As the family of honor staked down the yellow circus tent, lit grills, and strung streamers in the backyard, Kari and I, in perhaps the last Tarts by Tarts collaboration for a while, took to the the kitchen, charged with the making of desserts. We composed a versatile menu that included that pecan layer cake, key lime pie bars, and jumbleberry pavlova by Kari and lime tarts, and a peach-pecan pie and chocolate and peanut butter pretzel tart by me (more info on those coming soon!).
I also contributed a passion fruit meringue pie, elements of which were requested by both Bobbie and her older sister Cait. Cait had just returned from the Peace Corps in Panama, where she ate a lot of passion fruit, and Bobbie is a resident of the dollhouse, where she eats a lot of meringue...so I brought the two together in a passion fruit meringue pie with a macadamia nut-gingersnap crust.
This passion fruit pie is related to lilikoi (passion fruit in Hawaiian) pie, though where classic lilikoi pie generally features an airy chiffon filling, the pie I made calls for a denser curd, topped by a marshmallowy meringue. Combined with the macadamia nut crust I used for the Florida grapefruit-white chocolate pie, this is a tropical take on a classic favorite.
Passion Fruit Meringue Pie with a Macadamia Nut Crust
7 oz. roasted macadamia nuts
3/4 c. ground gingersnap cookies
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 3/4 c. passion fruit purée or nectar
1 c. + 2 Tblsp. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
4 egg yolks (save whites for meringue)
3 Tbslp. unsalted butter cut into chunks
4 large egg whites, room temp. (can use whites from the yolks used for the curd)
1 c. sugar
2 Tblsp. corn syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Finely chop nuts in food processor. Add ground gingersnap cookies, sugar, and butter and pulse until moist crumbs form. Press mixture firmly into bottom and sides of a greased and floured 9-inch pie pan. Bake crust 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool on a wire rack before adding the filling.
1. Combine lemon juice, passion fruit purée, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until it begins to thicken. Add in egg yolks, whisking after each addition. Continue to cook until mixture coats the back of a spoon, or reads 185 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, pour filling into pie crust, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 2 hours.
2. Once curd has chilled, pour into the baked and cooled crust and refrigerate until the meringue is ready.
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and set aside.
2. Stir sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 c. water in a medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Insert a candy thermometer in the saucepan and increase heat to medium-high. Boil without stirring, occasionally swirling pan, until thermometer registers 238 degrees F, 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Meanwhile, beat whites again briefly until soft peaks form. Slowly pour hot sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the whites and beat until meringue is firm and has a glossy sheen. Continue to beat until cool, about 4 minutes. Remove pie from the fridge and spoon meringue over the passion fruit curd, making sure the meringue seals the edge of the pie. Sculpt decoratively with the back of a spoon.
4. Bake until meringue is toasted, about 3-5 minutes. Chill pie for about a half-hour before serving. Keep in the fridge until it's gone.