The strawberry maniac strikes again – and this time with pies topped with meringue. :)
I know I’ve been carried away by the strawberry season, but tell me: would you resist making such adorable little pies? I’m not that strong. :)
Little strawberry meringue tarts
adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller
400g strawberries, hulled and quartered
½ cup (88g) brown sugar, packed – you might need more depending on how sweet the strawberries are
1 vanilla bean, scraped seeds only
juice of ½ small orange
juice of ½ lime
Brown sugar pastry:
50g soft unsalted butter
50g brown sugar
1 cup (140g) all purpose flour
¼ cup (50g) caster sugar
2 tablespoons (24g) demerara sugar
1 egg white
For brown sugar pastry, beat butter and brown sugar, using an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until pale, then add the egg and beat to combine. Add flour, beat until just combined, turn onto a lightly floured work surface, form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, place strawberries in a heavy-based saucepan. Add brown sugar, vanilla seeds and orange and lime juices and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5-8 minutes or until strawberries are soft and liquid is reduced. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Roll pastry on a lightly floured surface to 2mm thick and use to line ten 6.5x3.5cm deep pie pans (see note), trim edges and pierce crust all over with fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and cut roughly into ten squares; place the foil squares, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Bake blind for 10 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool for 5 minutes in pans, then remove from pans and place on a baking tray. Using a fork to remove some of the liquid, transfer strawberry mixture into pastry cases and set aside*.
For Italian meringue, combine sugars and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and cook until syrup reaches 115°C/239°F on a sugar thermometer, then remove from heat. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, whisk egg white until soft peaks form, then, with motor running, slowly add hot syrup and whisk for 5 minutes. Spoon meringue over strawberry filling, forming into peaks. Place pies under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes or until meringue is golden or use a blowtorch to brown meringue lightly.
* since this is a very moist filling, assemble the tarts as close as possible to serving them - the juices in the filling will make the pastry soggy
Note: If you’re unable to find pie pans of this measurement, use individual fluted tart cases instead (they’ll hold less filling).