the dough forms a ball that easily holds together.

Use your palm to form the dough into a disk shape, wrap it with plastic and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. Once the dough has chilled, divide the disk in half. You now have enough dough for either one 9-or 10-inch double crust or two 9-or 10-inch single crusts (pie shell only). If you are making a single-crust pie you will use only one half of the dough per pie. Wrap the remaining half in plastic and reserve in the refrigerator for future use; the dough can be reserved in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can make a second single crust pie shell, wrap it tightly in plastic and freeze for future use. It will keep for up to 1 month.

 

Classic meringue

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat the egg whites until they become foamy. Add the cream of tartar and salt and continue mixing until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once all the sugar has been added, add the vanilla and beat for 30 more seconds. The meringue should be light and fluffy. Test the meringue to see if it holds by inserting a spatula into the meringue mixture and quickly pulling it out. If the meringue forms little peaks but does not fall, you have achieved the desired consistency.

— Michele Stuart, "Perfect Pies & More"

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