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This is an addiction I’m finding hard to kick. I’m already on my 3rd (large) bag of blood oranges and I already want more. I don’t even want to think about this season being over yet! Can it please just last forever? Oranges are just more fun when they’re not… well… orange?
I wanted to make you something fun and a little bit more creative. Something you can really get stuck into if you fancy a bit more of a project or if you fancy making something cute and pretty! I can’t tell you how excited I am by creating beautiful things in the kitchen. Like, I REALLY want you to make these tarts and I REALLY want you to stand at the end and say “Wow, I made that” and feel super, super proud of yourself, because you’re awesome.
We’re going to use Swiss meringue for these tops. For a couple of reasons, 1) I live in Switzerland, so I would basically be cheating on Swiss meringue if I did anything else and 2) because the egg whites and sugar are partially cooked before the long whipping process begins, it creates a more stable mixture meaning it’s much more difficult for it to go wrong… win! There are detailed instructions in the recipe below about how to make the meringue, and we don’t do any fancy piping here – just dolloping and swirling – sound ok?
The coloured swirls are created by running a toothpick dipped in gel food colouring haphazardly across the surface. I used a mixture of yellow swirls, red swirls and pink swirls to emulate the inside of the blood oranges. I absolutely adore how nature makes these oranges all different colours on the inside. It’s literally like a surprise every time you cut into one. Maybe I’m just really sad getting THIS excited about oranges… but hey, that’s why I write this blog haha!
By using these crispy meringue hats rather than soft and un-baked meringue (like the normal top of a lemon meringue pie), we give this dessert an extra element of texture, adding to its charm even more. You will get a mouthful of flaky, buttery pastry followed by a creamy and yet zingy blood orange curd and then the meringue will burst through in little shards, creating a party in your mouth! There was literally silence around the dinner table as all my friends devoured these, and in my mind, silence + food = success!
Blood Orange Meringue Pies
Yield: Makes 4 Mini Pies
180g All Purpose Flour
100g Butter, Chilled
1 Egg Yolk
2 Egg Whites
112g Caster Sugar
Orange and Red Gel Food Colouring
Blood Orange Curd
Zest and Juice of 1 Blood Orange
85g Caster Sugar
1. Place the room temperature egg whites and the caster sugar into the bowl from your freestanding mixer and mix to combine. On the stove, fill a saucepan with about 1.5 inches of water and bring to a simmer. You should be able to place the bowl of your freestanding mixer on top of the saucepan so that the steam can heat it, but the water does not touch the bowl.
2. Once the water is simmering, place the bowl with the egg white mixture over it to create a double boiler. Mix by hand with the balloon whisk constantly for 3 minutes. The sugar should completely dissolve. You can test if it is done by rubbing a small amount of mixture between your thumb and index finger. If it feels grainy, continue whisking over the steam until it is completely smooth.
3. Transfer the bowl onto the freestanding mixer, attach the balloon whisk and beat on a high speed for 10 minutes or until the bowl is completely cool. You will be left with a very stiff meringue that is almost marshmallow-y in texture. There will be stiff peaks that support themselves when the whisk is lifted out and turned over.
4. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius. Line a flat baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon the mixture into 4 equal mounds slightly smaller in diameter than your tart tins. Use a spoon to even out the top of the meringues. Using a tooth pick dipped into gel food colouring, swirl around the surface of the meringue to give a colourful marbled effect. Bake for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes turn off the oven and leave the meringues in it for another 30-60 minutes to continue drying. After this they are done and should be crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside!
1. In a food processor, blitz together the flour and butter until you have a fine breadcrumb like mixture. add the egg yolk and 1 Tablespoon of ice cold water and blitz again. The dough should come together into 1 piece, if it doesn’t add more water 1 teaspoon at a time until it does. Flatten the dough into a disc and cover tightly with cling film. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. After 30 minutes, take the dough out of the fridge and divide into 4 equal parts. Roll each section into a circle about 1/8 inch thick and line the mini tart tin. Once all four tart tins are lined with the pastry, put a piece of parchment paper or tin foil on top and fill each one with baking beans. Turn the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and put the tarts in the fridge while the oven warms up.
3. Bake the pastry cases with the baking beans for 15 minutes, then removed the beans and lining paper and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Allow the cases to cool fully then place in an airtight container until ready to use.
Blood Orange Filling
1. In a bowl mix the softened butter, sugar and orange zest together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the orange juice and mix again until evenly combined.
2. Place the mixture in a saucepan and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes stirring constantly. Do not let the mixture boil. It will thicken as it cooks.
1. As soon as the blood orange filling is done, pour it straight into the baked and cooled pastry tarts. Allow to set for an hour at room temperature.
2. Place a meringue on top of each tart!
Note: You can store the assembled tarts in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days. Do not refrigerate as the meringues will go soggy.