I don’t know about you but sometimes after a big Sunday dinner, the thought of eating a stodgy pudding seems like a somewhat overwhelming task. Which had me thinking… with Christmas coming up a quick and easy dessert that’s light on the stomach, and won’t have your oven out of action for a long time, would be highly valuable. That’s where my Cranberry and Orange Meringue Pie comes in. I know it looks like it might be kinda tough to make but if you follow my instructions carefully you’ll be cracking this showstopping dessert out in no time – and most importantly all the family can enjoy it too. Don’t worry it won’t take forever to make, a large part of the prep time is simply resting the dough, and it will certainly bring something different but amazingly delicious to the table.
Buttery orange shortcrust pastry meets a tart cranberry and orange filling spiced with ginger and a hint of orange blossom, all topped with a silky meringue. My Cranberry and Orange Meringue Pie is a sure fire Christmas winner.
Recently the wonderful people of Kenwood World approached me asking if I would like to create a recipe using their Kenwood Chef Elite KVC5100S stand mixer. Now I don’t usually work for free but turning down a premium piece of kit would have just been super silly in my opinion! In fact, I’m really glad that I didn’t turn them down because boy has this baby performed. I actually own a KitchenAid so this was a fab chance to see if Kenwood could live up to it in all its wondrous glory. I wanted to give it a real run for its money so I thought this recipe would be perfect to put it to the test. I used the K-Beater for the pastry dough, I’m usually a lazy food processor gal (shame on me, I know) but you can now call me a convert. I will never pop my pastry dough in the chopper again. I was really impressed with how it beat my frozen butter and flours into a gorgeously smooth dough in a matter of minutes. The balloon whisk was equally as impressive and left me with the silkiest meringue ever – not a grain of sugar in sight! My favourite feature on the Chef Elite was actually the splatter guard which outperformed the KitchenAid in every way as I usually have to drape 2 large towels over the top to prevent an explosion of sugar flying into my face. The Chef Elite guard actually slides and clicks into place rather than sitting on top, and it also has a little flap you can close once you’ve stopped pouring your ingredients in.
So if you’re looking for a good Christmas present for an avid baker I’d highly recommend purchasing one soon as they’ve got a whopping 30% off marking it down from £469.98 to £328.99. That’s honestly a real bargain considering the latest KitchenAid sits at around the £500 mark. I’ve not found any faults with this model at all, my only complaint is that’s it’s slightly bulkier and takes up a little more kitchen space but, it’s a lot more user-friendly in my opinion and offers all of the same add-ons (food processor, pasta maker, juicer, etc.) and a few extra functions such as a pulse or fold mode which is super handy. So if you’re interested just click here to take a mosey and make someone’s Christmas! (And no, sadly for me, I’m not on any commission for providing you with this lovely info!)
The vegan meringue is made from aquafaba (chickpea juice – ewww I know!) and is super easy to make. It’s not really much different from the traditional stuff, with regards to taste and texture, plus you don’t run the risk of overbeating your eggs
Aaaaaanyway… back to the PIE! This Cranberry and Orange Meringue Pie has my little Christmas twist on a Lemon Meringue Pie – buttery shortcrust pastry, a tart cranberry and orange filling spiced with ginger and a hint of orange blossom, all topped off with a dreamy, fluffy meringue. Now, if you’re not vegan then you might find this filling a little different to the traditional curd – it’s kind of a cross between a curd and a jelly, and sort of reminds me of a jam tart in some ways, this is because I’ve used a combination of arrowroot starch and agar agar powder.
The vegan meringue is made from aquafaba (chickpea juice – ewww I know!) and is super easy to make. It’s not really much different from the traditional stuff, with regards to taste and texture, plus you don’t run the risk of overbeating your eggs as aquafaba has a completely different protein structure. It’s literally foolproof to make and totally stress-free. It’s worth taking note that most people reduce their aquafaba until it reaches the consistency of egg whites, however, I like to throw in some xanthan gum to act as an instant thickener. If you really struggle with gums though, then pop your aquafaba on a low heat and reduce until thickened the night before. Leave to cool and then transfer to an airtight container within the fridge. I have found that chilled aquafaba is far better to work with and yields a smoother result.
Although I’ve used raw cane sugar in my meringue you can use a 1:1 ratio of any sugar you see fit to a sweetener such as erythritol or xylitol. I used raw cane sugar purely for appearance but a combination of both maple sugar and erythritol would work well on the aesthetics front. I would not, however, recommend using stevia as this is likely to impart too much bitterness and that’s not a good thing when your filling is packed full of cranberries. If you’re also allergic to nuts then please do feel free to switch out the ground almonds in the pastry for cassava flour, you might just end up using a little more orange juice as it’s a bit more absorbent so keep an extra orange handy just in case! If like me, you didn’t have time to bake your meringue then you can simply give it a blast with a chef’s blowtorch – I picked up this one on Amazon for about £10. It doesn’t come with the gas though so just make sure you buy a little canister of lighter fluid with the correct adapter on it.
Enough of my food geekery ramblings – check out the recipe for my beautiful Cranberry and Orange Meringue Pie below…
- 150g almond flour/ground almonds (or cassava flour)
- 100g arrowroot flour
- 125g raw grass-fed butter or coconut oil
- Juice 1 orange
- 250g fresh cranberries
- 2-4 tbsp water
- Juice of 2 large oranges
- Zest of 1 large orange
- 75g/1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 35g/1/4 cup arrowroot flour
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp agar agar powder
- ¼ cup coconut oil/butter
- ½-1 tsp orange blossom water
- 260g/1¼ cup raw cane sugar
- ⅔ cup organic aquafaba (chickpea juice from 1 tin/carton)
- ¾ tsp xanthan gum
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- In a small mixing bowl sieve in your flours and salt. Chop your butter (or coconut oil) into small cubes and throw in. 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 30 minutes. This is what makes your pastry lovely and light and crumbly texture. Freshly squeeze your orange juice and pop that into the fridge to chill until needed.
- Remove your flour and butter bowl from the freezer and pour into your stand mixer and attach a standard beater. Process on the lowest setting and work up to the 2nd speed. Gradually pour in your chilled orange juice until the dough comes together into small oat like sized balls. You won't need all of your juice - you want to use just enough for it to only just form the beginnings of a dough ball. Remove the pastry from the mixer and form by hand into a ball. Cover with cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 45 minutes.
- Whilst your dough is resting in the fridge begin preparing your cranberry purée for the filling. Add the cranberries and water to a medium-sized heavy bottomed pan. Cook on a medium heat until you can crush the berries with the back of your spoon. Start with 2 tbsp of water, however, if you feel that the cranberries are too absorbent then add a couple more. Push the cranberries 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 your 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/9in, 3cm/1¼in deep) until nice and even and with a slightly thicker crust around the edges. Prick it with a fork for a few times and then place your pie crust into the freezer for 10 minutes until firm.
- Remove your pie crust from the freezer, line with a little baking parchment, pour in some 'baking beans', and pop it onto the middle shelf of the oven to blind bake for 10 minutes until the pastry begins to look dry and sort of 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 your 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, 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 cranberry purée, orange juice, orange zest, coconut sugar, arrowroot flour, ground ginger, and agar agar powder into a medium sized pan. Whisk together until smooth and place over a low heat. Whisk continuously until thickened but still pourable. Remove from the heat and stir in your coconut oil and orange blossom water.
- 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. Best served chilled.
*All cup measurements used are UK cup measurements and so 1 cup = 250ml.