Every time I go to the Alsace region in France, I scour the pastry shops for a rhubarb meringue pie. I’ve always loved the contrast of the tartness from the rhubarb and the sweetness of the meringue and custard filling.
I have tried making it at home quite a few times but never really succeeded; the end result was always soggy and wet as the rhubarb released a lot of liquid. I kept trying and finally got to this recipe. The pie disappeared before I could take pictures (always a good sign), so I made it again and here is the outcome.
How to limit liquid from the rhubarb
The main challenge I encountered with this pie was to limit the amount liquid released by the rhubarb. Here are a couple of tips to prevent this:
- Let the rhubarb drain overnight by sprinkling it with sugar; this drains the bulk of the water
- Cover the base of the pie with breadcrumbs to catch any remaining liquid
- Cook the rhubarb in the pie before adding the custard filling
I was very happy with the end result. The tartness and sourness of the rhubarb was nicely softened and balanced by the custard and meringue without the pie going the other extreme and being too sweet like some of my earlier attempts.
- 250 g (2 cups) flour
- 75 g (2/3 cups) icing sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 125 g (1/2 cup) butter
- 50 g eggs (about 1 egg)
- a dash of water (if needed)
- 600 g (approx 12 stalks or 5 cups chopped) rhubarb
- 70 g (1/3 cup) sugar
- 40 g (1/4 cup) breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 20 g (2 tbsp) sugar
- 1 packet vanilla sugar
- 10 g (1 tbsp) corn starch
- 20 cl (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) cream
- 100 g egg whites (approx 3-4 egg whites)
- 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
- The evening before, peel the rhubarb and cut into 1 cm pieces. Mix with the 70 g sugar and let drain for 6h or overnight.
- Place the flour, salt, icing sugar and butter in a bowl and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can also use the paddle attachment of a mixer. Add the egg and water (if needed) and continue mixing quickly until the dough comes together. Chill the dough for at least 30 min.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F). Remove dough from the fridge, roll it out, and line the pie tin with it.
- Blind bake the pie crust: cover the pastry with a sheet of baking paper, and fill with dried beans, rice, or ceramic beads. Bake at 180°C (356°F) for about 15 minutes. Remove the dried beans/rice/ceramic beads and the baking paper. Cover the base of the pie with the breadcrumbs and the drained rhubarb. Bake for a further 20-25 min.
- Whisk the egg with the sugar and the vanilla sugar using an electric mixer (if you have one) until the yolks are pale and thick, then add the corn starch. Add soon as the mix is homogenous, add in the cream and whisk well.
- Once the rhubarb has cooked for 20-25 minutes, pour the custard filling over it and bake again for 25-35 min.
- Start whisking the egg whites on a slow speed (if you start on high, it will be unstable and collapse). Increase the speed to medium after 1 minute. When the eggs whites get a bit foamy, add ⅓ of the sugar, mix for a bit, then add the second ⅓, mix, and after adding the last ⅓, you can increase your mixing speed and mix until you get firm peaks.
- Fill a piping bag with a 10 mm nozzle with the stiff egg white and garnish the pie, or spread the meringue on the pie. Bake for a further 10 min, then let cool on a rack.