We picked 8 pounds of raspberries yesterday from our garden, and there is no end in sight. This isn’t a complaint, of course…just an observation. The grandkids picked last week – even the baby! Daisy our black lab even learned to pick them. And yet they are getting ahead of me, and the bees are beginning to take more than their share.
So…a raspberry dessert was just what I needed to make for the blog. I played around with a meringue crust, and it was a huge hit here in my home. You could put the filling in a pre-baked pie crust too, of course, but we all loved the melty, crunchy, slightly-chewy-on-the-bottom crust.
The meringue piecrust can be made a day ahead if you’d like, stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Add the filling and give the pie an hour in the fridge to set up nicely before serving. The pie filling is very light and mousse-like, so cut generous portions! The meringue won’t be crispy after a night in the fridge, so you might as well eat it while it’s in its prime.
I doubled the recipe and tried a couple of different pans. Here’s what I learned:
- You must spray the pie pans with a non-stick spray! (Next time I might try greasing the pan and lining it with parchment.) Mine stuck a bit and was difficult to cut into neat pieces. But even if the meringue is a little crumbly, it’s delicious and you can just heap little pieces on each spoonful on its way to your mouth!
- Don’t try to rush the crusts. They need to dry out slowly and completely in the oven.
- Use clean utensils when making meringue, and be careful not to get any egg yolk in with the whites.
This recipe would work very well with other juicy berries too, like blackberries or huckleberries. A lemon curd layer on top would be heavenly – a little tartness to cut the sweet filling. But this has become my husband’s new favorite pie, so I won’t mess with a good thing!
|Cloud Nine Berry Pie|| |
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- grated peel of one small lemon
- a few drops of lemon extract (optional)
- PIE FILLING:
- 2 cups fresh raspberries (plus a few for decorating, if desired)
- juice from one small lemon
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, divided
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- Heat oven to 250 F.
- In a small bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy. Sprinkle with cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
- Add 1 cup of superfine sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition. When all sugar has been added, beat until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold in the grated lemon peel and extract.
- Spray a deep-dish pie pan with non-stick spray. Spread (or pipe) the meringue evenly over entire inside surface.
- Bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the pie crust in the oven until it cools (or at least 1 hour).
- While the crust is baking, begin cooking the berry portion of the filling: Place berries into a small saucepan with the lemon juice. Cover and cook on medium-low for about ½ hour, stirring occasionally.
- Place the cooked berries in a fine strainer over a small bowl and press the juice out, discarding the seeds and pulp. You should have about ½ cup of juice. If necessary, add a little water.
- Put the juice back in the small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Combine ¼ cup sugar and cornstarch and whisk into boiling juice. Turn down to medium-low, cooking and stirring for 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. If you are in a hurry, the pan can be set into a cold water bath to cool.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and 1½ cups powdered sugar together well, until creamy.
- Add half of the berry mixture (reserving the rest for drizzling over the dessert) and mix until combined.
- In a medium bowl, beat the whipping cream until thickened. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon powdered sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold into cream cheese mixture.
- Spoon the filling into cooled meringue crust. Chill for 1 hour. Decorate with whipped cream and raspberries and serve.
- Store in refrigerator. The meringue crust will soften during refrigeration, but the flavor will still be amazing.
Cool and sweet, light and creamy. How perfect is this for a summer treat? The meringue crust has given me so many ideas. One will involve pumpkin…but I’m not quite ready to go THERE yet. For now, I’m on a mission to use up some berries. If you come my way this summer, bring your bucket!