Gooseberry meringue pie (serves 6):
(Adapted from Diana Henry's 'Food From Plenty')
- 140g plain flour
- 80g cold butter, cubed
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- Cold water
- 750g gooseberries, topped and tailed
- 150g caster sugar (or more to taste)
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 egg whites
- 175g caster sugar
First, make the pastry. Put the flour, butter and salt into a food processor and blitz until it looks like breadcrumbs. Don't overprocess it as this will warm up the butter. Add the sugar and blitz again for a second, then gradually add enough cold water to make the mixture start to come together - around 1-2tbsp. Tip it out onto a floured work surface and press into a ball, then wrap this in clingfilm and chill for an hour or so.
Meanwhile, make the pie filling. Put the gooseberries in a pan with 2 tbsp water and the 150g caster sugar. Cover and heat gently, stirring occasionally. The gooseberries will release a lot of juice; some will turn to mush while others will keep their shape. When they are tender, strain through a sieve, reserving the liquid, then put the liquid back into the pan and simmer until there is around 200ml left.
Take 4tbsp of this gooseberry juice and mix with the cornflour, stirring vigorously to remove any lumps. When it forms a smooth paste, put this back into the juice in the saucepan and add the gooseberries. Bring to the boil and stir; the mixture will thicken. Turn off the heat, beat in the egg yolks, then pour into a bowl and leave to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 190C. Grease a 22-23cm tart tin with a removable base. On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry and use it to line the tart tin. Leave some pastry hanging over the edges so it doesn't shrink - you can trim these bits later when the pie is baked. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake for another 10 minutes, so it is golden and biscuity. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes, then use a knife to trim off any overhanging pastry from the edges.
Put the egg whites in a clean bowl and beat with an electric whisk to stiff peaks. Add a little of the 175g sugar, beat again, then add the rest of the sugar gradually while whisking, until the mixture has the appearance and consistency of shaving foam.
Pour the gooseberry mixture into the pastry case. Spoon the meringue evenly over the tart, covering the pastry edges and all of the filling. Put the oven temperature down to 180C and bake for 25 minutes, until the meringue is golden on top. Leave to cool on a wire rack, then remove the pie from the tin (the easiest way to do this is to rest it on an upturned bowl or a tin can; the rim of the tin should just fall away, and you can then transfer to a plate and slide the base off using a palette knife).
Dust with icing sugar, and serve at room temperature or lightly chilled (remove from the fridge around 30 minutes before serving).