Lemon Berry Meringue (the party in a pie)

berry lemon meringue pie || cityhippyfarmgirl

Let’s cut to the chase with this.

Lemon Meringue Pie is the best dessert in the world.

The end.

Well, perhaps just a touch more. It has to be lemony, and tarty (and just quietly, a generous serving.)

I’ve been slowly building on my lemon meringue pies over the years and have accepted the fact that come birthday time, it’s a little meringue something that is to be made for the celebratory affair.

As the day in question was going to be a day that fell in the middle of the week with rather a lot of ‘normal’ things going on around it, I took it upon myself to create my own party in a pie shell.

As I’ve said before, I love, making my own birthday cake (or pie) as it happens. It means I get to make whatever I want and however I want. That is indeed a wonderful thing when I usually make things to cater for other people’s taste buds all year long.

This year there was no tweaking of last years recipe except for creating more “bling” up top in the form of flowers and berries. Sometimes it can just be ridiculously fun to, well, play with your food. (Even when your Italian Meringue doesn’t behave as it should and becomes the smooth oozy type. Yep, you just roll with it… keep playing.)

italian meringue || cityhippyfarmgirl

berry lemon meringue pie || cityhippyfarmgirl

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Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe can be found here.

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Raspberry Bakewell Tart

Raspberry Bakewell Tart easy recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

I’ll admit, there was a small evil mother moment pause in the kitchen that particular morning. It was brief, and the thought process went pretty much like this.

I love bitter almond aroma, it would go perfectly in this tart…

…they all hate bitter almond aroma*

Oh!… And there you have it.

The rather large option of an entire tart to yourself because you put something in there (which is delicious and wonderful and makes your mouth sing) or…you could omit it because you are a considerate mother and probably shouldn’t be eating a whole family sized tart to yourself anyway.

Ahh, the dilemmas…

Raspberry Bakewell Tart recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

raspberry bakewell recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

How about you? Do ever have these kitchen conversations with yourself? What would you have done?

* bitter almond aroma is this stuff here if you aren’t sure

Raspberry Bakewell Tart

Pastry

150g cold butter

50g sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

300g plain flour

1 tbls cold water

In a blender, pulse flour, sugar and butter until resembles bread crumbs. Tip out to a bowl and add vanilla, egg yolk and cold water. Knead lightly until it comes together to form a dough. Roll dough between two pieces of baking paper, to about .5cm and rest in the fridge for about half an hour. Shape into your greased tart tray.

Bake blind at 180C for about 15 minutes.

Filling

150g softened butter

150g raw sugar

150g almond meal

3 beaten eggs

zest of a lemon

optional bitter almond aroma

approximately 125g fresh raspberries

handful of almond flakes

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, except the raspberries and almond flakes. Gently fold through the raspberries and spoon mixture into pastry lined pie dish. Scatter the almond flakes on top and bake for about 45 minutes at 180C or until golden.

birthday thinking and a berry meringue tart

I’ve just celebrated another birthday rolling around. Time spent with lovely people, delicious food and lots of happy moments.

I’ve also been thinking of another that is no longer here.

Thinking of my grandfather who left me with a head full of happy memories, that I frequently bring out and go through. Flicking through those memories like a well worn scrap book, with mental scribbles, loved pictures and happy moments.

Ours was a shared birthday. It was always such a special feeling knowing that our birthday was on the same day. Giving me a loving connection with the grandfather I adored.

A man, who to me always smelt like smoked apple wood, and occasionally raw onions as he loved them on sandwiches.

He had a sweet tooth for certain things, introducing me to sugar coated jubes that would get soft and squishy in the car. There were scoops of vanilla icecream with spoonfuls of his home made jam on top. He also knew answers to more trivia questions than I could ever hope to know in a lifetime. Answers would roll off his tongue like a well rehearsed dialogue. No pause for thought as the reply seemed so easily retrieved.

Big boxes of locally grown apples would be brought by him when ever he came to visit, followed by bulging jars of loose change to be carefully counted and divided amongst the grandchildren. Counting was always my job, as I was the eldest. Every cent was divided up and then we could spend it in any way we wanted.

He was there when I first rode my bike. He was also there, teaching me to dive in the pool during summer. Tuck the feet in, tuck the feet in…

We would go to visit and on his arriving home after a long day, we would hear the sounds of his footsteps coming up the stairs.

Clomp, clomp, clomp

The stairs always lasted forever as he continued stepping on the same few top stairs, making it sound like they were ten stories high. Building up the excitement, my siblings and I giggling with anticipation of him being so close. Long squashed hugs would follow, as we would all scramble for his attention.

In his last year, while he was sick, I got to tell him that I had met the man I was going to marry. This comforts me in a funny kind of way. Even though he didn’t get to be at my wedding or get to know any of his great grandchildren, he at least got a glimpse of the path I was about to head down. A path, I think that would have made him incredibly happy.

As long as I have these special memories and a hundred others, he will always be with me. Not mourned over for his loss, or the unfairness of a life taken away too soon but celebrating in the life that he did have. A life that I got to share a little part of, which I’m incredibly grateful for those years, and those birthdays we did get to share together.

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…and I also think he would have quite liked a slice of this birthday berry tart.

Drawing from  my last years ‘a rather tall birthday cake‘ and also inspired by a gorgeous recipe from Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie does…cookbook‘. This little number was the result.

Berry Meringue Tart

Pastry (recipe here) base can be cooked the day before. Pastry pricked all over and then baked blind for 20 minutes at 180C in a greased tart pan (the kind that pops out is good) and then a further 10 minutes uncovered. Pastry should be crisp and golden.

Meringue (recipe here) clusters baked on a tray at 130C until crisp all over, this will take an hour plus. (I used 4 egg whites/220g sugar.)

Mascarpone vanilla bean cream. Whip 300mls cream to soft peaks, then add 1/2 cup icing sugar and one scraped vanilla bean pod. Add 250g mascarpone and gently whip again until mixed through.

Berries- strawberries, blueberries and cherries.

Smooth out several spoonfuls of the mascarpone mixture on to the base of the cooked pastry. This will help the meringue stick a little. Break the meringue up and build a decent sized layer, Spoon the remainder of the mascarpone mixture all over, filling in any meringue holes and then cover with your favourite berries. Dust with a little icing sugar.

a rather tall birthday cake

Birthday cake. It’s funny how as I’ve gotten older my taste buds have changed. No more would dry old chocolate cake with chocolate icing do for my birthday. As a kid though, you couldn’t hold me back. There would be months of mental planning of what type of cake to ask mum to make for me. Much flicking through the always dependable Womens Weekly cookbooks. There were so many things to be considered, it was the one day of the year where you could pick what ever you wanted to eat, followed by what ever cake you desired. For a couple of years running I quite liked a chocolate cake with lemon icing. Nothing flash, just slapped on and a couple of candles. Yes please…

Now though. I’m a little over chocolate cake. I still have to make them for Mr Chocolate (obviously) and the The Monkeys are rather keen too. However for my own, I wanted to play with something different. I still ponder for far too long on what cake to make, (but that’s half the fun isn’t it? The pondering and the wondering?) I had the image in my head, and I think I had the right sort of taste on my tongue. Now I just had to get it to work…

A rather tall birthday cake

 

Three layers of meringue

9 egg whites

500 gms sugar

In a mixer beat egg whites until they are stiff and then slowly add sugar in small amounts. Mixture should become stiff, sugar disolved, with lovely peaks. On some parchment paper lay 3 disks of meringue. Large, medium and small. The smaller one with peaks and the other two, flattened. Now bake at 120C for approx 1hour 45 minutes. Allow to cool.

Creamy mixture in between…

250gms mascarpone

300mls cream

1 tps rose water

scraping of 1 vanilla pod

1 tps vanilla extract (you might not need it, depends on your vanilla pod.)

1/2 cup sugar

In bowl add mascarpone, scrapped vanilla pod, rose water, sugar and whip. In a seperate bowl whip the cream up and then carefully fold through the mascarpone mixture.

Blueberries and Strawberries…

Time to get those layers happening. Meringue, mascarpone, berries, and then again. With the peaked meringue at the top.

Verdict?…Actually pretty good. I still love the combination of mascarpone and vanilla, I’ve used it a few times now and I think there just may be a few more times to come. The meringue, I hadn’t made before, but it was actually pretty fun to make. I really like the fact that it is so light, and the berries were just a good addition. A contrasting fresh flavour with the sweetness of the other two.

An easy cake that speaks of summer.

So will I be making it again? Yes, I think I just might.