Pomegranate Meringue Pie with Blood Orange
Mixing things up a bit from the classic lemon meringue pie. And, in total transparency, I had a jug of pomegranate juice sitting in my fridge for way too long. To reduce the pomegranate juice, I simply boiled it down by a little more than half. I poured the juice into a pan, set it over medium-high heat, reduced it to half the original volume, and let it cool. That's it. Notes of tart and sweet pomegranate, hints of lemon, orange and vanilla, and toasted marshmallow. Textures of pillowy marshmallow, tender pie crust, and irresistibly smooth curd.
In a large bowl
1 1/3 cups (163g) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (67g) vegetable oil
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium saucepan
1 1/2 cups (298g) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (43g) cornstarch
1 1/2 cups (340g) cold water
1 teaspoon orange zest
In a small bowl
3 egg yolks
Hanging out on the sidelines
3 tablespoons (43g) butter
1/2 cup (113g) reduced pomegranate juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red food dye, optional
In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons (67g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of a Meyer lemon or orange
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Start by making the crust. Stir together the flour, vegetable oil, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt until evenly combined.
You can roll out the crust between a few sheets of parchment paper and then transfer it to a standard pie pan. Or, if you're like me and sometimes lazy, you can press the dough into the bottom and along the sides of a standard-size springform pan. Either way, we will blind-bake the crust, so once the dough is in your preferred pan, top it with a sheet of parchment paper and your preferred pie weights. I don't use actual pie weights, but rice instead. I have a big bag of cheap white rice labeled "DO NOT USE" for the sole purpose of using it for blind baking. Some prefer dried beans; some are fancy and have actual, legit pie weights- it all works. Blind bake the shell at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes or until barely golden brown. Remove and let cool.
Make the pomegranate curd filling. Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and water in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Stir often as the mixture comes to a boil, and then stir constantly as you let the mixture boil for another minute.
In a small bowl, whisk in a drizzle of the hot sugar and cornstarch mixture into the egg yolks. Keep whisking as you incorporate the hot mixture- about a cup or so- or else you'll end up with scrambled eggs. Then, scrape the egg mixture back into the saucepan.
Add in the butter, pomegranate reduction, and vanilla extract, and continue stirring over medium-low heat until the curd is very thick with large bubbles that slightly scare you. Remove from the heat and spread into the baked pie shell. If you're a bit of a perfectionist, you can run the curd through a fine-mesh sieve to get the perfect texture. Depending on your pomegranate juice, your curd may not be the prettiest red you've ever seen. If so, feel free to add a bit of red food dye, and no one will ever be the wiser.
Drop the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and make the meringue. In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. While continuing to beat the egg whites, slowly add sugar and beat until thick, glossy, and stiff. We're looking for stiff peaks, so when dipping your finger into the meringue and pulling it out, the peaks stand on their own. Once you have stiff peaks, beat in the vanilla.
Spoon or pipe the meringue over the pie, making sure to spread the meringue all the way to the edges of the crust. This helps prevent the meringue from weeping (and me, too).
Bake the meringue for 8-10 minutes or until the top is as toasty (or not) to your liking. Remove and let cool for several hours before cutting. And I mean several- this, too, helps prevent the meringue from weeping.