Monday, July 02, 2012

Passion Fruit Meringue Pie at a Backyard Family Party

It's been two Saturdays in a row of backyard cookouts here at the Dollhouse. Details and desserts of this weekend's fête are on their way, but last weekend's was a multi-excuse party for my rad housemate Bobbie's family, The Doughertys, who, among parents and four sisters were celebrating a 30th wedding anniversary, 2 graduations, and a return home from the Peace Corps.

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 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

For 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

For filling:
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

For meringue:
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

 For crust:
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.

For 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.

For meringue:
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.

There was a bountiful Southern-style cookout with pulled pork and brisket, potato salad & slaw, cornbread and deviled eggs, keg beer and tequila shots (mostly enjoyed by the aunts). Then after an interlude of backyard micro-pong, puzzles, and madlibs, we warmed the pie, topped the pavlova, and paraded out the desserts, which quickly coralled everyone--pongers and shot-takers alike (as you can see in the photo below, which I believe features three Dougherty sisters, and definitely features lots of pretty gals in pretty dresses).

If you were smart, like Scott here, you took a little sliver of each, and paced yourself in the Dessert Enjoyment Zone (DEZ) so the impending sugar crash didn't keep you from a torch-lit game of Catch Phrase and a late-night jaunt out to a Mt. Pleasant dance party.


bobbie dee said...

wonderful piece emily! everything was soooooooooo delicious. one correction: they were celebrating 30 years of marriage...not 40! my mom was not a child bride.

bobbie dee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
emily said...

ahaha...whoops! corrected!

Karen said...

This looks amazing. If I want to make it ahead of time, will it be ok in the fridge overnight or all day?

Karen said...

I made this and the flavor was delicious, but the passionfruit curd didn't set up. I'm not sure what I did. I followed the directions and cooked it to 185 degrees. It set overnight in the fridge and was still not set. Any suggestions?

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