Carrot and Plum Pie with Meringue Topping

carrot plum pie with meringue topping

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.

carrot plum pie with meringue topping

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.

carrot plum pie with meringue topping

carrot plum pie with meringue 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

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Sweet, cinnamon-y and seasonal pie with a fluffy meringue topping. Adapted from Magyar Konyha magazine.

Ingredients

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

Directions

Make pie:

  1. Butter and flour a 25 cm (10”) pie dish.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, almond flour, baking powder, half of the chopped walnuts and vanilla seeds.
  3. Mix egg yolks with powdered sugar in a bowl with a handheld mixer until pale, 3-5 min.
  4. 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.
  5. Using a large spatula, carefully fold in egg whites with yolks mixture.
  6. Gently fold in carrot, and gradually add dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.
  7. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).
  8. Transfer batter to the baking dish and distribute in an even layer.
  9. Arrange plum halves on top of batter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and remaining walnuts.
  10. Bake until risen and center is set, about 40 min.

Make meringue topping:

  1. In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine first part of sugar with as much water to just cover it.
  2. Heat over high heat, cooking until syrup registers 115°C (240°F) on an instant read or candy thermometer.
  3. 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.
  4. With the mixer running, carefully and slowly pour in hot sugar syrup. Increase speed though and whip until mixture is stiff and has cooled.
  5. Transfer meringue to a piping bag and decorate the pie.
  6. Bake pie at 180°C (355°F) for 12 min, until meringue peaks start to turn slightly golden. Enjoy!

Love,

Fruzsi

*Disclaimer: What I write about business establishments on My Chest of Wonders represent my genuine and unbiased opinion, I am not being compensated in any way through sponsorship, commissions or gifts.*

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Friday Finds

Waving goodbye to September while buying out my supermarket’s cinnamon supply.

Apple Pie Smoothie by Eden of Sugar and Charm:

apple pie smoothie

Cinnamon Toast Bundts by Olivia of Liv for Cake:

cinnamon toast bundts

Spreadable Cinnamon Apple Caramel by Jane of Little Sugar Snaps:

apple cinnamon caramel

Cinnamon Dolce Latte by Megan of With Salt & Wit:

cinnamon latte

Baked Cinnamon and Sugar Donuts by Jessica of A Happy Food Dance:

baked cinnamon sugar donuts

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

Got the first basket of peaches from my parents’ garden this week. Apricots, peaches and nectarines are the ultimate summer fruits on my list. Check out these beautiful recipes while I stuff myself silly with the bounty.

Rosé Poached Peaches with Whipped Coconut Cream via Camille Styles, recipe by Alison Cayne of Haven’s Kitchen:

rose poached peaches

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream by Gaby of What’s Gaby Cooking:

grilled peaches

Ginger Peach Crumble by Ali of Gimme Some Oven:

peach crumble

Peach Pie by Megan of Hint of Vanilla:

peach pie

Peach Cream Scones by Laura of Tutti Dolci:

peach scones

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Sour Cherry Slab Pie

sour cherry slab pie

Pie. One of world’s favorite desserts, an affaire de coeur no matter where you live. Yet it only cleared on me know that I’m writing this post, that slab pies are quite under the radar over at your end in America. That needs to change!

When we use the word pite (pron. pee-tech) in Hungary, 9 out of 10 times it comes in rectangular form. Ditch your circular dish for once and try baking pie in a shallow, rimmed baking pan. It feeds more mouths with less mess ’n fuss, and with the bar outfit you get more crust too. Sensible. Yes, that’s the word for slab pies.

Side by side, sweet quark and sour cherry filled slab pies must be the most popular around here; almost every house in our neighborhood has a sour cherry tree in the front yard. My family moved from the capital to the suburbs some 20 years ago so ours is old now, but we still get a steady supply of the tart fruit year in, year out.

And so it pains me to see how my parents are the only ones there taking the time and effort to harvest the crimson-to-near-black delicacy when these are so sought after at the farmers’ market. Fresh sour cherries don’t show up often in stores as their shelf life is quite short: they bruise easily. That said, packages from the frozen goods section of the supermarket is your next best option.

More acidic and having greater nutritional benefits than sweet cherry, the sour type also holds its shape better when baked. And there’s no need to restrict lovely sour cherries to just pie either! Dry, can, freeze, or make jam from a batch to enjoy later in many kinds of sweet and savory dishes.

sour cherry slab pie

In this recipe, a little cinnamon goes a long way, and a woven lattice-top is making the pie visually pleasing. This crust recipe works with any berry or stone fruit that’s in season near you. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or cold after a good sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Yet another reason to love pie!

Sour Cherry Slab Pie

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

The #1 summer pie in Hungary, coming in a sheet pan.

Ingredients

For the crust:

500 g AP flour

250 g cold butter, cut to cubes

pinch of salt

2 tbsp sugar

½ tsp baking powder

1 medium egg + 1 for eggwash

1-2 tbsp sour cream

For the filling:

1 kg sour cherry, washed and pitted

4 tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 packet vanilla flavor pudding mix (not the instant variety) or 40 g / 2 ½ tbsp cornstarch + 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Mix pitted sour cherries with sugar, set aside.
  2. For the crust, in a medium bowl mix flour with salt, sugar and baking powder.
  3. Working quickly, cut in cold butter until rough crumbles are formed. Do not overwork, clumps should not yet collect.
  4. Add egg, plus 1 to 2 tbsp sour cream and work with your hands until dough comes together. Wrap in cling foil and refrigerate while you make the filling.
  5. For the filling, drain the juice from the previously sugared sour cherries. If it’s less than 300 ml (1 ¼ cup), add water. Mix juice thoroughly with the pudding mix or cornstarch (watch out for lumps).
  6. Heat mixture in a medium pot, stirring continuously, until it starts to thicken. Turn heat off, add sour cherries and cinnamon. Mix well, set aside.
  7. Preheat oven to 180°C / 356°F. Divide chilled dough to 2 equal parts, roll out one half on a lightly floured surface to the size of your pan. Gently lift and fit dough into the pan.
  8. Pour filling over dough (no need to pre-bake), and spread evenly.
  9. Roll out remaining dough, cut strips with a knife or pizza cutter. Weave lattice top, wash with the other egg.
  10. Bake until crust is golden, about 40 min. Enjoy!

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Love,

Fruzsi

Friday Finds

Keep your faith in beautiful things;
in the sun when it is hidden,
in the Spring when it is gone.

–  Roy R. Gibson

A little spring on your windowsill (Grape Hyacith via Vibeke Design):

white grape hycinth

Everyday magic:

savor the small things

Longing for blue (Dolomites, Italy photo by Blurino):

dolomites italy

Nailhead trim and subtle hues (photo by Danielle of Silver Pennies):

couch and pillow

The art of pie (Maple Apple Pie by Janice of Kitchen Heals Soul):

apple maple pie

Happy weekend!

Fruzsi

Pantry Staples: Apple & Pumpkin Pie Spice

pantry staples apple and pumpkin pie spice cover

Ah, apples and pumpkins on the stalls of the greengrocer. A sure sign of fall, and a cheerful one at that. These two offer so much opportunity, and I personally can not get enough of them.

Apple equals pie, that is indisputable. For most of us here in Hungary though, pumpkin pie still sounds kind of exotic.

Not that we don’t eat pumpkin: my relatives have fond memories of fall evenings and the smell of roasting butternut squash emerging from their sparhelt (a typical cookstove every household used before gas was introduced to villages).

But that was about it: roasting pumpkin. Cream soups become popular not so long ago, and we are just getting used to the idea of a vegetable (when it’s actually a fruit) as dessert.

Apple pie and pumpkin pie spice are two blends that seem to be so common in the U.S., they are sold alongside regular spices in the baking isle of supermarkets, and are frequently called for in recipes without much explanation.

Well, we don’t happen to have them here just yet, so I did some digging and decided to mix my own at home. And you can, too! There’s no need to buy packaged anyway when you most likely already have the ingredients sitting in your pantry.

apple and pumpkin pie spice

When thinking of these sweet fall staples, cinnamon pops into mind first and indeed, it is a key component in these spice mixes. We could stop right there, but let’s add more flavor to the equation!

The beauty of making your own spice blend is (aside from being a lot more economical than buying ready-made) that you can tweak ratios to complement your taste perfectly. Use this as a guide and adjust to taste if you prefer.

apple and pumpkin pie spice

Apple Pie Spice

Ingredients

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

1 tbsp ground allspice

2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Ingredients

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

2 tbsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

Since you’re going to be storing the mix, it is not crucial to use freshly ground ingredients. Measure spices into a small plastic or ziplock bag, and shake to mix well. Store mix in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Oh, and don’t feel restricted by the word ‘pie’ above! Absolutely use these spice mixes in just about every recipe calling for apple and pumpkin, even pears and plums.

Fruzsi

“Store shelves with goods” illustration featured in title image © Redspruce