Speculaas meringue pie

Speculaas meringue pie

 

I think I’m done with winter. Or the lack of a proper one anyway. You know, the kind with freezing temperatures and snow that lasts more than a couple of days. I’ve started to replace the candles in our house with fresh flowers, mostly tulips. I let my daughter pick a bunch the other day and she went for a multicoloured bouquet and called them “her rainbow tulips”.

Next week is Valentine’s Day and last year I made these yummy truffles at the very last minute because we hadn’t planned anything. Plus, we’re never sure how to celebrate because P. has his birthday 2 days later. The trend in our house seems to be to keep Valentine’s simple (think sofa, movie, snacks) and then P.’s birthday gets a bit more attention (family breakfast, cake, babysitter, dining out).

Tulip in full bloom

This Speculaas meringue pie also seems to be a trend because I’m pretty sure I made it for his birthday last year. The base is crunchy and caramely. The filling creamy and full of vanilla. The top is his favourite: meringue, in any shape or form. I’ve made this with a french meringue before but this year I wanted to try Swiss meringue. Either way, the result is delicious and the pie will be gone before you know it (which is a good thing because it doesn’t do so well in the fridge). You can easily half this recipe and make a smaller version to share with your loved one if you’re celebrating Valentine’s this Sunday.

What’s the best thing your loved one has ever baked or cooked for you in an effort to impress? Did it work? Were you impressed?

Speculaas meringue pie up close

 Speculaas meringue pie

(serves 8)

Ingredients:

For the base:

200g speculaas cookies (biscoff)

80g butter

For the filling:

500ml milk

50g flour

100g sugar

2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg

seeds of 1/2 a vanilla pod

For the meringue:

2 egg whites

80g sugar

Method:

  1. Make the pie crust first.  Put the cookies in a food processor and whizz until you are left with fine crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor you can put the cookies in a large freezer bag and use a rolling pin to crush them. It’s important to not have any big cookie lumps left.
  2. Now, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then add the butter to the cookie crumbs and mix thoroughly. Press the mixture into a springform or loose bottomed pie dish. Make sure the base is level (it doesn’t need to go up the sides) and use the back of a spoon to really press down the crumb mixture. You don’t need to bother greasing the tin/dish. Place the crust in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  3. Now, make the filling, which is a basic crème patisserie. In a bowl mix together the egg, egg yolks and sugar. You can do this in a standmixer or using a handmixer. The mixture needs to double in volume, become thick and turn a pale beige. This can take up to 10 minutes. Sift in the flour, add the vanilla seeds and mix for another minute or 2. In the meantime, heat the milk in a saucepan on medium heat until nearly boiling.
  4. Once the milk is hot, slowly add it to the egg-sugar mixture and mix on a very slow speed. Once everything has mixed, pour the contents of your bowl into the saucepan you just used and return to the heat. Use a simple whisk to gently whisk the mixture as it heats up and thickens. This can take 10 minutes or longer depending on your hob. When the mixture is thick enough, pour it into a heatproof bowl and cover the actual crème (not the bowl) with clingfilm and let it cool completely.
  5. When the crème has cooled, it’s time to make the meringue. If you want to make a french meringue, use this method and make the circle slightly smaller than your crust size. For the Swiss meringue, mix the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl using a handmixer until just combined.
  6. Fill a saucepan with about 3 cm of water and heat until it simmers. Then, place the bowl with the egg whites and sugar on top and use your electric handmixer to continue whipping the mixture. The heat from the simmering water will melt the sugar and once this is done and your egg whites have formed stiff peaks, take the bowl off the pan. Continue to whip with your handmixer until the meringue is stiff and glossy and back to room temperature.
  7. It’s time to assemble the pie. Take the crust out of the fridge. Spoon or pipe the crème patisserie on top to about half a cm from the crust edge. Then pipe the meringue on top and use a knife to create some texture if you like.
  8. If you have a blow torch in your kitchen, you can use it to give the tops of the meringue some colour. I stuck the pie under the grill for a minute or two. Or, you can leave the meringue as it is.
  9. Carefully, remove the pie from the tin and serve the same day. This pie does not keep well in the fridge.

ENJOY!!

Blooming tulip

 

Crustless rice pudding pie – Rijsttaart

Rijsttaart

Do your holidays creep up on you without you realising it? Or do you patiently count down the days until you lock your front door not planning to open it again for at least a week?

Summer is here and a couple of months ago we finally decided on our holiday plans. We knew we were going to be going to Belgium to spend time with family and friends. But what about our own family holiday. P., the kids and I. Where were we going to go? What were we going to do? After we decided it seemed like we still had so much time to get other stuff sorted before we had to pack our bags.

And so here we are today. Friday afternoon. My last Friday at my desk before some well deserved rest, with a to-do list the length of my arm. I’ll get it done, I always do, but this final sprint before the finish? Not my thing. I like to jog…

When I finally do close this laptop in a few hours, I will use my walk home to lose the “work-me” and find the “ME-me”. I will then sit down with husband-to-be and kids, a large cup of tea and a slice of rice pudding pie. Why this pie? Because it reminds me of Belgium which is where I will spend most of July. It’s not the traditional Flemish rice pudding pie as it doesn’t have a pie crust. But then again, we are not a traditional Belgian family so it’s kind of fitting don’t you think?

rijsttaart or crustless rice pudding pie

Crustless rice pudding pie

(serves 8)

Ingredients:

250ml / 1 cup milk

2 eggs, yolks and whites separated

112g / 1/2 cup of sugar

75g flour / 1/2 cup of flour

1 tsp baking powder

200g / 3/4 cup of rice pudding (use home-made or shop-bought)

1 tbsp vanilla sugar

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C / 350 degrees F

2. Butter a pie pan with a 25cm / 9 inch diameter.

3. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Then add the milk, rice pudding, flour and baking powder.

4. In a second bowl, use a hand- or standmixer to whisk the egg whites and vanilla sugar until it forms soft peaks.

5. Fold the egg whites into the batter. It is a very runny mixture. Liquid-like.

6. Pour into the pie pan and carefully place in the middle of the oven.

7. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Check with a skewer that the pie has set. The top will be a lovely golden brown.

8. Switch off the oven and leave the pie inside for another 5-10 minutes.

9. Take the pie out of the oven and let it cool inside the pan.

10. Serve on its own or with some whipped cream.

ENJOY!

 Slice of crustless rice pudding pie

Strawberry and cream cheese pie

Purple Lilac flowers

Dear Gilbert Blythe,

I first met you when I was 13. I thought you were the handsomest young man I had ever seen. You had such lovely dark hair and the way you looked with those expressive, brown eyes made my heart skip a beat. Anne was very fortunate you waited for her to come to her senses.

I dreamed that one day, I too would find my kindred spirit the way Anne found you. Some one who would love me and all my weirdness and wonderfulness. Some one who would understand that writing is of great importance to me. Some one who would never give up on me.

Dear Gilbert, I have found that man and in less than 6 months I will marry him. I hope you’ll be happy for me. But don’t worry, I won’t forget you.

I recently took a trip down memory lane and  visited Avonlea. I saw Diana, Marilla and Rachel. I had a cup of tea with Mrs Harris and Pauline. I saw all the beautiful colours of spring and the vast fields around Green Gables. And then I had an idea. I thought, why not have a picnic? Why not sit outside and drink up the sweet smelling blossoms around me? Why not throw some blankets on the green grass under a cherry blossom tree and sit with good friends? We could talk about the good old times. How I cried when Matthew died. Or laughed when Anne got Diana drunk.

I visited a lot of places when I was a young girl and met a lot of people. But Avonlea, Anne and you will always be special to me. I will come and visit now and again and I hope you will allow me to bring my daughter and son along when they are a bit older. I think there will come a time when my children will need to visit your pretty corner of Prince Edward Island and learn about kindred spirits, friendship and love.

Dear Gilbert, lets go and have that picnic now. I brought strawberry cream cheese pie. You’ll love it. I’m sure of that.

Love always,

A.

Slice of strawberry cream cheese cake on person's lap

(I read the Anne of Green Gables books when I was a young teenage girl. I fell in love with the TV version by Kevin Sullivan even though it was different from the book in many parts. When I heard that the actor Jonathan Crombie died on 15.04.2015 I watched the whole series again. As before, the people and the places took my breath away. Few things I read as a teenager still have an affect on me. Anne of Green Gables is an exception.) 

strawberries

Strawberry cream cheese pie

(Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

220g flour

90g sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

180g browned butter (see Joy the Baker’s tutorial on how to make this)

175g full fat cream cheese

1 egg

50g sugar

1 tsp vanilla sugar

200g fresh, sweet and juicy strawberries

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C.

2. Make the crust by mixing the flour, 90g of sugar, baking powder and browned butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

3. Use your hands (careful, the pastry might still be warm because of the butter) to press the pastry in a lined square cake tin (26x20cm). Make sure it goes up the sides by about 2cm. Put aside.

4. In a second bowl, use a whisk to mix the cream cheese, egg, remaining sugars and 3 squashed strawberries (just use your hands).

5. Pour the mixture in the pastry.

6. Cut the remaining strawberries in halves or quarters and randomly place them on top of the mixture.

7. Bake for 30min. Once baked, let the pie cool completely before attempting to cut it. If you want to take it out of the tin completely, make sure you used baking paper to line the tin. You will be able to carefully lift the pie out that way.

Enjoy!

Picknick of strawberry cream cheese pie

Green foliage of a tree

slice of strawberry cream cheese pie

 used knife

spring leaves on a twig

Lemon and raspberry meringue pie

lemon raspberry meringue pie with chocolate decoration

Let’s talk about inspiration for a minute. Where do you get yours? Are you a Pinterest addict with one too many pins on white-grey living room deco? Or do you search books and magazines for quotes that will help you achieve a goal when you need a little bit of extra oomph? You can find inspiration anywhere. You don’t even have to look that hard. Just look around you. If you already knew this it’s worth taking the time to really emphasise it. If not by yourself, by some complete stranger (which is what happened to me…).

lemons raspberries yellow flowers

Last weekend I attended the Hive, a gathering of digital storytellers, tastemakers and bloggers. I am still new to blogging so I have lots of moments where I think to myself: Am I good enough? Am I different enough to stand out? Am I sharing something worthwhile? And here’s the answer: yes, yes, YES! I listened to some very inspirational people. I absolutely loved the fabulous woman behind My Scandinavian Home who reminded us that we are all unique and we need to “be your own kind of beautiful”. I was also very much taken by Chelsea who is the beautiful brains behind Frolic!. She emphasised the importance of being happy in what you do and to know that you will never be able to please everyone. I also had the privilege to watch and listen to Dietlind Wolf who is the most amazing woman. Her styling and photographs are something so beautiful I can’t pull myself away from her blog.

yellow flowers white vase

Where is this leading?

While you, my dearest reader, have been reading this blogpost in search of a lemon and raspberry meringue pie, I’ve had the opportunity to be that complete stranger who has just reminded you of how brilliant, unique and full of inspiration you are.

close up raspberries lemon curd

And now go and make this fabulous pie!

 

Lemon and raspberry meringue pie

Inspired by the Hive’s yellow and pink colour theme

(Serves 8)

For the meringue:

3 egg whites

170g sugar

1 tbsp vanilla sugar

For the lemon curd:

3 egg yolks

60ml fresh lemon juice, strained to remove any pits or pulp (about 2 small lemons)

6 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp cold butter in cubes

For the finishing touches:

250g fresh raspberries

Method:

Start by making the meringue. It takes a while so if you prefer a dry meringue you’ll need to start a good while before you plan to eat the pie. You can make the meringue the night before and let it cool in the oven overnight. Or make it in the morning and leave it to cool in the oven during the day if you plan to eat it in the evening. If you prefer a wet meringue you’ll only need to plan for 2-3 hours total time from start to finish (most of that is the meringue baking so you won’t be in the kitchen for 2-3 hours straight).

1. Preheat your oven to 100 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and mark a circle the size of a plate.

2.In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or hand mixer) whip the egg whites until very soft peaks form. Then add the sugar a tablespoon at the time. Make sure you leave some time in between spoonfuls so the sugar has time to “dissolve”. The meringue is done when you can’t feel anymore sugar grains when you rub some of the mixture between your fingers. And when it is stiff and glossy.

3. Using a piping bag, spoon or spatula, shape the meringue into a thin circle as marked on your baking paper (about 2-3cm/1 inch thick). Smooth out the top. You want it to look like a disk.

4. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. Then take out the meringue and let it cool on a wire rack. When cool, carefully peel off the baking paper. Or turn off the oven and leave to cool inside as mentioned above.

Make the lemon curd while the meringue is baking. You can let it cool and store for later. 

1. In a saucepan on medium-low heat, mix the egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice. Keep whisking as it heats up and simmers.

2. Whisk as the curd simmers and thickens. Depending on your hob, this will take between 10-15minutes.

3. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter until melted.

4. Pour the curd in a clean jar and let it cool. It will thicken even more as it gets colder. Close the jar and put it in the fridge until you need it. But remember to take it out leaving enough time to let it adjust to room temperature.

Putting it all together:

Put the meringue on a flat plate or cake stand. Spoon on the lemon curd and spread it out. Don’t go all the way to the edge. Then place the raspberries on top.

lemon raspberry meringue pie with chocolate decoration top view

This is not just any lemon and raspberry meringue pie, it’s my Hive lemon and raspberry meringue pie. Let me know what you think. Does it look good? Did it meet your sweetness needs?

Meringue lemon curd raspberry pie

ENJOY!

chocolate Hive 15 decoration

Chocolate Hive15

yellow flower

Yellow

lemon raspberry meringue pie photo shoot set

In the end, this is real life.