A couple of years ago, I made a super fun Cranberry and Orange Meringue Pie for Christmas, which was such a hit, and recently I’ve been craving something similar. Now, I just so happen to have been given the opportunity to create something fun and festive using both the Professional Peeler and their new Master Series Zester Grater from Microplane International, which they so very kindly gifted to me (scroll down for a chance to win them both). With the weather being practically baltic I’ve been cooking up seasonal fruits and serving them with warm spice blends – it’s been really hitting the spot. So, I thought to myself, why not make a Chai Pear and Orange Meringue Pie whilst putting my new Microplane goodies to the test?!
DISCLAIMER: Please note that this is a sponsored post. I was sent some wonderful goodies from Microplane International, and paid real money, to create a delicious recipe for you all. Any payment I receive I use to purchase more ingredients and equipment to keep this blog up and running, and most importantly to keep creating quality content for you all. I am not an affiliate of Microplane International and any purchases you make via them I will not be compensated for. I am not influenced by the company in any way and all opinions, ramblings, and thoughts are my own and 100% honest. If you’d like to know more, feel free to contact me.
Although I love eating, there’s one thing that I absolutely hate about this time of the year – cooking fruit (and root veg). Why? Because of all of that bladdy peeling, that’s why! Okay, this is probably my own fault because I’m all old school and use a paring knife, which both takes forever and makes me fear for my fingers a lot. But, I’m also not that into repetitive, monotonous tasks. So, naturally, I was pretty curious to see how Microplane’s Professional Peeler would fare.
If you’re looking for the perfect stocking filler for a culinary wizard then Microplane have you covered…
The handle is made of soft, non-slip rubber, its double blades are made of ultra-sharp stainless steel for super easy peeling, and there’s even a built-in potato eye remover. At first, I was a little worried about peeling my fingers because the blades are so sharp but much to my relief I found that they were actually quite well guarded. Once you get used to the amount of tension to use it’s an absolute doddle, and much easier than using a paring knife I have to say. It peeled those pears like they were made of butter and I’ve certainly had some fun using it – it makes peeling ridiculously easy.
The Master Series Zester Grater comes with a super sexy walnut wood handle and a protective storage cover so you don’t have to worry about little hands. It’s obviously not as grippy as a rubber handle but boy does it look gorgeous in my kitchen. The blades are made of ultra-sharp stainless steel, just like the Professional Peeler, but they’ve also been photo-etched meaning that by some engineering mastery (which I’m not even going to pretend to understand) the blades have been pushed upward to create the perfect cutting angle. This is Microplane’s signature and with over 50 years of experience, they pride themselves on creating graters fit not only for home kitchens but professional chefs’ too.
How well did Microplane’s brand new zester work? Well, with one gentle swipe of an orange I came away with a luscious amount of zest. I’m used to a more back and forth motion with my old zester but with Microplane, I had to use a whole new technique. A gentle stroke and move on to the next patch. If you grate at an angle the zest collects at the bottom of the zester and you can either scrape it out with a spoon or tap it out into a bowl or pan. It was a pretty mess-free process. Of course, you can still grate horizontally if you’re looking to decorate your dish with a sprinkle of something special. It’s the perfect tool for grating citrus fruits, hard cheeses, nutmeg, root ginger, truffles, and chocolate.
Buttery orange shortcrust pastry meets a chai spiced pear and orange filling, topped with a billowy toasted almond meringue. This Chai Pear and Orange Meringue Pie is a sure-fire Christmas winner.
Now that we know how amazing Microplane’s products are, how about the pie? Well, the base is a gorgeously buttery shortcrust pastry with a hint of orange, the filling is smooth like in a lemon meringue pie but ever so slightly more gelatinous, and the meringue is fluffy but toasted on the outside. I flavoured my meringue with a little almond extract because I think pear and almond go together perfectly but it’s not necessary.
If you’re looking to make this in advance it’s best to blind bake your crust, then fill with the filling and bake for 15 minutes then leave to cool completely, then wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator overnight. The next day you can whip up your meringue and either blow torch it or pop the pie back into the oven for 15 minutes to brown up the meringue. Personally I love a blow-torched finish as the meringue looks prettier and it’s a lot faster too. Sadly my blowtorch had run out of gas so the photos you can see are of baked meringue.
You can pipe your meringue or you can just dollop it on and swirl it around. I decided just to pipe a small portion of meringue onto the pie just so you could all see what the filling actually looked like. I prefer the dolloping on method as it’s a lot faster and relatively mess-free. If you’re not a fan of pear feel free to switch this to any other seasonal fruit – apples and plums would work really well in this! But anyway, if you want to whip up this delicious pie, scroll down for the recipe!
If you’re looking for the perfect stocking filler for a culinary wizard then Microplane have you covered. Love my pie? Then you’ll love my festive Mandarin Mulled Wine, Raw Vegan Boursin, or Mince Pies. Oh, and scroll down if you’d like the chance to win both of these amazing kitchen gadgets from Microplane International.
- 150g almond flour/ground almonds (or cassava flour)
- 100g arrowroot flour
- 125g raw grass-fed butter or coconut oil
- Juice ½ orange
- 365g firm pears (I used roughly 4 Rocha pears)
- ½ cup plus 2 tbsp water
- 35g/1/4 cup arrowroot flour
- Juice of 2 large oranges
- Zest of 1 large orange
- ⅓ cup light agave nectar/raw honey
- 1 tsp orange extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ¾-1 tsp ground cardamom (roughly 10-13 pods)
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp agar agar powder
- Pinch sea salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil/butter
- 130g/1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp raw cane sugar
- ⅓ cup organic aquafaba (chickpea juice from tin/carton)
- 1 tsp almond extract (optional)
- ⅜ tsp xanthan gum
- ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
- In a small mixing bowl sieve in your flours. Chop your butter into small cubes and throw in. If using coconut oil divide into small chunks using a teaspoon. Cover the bowl with cling film, give it a good shake until the butter is covered by the flour and then place into the freezer for 20 minutes. This is what makes your pastry lovely and light and crumbly. In the meantime freshly squeeze your orange juice and pop that into the fridge to chill until needed.
- Remove your flour and butter from the freezer and pour into your food processor. Process until it comes together into small oat like sized balls. Pulse in your orange juice by the tablespoon. It is not likely that you will require much more than half of it at - you just want to use enough for it to only just form the beginnings of a dough ball. Remove the pastry from the processor and form by hand into a ball. Cover in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Whilst your dough is resting in the fridge begin preparing your pear purée for the filling. Remove the stalks from your pears and using the Microplane Professional Peeler remove the peel from all of your pears. Slice into quarters and remove the core. Roughly dice your pears and add to a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pan along with your cold water. Cook on medium heat until you can crush the pears with the back of your spoon. If at any time the pan starts to dry out add another tablespoon of water and repeat if necessary. Push the pears through a fine-meshed sieve over a bowl. Throw away the pulp and set your purée to one side.
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and grease your pie tin. Remove the dough from the fridge and gently warm it between your palms and give it a little knead. Next 'knuckle in' the dough into your loose-based pie/tart tin (23cm/9", 3cm/1¼" deep) until nice and even and with a slightly thicker crust around the edges. Trim away any excess dough using a knife and prick the base with a fork several times. Place the pie crust into the freezer for 15 minutes until firm.
- Remove your pie crust from the freezer, line with a little baking parchment, pour in some 'baking beans', and place onto the middle shelf of the oven to blind bake for 10-15 minutes until the pastry begins to look dry and slightly pale. You want it to be almost baked but not quite. Remove the baking beans and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until fully cooked through. If it begins to brown too fast simply pop over some tin foil shiny side up.
- Whilst the pie case is cooking whip up your meringue topping. Divide your raw cane sugar into 2 equal halves, transfer one half into a high powered blender and using a milling blade, process until it begins to turn into an icing sugar-like consistency. Place your aquafaba, almond extract (if using), xanthan gum, and cream of tartar into your stand mixer and whisk on max speed until doubled in size and fluffy. Be sure to periodically scrape down the sides to incorporate all of the ingredients. Spoon in your powdered sugar first, spoon by spoon, followed by your granular cane sugar following the same method. Whisk until smooth and fluffy with stiff peaks. You shouldn't be able to feel any grittiness of the sugar when rubbing the mixture between your fingers. Place in the refrigerator whilst you prepare your filling.
- Place your pear purée and remaining filling ingredients, except for the coconut oil, into a medium-sized pan. Whisk together until smooth and place over low heat. Whisk continuously until thickened but still pourable. Remove from the heat and stir in your coconut oil.
- Remove your pie from the oven once baked and pour over your filling. Leave to cool for a few minutes before topping with the meringue and bake for a further 15-20 minutes until the meringue has browned. Remove from the oven and leave the pie to cool completely before removing from the tin. If you're in a rush, blow torch your meringue with a chef's blow torch.
Storage Instructions: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume within 3-4 days.
For a whiter meringue substitute ½-3/4 of your raw cane sugar with erythritol or xylitol.
If you're looking to make this in advance it's best to blind bake your crust, then fill with the filling and bake for 15 minutes then leave to cool completely, then wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator overnight. The next day you can whip up your meringue and either blow torch it or pop the pie back into the oven for 15 minutes to brown up the meringue.
*All cup measurements used are UK cup measurements and so 1 cup = 250ml.
**Preparation time includes 1-hour resting time for the dough.
Up For Grabs
One lucky winner will win the following:
- 1 x Microplane International Professional Peeler, RRP £19.95
- 1 x Microplane International Master Series Zester Grater, RRP £29.95
How to Enter:
- To enter the competition simply head on over to my Instagram page and give my Microplane post a like, tag a friend, and follow both @microplaneintl and @greensofthestoneage – this will give you 5 entries into the competition. You may only do this once. If you don’t complete these steps your entry will be disqualified!
For Additional Entry Points
To up your odds of winning:
- Sign-up to the Greens of the Stone Age Newsletter by filling in this form – this will give you 3 entries into the competition! Already signed up? No problem just follow this simple step – using the Rafflecopter giveaway widget below, select ‘Sign-up to my Newsletter’ and fill in your first name and e-mail address for verification purposes.
- Leave a comment using the comments box below telling me what you’ll be making if you win! This will give you 3 entries into the competition. You may only do this once.
- Visit (and follow if you’d like to) Microplane International on Facebook. You may only follow once but may visit once daily.
*Competition open to UK entrants only aged 18 and over. No purchase necessary.
** Competition opens 21:00 26th November 2019 to 00:00 3rd December 2019. (All times GMT.)
The Lucky Winner
- The lucky winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter’s software.
- The more entries into the competition, the higher the chance is that you will win.
- The lucky winner will be e-mailed within 48 hours of being picked to obtain their details and forward on to the Microplane International team, who will then arrange a suitable time to mail out your prize!