Mango Meringue Pies

by - February 15, 2017

I love lemon meringue pie. My mother used to make it all the time. Tart, creamy lemon curd topped with a light-as-air meringue. Delicious! 

This is my tropical spin on the traditional lemon meringue, with a dreamy mango curd and a cloud coconut meringue. Biting into this pie is a journey, it's a story with more plot development than twilight ever had (seriously). 

First, your teeth sink into an unbelievably fluffy, mellow and toasted-marshmallow meringue. It's a cloud! Is this vegan? Then--the climax--the mango curd. Tart, but balanced with just the right about of sweetness. It's sensuous, it seduces you. It teases you with just the right amount, you want another bite already. 

Then the finale. Your teeth hit the rum-infused shortcrust and it snaps. It crumbles in your mouth and dances with the coconut, the mango. 

The mango curd oozes from the pie, and you want more, a sequel.

It takes a wee bit of effort to make, but trust me, so worth it. 

Mango Meringue Pies 
Makes: 8 individual pies or 1 large pie

For the crust:
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup vegan butter, cubed and chilled (I used stork)
  • 3 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 tbsp rum, or vodka (or 1 tbsp more cold water)

For the Mango Curd:
  • 1¼ cups sweetened condensed mango pulp (available at Indian supermarkets and in Tesco)
  • 2 tbsp-4 tbsp sugar 
  • 4 tbsp butter 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp Corn Starch
  • 4 tbsp water 

For the Coconut Meringue: (adapted from Plantified)
  • 3/4 cups aquafaba (the liquid from 1 can of chickpeas)
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum Gum 
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 300g sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp agar powder (about 5g)
  • 1/2 cup water

First, make the pie crust. To make pastry, cut the cold butter into the flour with a pastry blender, fork or food processor. You can use you hands to rub the butter in, but I find that this melts the butter faster and the result is not as flaky. When the butter has formed small pea-sized crumbs, work the ice-cold water and run in, a spoonful at a time, until a shaggy dough is formed which holds its shape when you press it (if necessary, add a teeny bit of extra water but try to use as little additional water as possible). Form a ball, wrap in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Next, make the curd. Add the mango pulp and lemon juice to a sauce pan. In a seperate bowl, stir the cornstarch and water together to make a smooth paste. Pour into the saucepan and heat on medium, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Bring it to a boil and let it thicken. Take it off the heat, and stir in the butter and 2 tbsp of sugar. Taste it and if you would like it more sweet, add in the remainder of the sugar. Leave the mango curd in the fridge to chill.

When the pastry is done resting, remove it from the fridge onto a countertop dusted with flour. Prepare your pie pan/s by brushing lightly with oil or butter. Preheat the oven to 180C. Roll out pastry to 1/4 inch thick, and cut out circles big enough to fit your mini pie pans, or a large circle for an individual large pie pan. Fill pie with parchment paper and baking beans (or uncooked beans/rice) and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the beads and parchment then bake a further 10-15 minutes until bottoms are golden brown. Leave to cool.

Pour the mango curd into the cooled pie shell and let it set in the fridge as you prepare the meringue. Preheat the grill to about 190C, if you do not have a blow torch. In a stand mixer, whisk the aquafaba and xantham to firm peaks. This will take about 10 minutes, so prepare the syrup as this whips. In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and agar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Use a candy thermometer to tell when your syrup is 250F/121C (hard ball stage). Alternately, do the water drop test. When this is ready, pour it into your mixer while it is whipping, preferably with the splash guard on, quickly but carefully. Also add in the extract. Continue to whip until stiff and glossy, and the mixture is no longer hot (touch the sides of the bowl to tell).

Scoop a healthy dollop of meringue on top each pie, you can pipe a layer on top of that to make it look really dainty, as I did. But a rustic look may look just as good! Either torch the meringue and this point, or place under the grill, for about 1-2 minutes, keeping a good eye on it so as to catch it just as the tips turn golden.

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