On my run yesterday, I kept seeing the beautiful colour purple. From the wisteria, growing up the Victorian houses front to the lilacs spreading blooms on the pavements. I immediately thought, I needed to create something purple today.
Turned out I had received some blueberry at the weekend. The classic use for blueberry is often to add them to some muffins, or to complete a sponge cake. But I wanted something different, which would highlight the blueberry’s natural rich purple colour.
I also knew I had some leftover sweet pastry in my freezer, and some egg whites to use – you understand now how I create my recipes, I look into what I already have, and build around that – so blueberry meringue pie it was.
A few tips:
- For the blueberry curd: Don’t hesitate to cook it for a good 5 to 7 minutes, as you want the eggs to be fully cooked. Also, if you have the time, keep the crud to set overnight for guaranteed success.
- For the Italian meringue: Prepare the egg whites at room temperature with a pinch of salt, at the same time as making the syrup. You’ll want to start whipping your eggs when the syrup starts to bubble. Don’t hesitate to whisk the meringue for as long as 5/7 min.
- For the pastry: Make sure you place the pastry in your freezer for 15min, to ensure it keeps in place whilst baking. We won’t be baking the tart again, which is why we cook it for so long here.
And finally, have fun! This recipe has a few elements, but they are all simple steps, with a few ingredients at the time. It is totally achievable for new bakers, just remember to follow each steps correctly, and don’t panic 🙂
Quantity: For 6
Utensils: Open bottom 6inches tin, 2 nozzles, 2 piping bags, electric mixer, spatula
For the pastry (you can also use shop bought to be quicker)
- 150g of plain flour
- 75g of salted butter
- 2 tbsp of caster sugar
- 1/2 egg
- 2 tbsp of cold water
For the blueberry curd
- 300g of blueberries
- 90g of caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 60g of butter
For the Italian meringue
- 80g of egg whites
- 180g of caster sugar
- 5 tbsp of water
- Make the pastry: Crumble (Press) the butter and the flour and sugar together in a bowl, using your cleaned fingers. To bring it together, add the egg and the cold water. Form a ball – I like to empty the pastry onto a worktop, and create the ball here – and flour well.
- Use a rolling pin to roll your pastry (3/4 mm thick) and place inside your tin. Use your fingers to press the pastry against the tin. Cut the top using a knife and use a fork to create some little holes at the bottom. Keep in the freezer for 15min.
- Blind bake the pastry: pre heat your oven at 180C (Fan oven). Cover the pastry with baking paper, and cover with dry beans (or rice if you don’t have beans) and cook for 15 to 18 minutes.
- Make the blueberry curd: Blitz the blueberries using a blender, or simply use a fork. Pour the blitz blueberries onto a pan, add the sugar, and start to heat up gently under medium heat. In an another bowl, whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt. Add a third of the hot blueberry to the eggs, and whisk well. Pour that mixture back to the pan. Heat up gently for 5 to 7 minutes, always slowly whisking, until the curd thickens. Finish the curb by adding the butter and wait until it melts fully. It will continue to thickens in the fridge.
- By this time, the pastry bake should be cooked. Remove the beans inside, and pour the just finished curd. Leave to cool at room temperature first and place covered in the fridge for at least 3h ( Overnight if you can).
- Make the Italian meringue: Place the egg whites and a pinch of salt into the bowl of an electric mixer (or a simple bowl if using hand held mixer). Pour the sugar and the water in a pan, and start to heat up gently for 2min to melt the sugar. Brings to high heat, and cook for 5min until it becomes syrupy. Start to whisk the egg whites at half of this time. Once the syrup is nice and bubbly, and the egg whites have reached soft peaks, keep the mixer on, and gently add the syrup. Continue to whisk for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meringue is nice and glossy (I compare the texture to some very soft butter).
- Pipe the meringue: You can skip the piping bag and just gently spread the meringue on top, for a more rustic look. Or fill up the pipping bags with the meringue, and pipe on top, alternating one piping bag to the other, to create a little tower.
- Optional: you can brown the top of the meringue using a blow torch, or by placing the tart under the grill of your oven, watching it every 30s!
- Decorate with blueberries and flowers.