This is another recipe I have been really keen to try for some time. I decided to make a meringue shell, as opposed to a pastry case, as I really need the meringue practise. I followed a basic meringue formula – 2oz castor sugar per 1 egg white plus a pinch of cream of tartar, using 3 egg whites and flavouring it with a pinch of cinnamon and a few drops of vanilla extract. The meringue shell was not quite as I had planned: I think I over- or under-whipped the whites, I may have mis-weighed the sugar and the oven was too hot. I’ll do a proper post on meringue in the future, paying more attention to meringue science, on which I have copious information, which on this occasion, I chose to skim-read and then ignore.
(From Ann Seranne’s The Complete Book of Desserts, Faber and Faber, 1952)
4 eggs separated
1 cup sugar
½ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon gelatin
½ cup cold water
Grated rind of 1 lime
Baked 9 inch tart shell
Beat egg yolks lightly and stir in half a cup of sugar and the lime juice.
Cook mixture over boiling water until it coats the spoon.
Soak gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes and stir into the hot custard.
Add rind and stir over cracked ice until the mixture begins to thicken. Beat egg whites with salt until stiff and then gradually beat in remaining sugar and continue beating until meringue is thick and glossy.
Fold into lime custard and pour into baked tart shell.
Just before serving, spread the surface with whipped cream
I hardly know where to start with this.
Two things of which I am sure: Don’t follow this recipe’s instructions for the preparation of gelatin – do what it says on the packet you bought! Also, a bag of frozen peas is an acceptable substitute for cracked ice.
The custard worked well at first – I halved the amounts in the recipe, but then decided it didn’t taste lime-y enough and added an extra half-cup of lime juice, reasoning that I had been fairly generous with the gelatin (using 2 sheets, where 4 is the amount recommended for a pint of liquid).
I then decided it would be OK to combine the custard with the egg whites when it was still a thick liquid, rather than semi-solid. So I let the custard cool for just a couple of minutes while I whisked the egg whites and then tried to combine the lot, which resulted in a bowl of with a layer pale, sharp-tasting foam on top and below, a layer of now slightly lightened custard, flecked with lime zest. I spooned the layer of foam on top of the meringue, reasoning that the pie would simply have to have a thinner layer of chiffon topping.
As I didn’t own a plate big enough to serve the pie, I put it on a flat baking tray. Some of the foam dissolved, soaking into the meringue and then running out again, taking some dissolved meringue with it. Now a whole shelf of my fridge was generously edged with lime-syrup.
After about 30 minutes, during which time I had a cup of tea, did some washing up and, in a fit of potential-pie-failure-induced-madness made some pate sucre for a possible substitute pie, though Lord knows what I thought I was going to use a filling, the foam had set a little, as had the lime custard. I then dolloped (do comment if you don’t understand any technical terms used) the custard on top of the pie, so it now looked like a pavlova with low self-esteem.
4 hours later, Alix, She Who Plays, Steve and I laid into a crisp, toffee-ish meringue shell, holding together a subtly tangy, marshmallow-y filling, topped with a thin layer of gelatinous, assertively lime-flavoured pudding. While not a thing of traditional beauty, it was noted as surprisingly delicious and almost all of it was eaten in one sitting.
Limed by Elly