I turned 25 on Wednesday. While I’m not much one for going off the rails or getting wild, I did spend a whole day baking stuff, which could certainly be viewed as a sign of a quarter life crisis. I made a polenta cake, party rings, an elaborate bread (watch this space), brownies and a pizza cake. And, of course, this: the Mango Meringue Pie. It was the sweetest, the sickliest and the very best.
I really love mango. I put that shit in salads and in stir fry and generally in my face at any opportunity. Recently, when I was at a music festival, I nipped out of the festival grounds to a local village and bought a wee pot of mango. Amidst the heavy, hearty festival food it was heaven. I sat and ate it in the door of my tent, and some high guy came, sat with me, and just started eating the mango. When he took the last bit I was more quietly filled with violent rage than ever before in my life. So, yeah. Mango – I love it. When I randomly saw something on pinterest about mango curd I knew exactly what I needed to do. This recipe for mango curd is the product of about an hour of internet research of different curds and weights and such.
My love of the sweet, stickiness of mango is rivalled only by my love of the kitchen blowtorch. Those of you who know me in real life may feel a real sense of fear descend upon you when you learn I own a blowtorch, but own a blowtorch I do, and I wield it with glee. I’ve made meringue a few times and creme bruleed a rice pudding into submission, though I do mostly use it to melt mozzarella onto bruschetta (or cheese onto anything). But the discovery of mango curd meant it was time to venture back to meringue. Also because blowtorch. This meringue recipe is this one. The pastry – just to make sure I properly attribute – is from James Morton’s brilliant bible of a cookbook How Baking Works, but with a zesty twist.
Meringue pie looks impressive – a perfect pile up of pastry, curd and meringue – and so it seemed ideal that I would make this for my birthday – a proper decadent, ostentatious show off of a thing to celebrate my quarter century of existence (which has been the exact opposite of decadent and ostentatious, given that I made my own cakes and watched GBBO).
- 2 big mangoes
- 160g unsalted butter
- Juice of 1 lime
- 160g caster sugar
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 125g unsalted butter
- 75g icing sugar
- 1 egg
- A dash of vanilla extract
- 250g plain flour
- Zest of 1 lime
- 4 egg whites
- 140ml water
- 250g caster sugar
- Start by dealing with your mangoes - peel them, and cut out the stones, then roughly chop the flesh. You should have about 2 cups of mango flesh. Puree it in a blender or food processor until smooth (mine was a bit lumpy, and still fine, because my blender is terrible).
- Make the mango curd. Boil a bit of water in a pan, then place a heatproof bowl over it to make a ban marie (don't let the bowl touch the water). Leave the pan over a low-medium heat. Put the butter in the pan and melt.
- When it has just melted but is not yet *hot*, add in the lime juice, caster sugar, eggs and mango pulp. Cook, continually stirring, for 8 - 10 minutes, until thick. It should coat the back of a spoon. When it's thickened up, cover it with cling film (to stop a skin forming), then put it in the fridge.
- Pastry time! Weigh out the butter and icing sugar and beat them together until they form a smooth, pale paste. Chuck in the egg and vanilla and beat in. Mix in the flour and lime zest (don't overdo it!), then form into a dough, using your hands if necessary. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180C. When your pastry has chilled, roll it out to be about the thickness of a £1 coin. Grease a 23cm tart tin, then place the pastry into the tin, with a cm or so of dough hanging over the rim. You can use a small piece of dough to press it into the corner. Prick the pastry all over with a fork. I made this on a VERY hot day - if you are doing similar, place the tin in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Place some baking paper over your pastry, then fill with rice or baking beans. Put in the oven and bake for 15 mins, then remove paper and baking beans and bake for 15 mins more, or until golden brown. While it's still hot, trim off the excess pastry. Set aside to cool.
- When your pastry has cooled, pour in the mango curd and spread evenly. Return to the fridge.
- Make the meringue. In a stand mixer (a hand one is fine if that's what you have, but be careful), put the egg whites in the bowl and mix on high heat until it forms stiff peaks.
- While the meringue whips up, heat the water and sugar until just starting to boil. Once the meringue has reached soft peak stage, pour in the sugar syrup slowly while the mixer is still running. Leave to mix, until the bowl is cool and the meringue is glossy.
- Remove pie from fridge, pour on meringue. Drag a fork through it until it cover the pie and looks vaguely attractive.
- Fire up your blowtorch and torch the meringue until it browns a little. It will look lovely.