Hi guys! Hope you had a great holiday. As you may or may not know, we do not celebrate Thanksgiving here, but we’ve managed to stuff ourselves silly over the weekend nonetheless. Can you not do that with pulled pork? I don’t think so.
Anyway. This time I’ve decided to be a little showy with my baking. It’s not something I normally aim at (in fact, looks come after taste in my kitchen without a question), but I think festive season is a great time to challenge yourself a bit.
This recipe from the September issue of Magyar Konyha magazine, created by the team over at Marangona, Budapest’s chic bakery of the moment was top on my list. I only made slight changes, namely reducing the amount of plums (I could’t fit the given amount on top of the batter), omitting citrus peel (merely because I can’t stand it, but feel free to use it) and cutting down a teeny bit on the sugar.
I was always intimidated by meringue to some degree so I’ve never done a meringue-topped pie before, but there’s a first time for everything as they say. And it turns out my reservations were all but fictitious!
Creating fluffy, feathery meringue peaks is only a matter of attention and a food thermometer. I had the good sense to educate myself on the topic before I started cracking eggs, so here’s the essence of my meringue studies:
There are 3 types of meringue. The one made most commonly at home (as in: the easiest) is French meringue, when sugar is whisked into beaten egg whites. Swiss meringue is made by beating egg whites and sugar together over a water bath until the sugar has dissolved, then beating until the mixture reaches stiff peaks. Italian meringue, the most popular with professional bakers (read: the most difficult) is made by whisking a hot sugar syrup into beaten egg whites.
Italian meringue tends to hold its volume the best, but there isn’t much room for error with this one. If you fail to boil the sugar syrup to the right temperature, don’t beat the whites to the proper stiffness or the surface of your pie is too damp, the meringue may start to weep.
Weeping occurs when some of the sugar in the meringue liquefies and seeps out. Weeping meringue won’t interfere with the taste of your pie, but it’s not visually pleasing. Shamelessly admitting mine did weep a little. Oh well 🤷♀️ It still gave this scrumptious autumnal pie a light and dreamy topping.
Note that all amounts are given in grams. I’m a fan of measuring by cups (volume), but when it comes to baking, weights and measurements are sometimes critical and scales are the key to accuracy. It’s a small investment for peace of mind when measuring ingredients.
Carrot and Plum Pie with Meringue Topping
Sweet, cinnamon-y and seasonal pie with a fluffy meringue topping. Adapted from Magyar Konyha magazine.
for the pie:
500 g plums, pitted and halved
30 g cinnamon sugar (30 g brown sugar + 1/2 tsp cinnamon)
20 g powdered sugar
pinch of salt
55 g egg yolk (3-4 eggs)
80 g egg whites (cca. 4 eggs)
45 g granulated sugar
165 g carrot, grated
133 g almond flour
5 g baking powder
30 g AP flour
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
140 g walnuts, roughly chopped
for the meringue topping:
100 g egg whites
100 g granulated sugar
100 g granulated sugar + water
- Butter and flour a 25 cm (10”) pie dish.
- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, almond flour, baking powder, half of the chopped walnuts and vanilla seeds.
- Mix egg yolks with powdered sugar in a bowl with a handheld mixer until pale, 3-5 min.
- In another bowl, beat egg whites with the pinch of salt. When stiff peaks start to form, gradually add granulated sugar and whisk until shiny, another 1-2 min.
- Using a large spatula, carefully fold in egg whites with yolks mixture.
- Gently fold in carrot, and gradually add dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.
- Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).
- Transfer batter to the baking dish and distribute in an even layer.
- Arrange plum halves on top of batter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and remaining walnuts.
- Bake until risen and center is set, about 40 min.
Make meringue topping:
- In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine first part of sugar with as much water to just cover it.
- Heat over high heat, cooking until syrup registers 115°C (240°F) on an instant read or candy thermometer.
- Meanwhile, start whipping egg whites in a stand mixer on medium speed. When soft peaks form (about 3 min), gradually add second part of sugar.
- With the mixer running, carefully and slowly pour in hot sugar syrup. Increase speed though and whip until mixture is stiff and has cooled.
- Transfer meringue to a piping bag and decorate the pie.
- Bake pie at 180°C (355°F) for 12 min, until meringue peaks start to turn slightly golden. Enjoy!