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    John Whaite’s rhubarb & raspberry meringue pie

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    John Whaite’s rhubarb & raspberry meringue pie

    • Preparation time: 30 minutes + cooling
    • Cooking time: 30 minutes
    • Total time: 60 minutes + cooling

    Serves: 8

    Ingredients

    150g plain flour
    100g unsalted butter, cold and diced
    ½ tsp salt
    2 tbsp caster sugar
    45g whole milk
    1 tsp white wine vinegar
    Baking beans, for blind baking

    For the rhubarb & raspberry curd:
    300g frozen raspberries, defrosted
    300g rhubarb, cut into 2cm chunks
    100g caster sugar
    75g unsalted butter, diced
    ½ vanilla pod
    2 British Blacktail Free Range Large Egg, yolks
    20g cornflour

    For the Swiss meringue:
    2 British Blacktail Free Range Large Egg, whites
    120g caster sugar
    Cooks’ Ingredient Freeze Dried Raspberries, to decorate
     

    Method

    1. Pastry using the Vitamix. Put the flour, butter, salt and sugar into the Vitamix jug and pulse to a crumb consistency. Add the milk and vinegar and pulse until the mixture starts to clump together in damp pebbly crumbs. Tip out onto the worktop and knead very briefly, just until the dough comes together into one ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in baking parchment and chill for at least an hour (overnight is best). Pastry by hand. Put the flour, butter, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl and rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers and thumbs, until well combined and you have a crumb consistency. Add the milk and vinegar and use a butter knife to cut through the contents of the bowl, turning the bowl around as you go, to combine the wet ingredients with the dry. When the mixture starts to clump together in damp pebbly crumbs, tip it out onto the worktop and knead very briefly, just until the dough comes together into one ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in baking parchment and chill for at least an hour (overnight is best).

    2. For the curd, put the raspberries and rhubarb into the Vitamix and blitz to a purée. Sift the mixture into a bowl, being sure to press every last drop of juice out of the fruits, then discard the pulp in the sieve.

    3. Put 250g of the juice into a medium-sized saucepan along with the butter, half the sugar and the vanilla seeds and pod. Set the pan over a medium-high heat. Put the remaining sugar and egg yolks into a mixing bowl and whisk together until the sugar dissolves. Add the cornflour and whisk together until completely incorporated. Once the contents of the pan come to a boil, pour them onto the egg mixture as you whisk constantly, ensuring everything is well combined. Tip the mixture back into the pan then return to a high heat and whisk constantly – do not stop whisking when the pan is on the heat – and be sure to cook the curd until it boils and is very thick. Remove the pan from the heat and taste the curd. If it still tastes of starch, it needs to be cooked more. Remove and discard the pod.

    4. Put the cooked curd into a bowl and cover the surface of the curd with scrunched, wet baking parchment to prevent a skin forming. You could place a disc of parchment to cover the surface instead. Allow to cool completely, then chill in the fridge.

    5. Roll out the pastry to 3mm thick, then line a 20cm fluted tart tin with the pastry, being sure to press it into the corners and grooves of the tin. Trim off the excess pastry, prick the base of the with a fork, then chill for 30 minutes.

    6. Preheat the oven to 200oC, gas mark 6. Line the pastry with a piece of baking paper – scrunch the paper up into a ball, then unwrap it to line the pastry. Fill the baking paper with rice, ensuring the pastry case is completely filled to the top. Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully remove the rice and baking paper, then return the pastry case to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes, until golden brown and baked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.

    7. Once the pastry case has cooled, remove it from the tart tin and set it on a plate or cake stand. Beat the curd to slacken it then spoon it into the pastry case and level out. Chill for 15 minutes, while you make the meringue.

    8. Put the egg whites and sugar into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir with a whisk, being sure to keep stirring while the bowl is over the heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, the egg white becomes very runny, and the mixture reads 75oC on a thermometer. Remove the bowl from the pan, wiping the base of the bowl to remove condensation drips, then whisk on full speed with a handheld electric mixer until you have a very glossy and stiff meringue.

    9. Dollop the meringue onto the tart and decorate with a palette knife however you like. Finish with a blowtorch to give even more detail. And decorate with the freeze-dried raspberries.
     

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    Cook’s tip

    Any leftover juice can be sweetened with sugar and used as a syrup in cocktails or spooned over ice cream.

     

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