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A recipe for pineapple weed meringue pie
VIDEO: Putting foraged herbs to delicious use
I’m writing this on the day I turn 37.
And what better birthday present could I possibly give myself than the chance to host the first of my very own video recipes for my dear subscribers to
suffer through enjoy.
(Scroll down to watch)
I’m starting with a recipe that celebrates my favourite wild herb: pineapple weed.
Where I live (Finland) this herb explodes into life on poor quality soils and disturbed ground (roadsides, paths, things like that) in early July, taking advantage of the long, summer days to grow widely.
Alongside wild mushrooms and elderflower, I think it is one of the most delicious things you can find growing for free in the wild. It has an aroma just like that of its namesake. Floral and very fruity. That’s why I thought it would be perfect to use flavouring a dessert. I have made sorbet from it, which is really good, but my favourite is this take on a traditional lemon meringue pie.
Always be careful when using wild herbs/vegetables. Make sure you can confidently identify it. And do wash it thoroughly. For use in this dessert it is best dried first. To do so, I pick the round tops of the herb (no stem or leaf), wash them in lots of water, then dry in kitchen towel for a moment before leaving it all spread out on baking paper a few days on the kitchen counter to dry through. Then it’s ready to use. Don’t dry it in an oven, it will go bitter.
And if you are interested in wild herbs and vegetables, then please check out thenewsletter. Since being introduced by a few months back, I have really enjoyed the detail and knowledge that runs through all of the articles about wild plants over there.
Pineapple weed meringue pie
Click play to watch my full video!
Enough shortcrust pastry for a 15cm flan ring (double quantities below for 24cm flan ring)
2 tbsp cornflour
2 egg yolks
Juice of a lemon and lime mixed together
1 heaped tablespoon of dry pineapple weed
2 egg whites
For this recipe/quantity, I am using a small 15cm flan ring (as shown in video)
First, get your oven heated to 200C. Roll your pastry out about 3mm thick and line your flan ring. Bake this “blind” until fully cooked and the slightest bit golden yellow. I use rice and some baking paper while blind baking my pastry. With the base taken care of, we move on to the filling. Add your cornflour and sugar to a small pan and slowly add the water mixing all the time. Finally, add the dry pineapple weed and put it on a medium heat. Stir this constantly until it slowly comes to a boil, has thickened, and turned translucent.
Once this has cooled for a few moments, mix in the egg yolks and pass through a sieve to remove the pineapple weed. The flavour will absolutely be imparted by now. Add about 1.5 tablespoons of the lime and lemon juice and add your completed filling to the pastry case. This now goes back in the oven for 15 minutes or so until a skin has formed on the top for the meringue to sit on.
Meanwhile, make your meringue. Start by whisking the egg whites to stiff peaks. I get best results by starting the whisking on the slow setting and gradually increasing the speed. I was taught this helps first create large air bubbles, before creating a network of ever smaller air bubbles as the whisk speed increases to produce the very finest meringue. Once you have your stiff peaks, slowly add the sugar tablespoon by tablespoon, bringing it back to stiff peaks after every tablespoon of sugar.
Once the skin has formed on your pie, take it from the oven and immediately add the meringue to the top creating a beautiful mound rising a little in the centre. It’s important to add the meringue when the pie filling is hot or you may get a wet layer beneath the meringue after the pie is baked a final time and cooled.
Bake this again for 15 minutes until lightly browned.
Be sure to wait until it is fully cooled before serving so it sets nicely. I find best results are when the pie is eaten fridge cold the next day.
Enjoy! And please do share in the comments what your favourite foraged plants are and what you like to cook with them best!