Sunday, January 12, 2014

Kiwi Pomegranate Angel Pies

Ok, so now that most of the holiday cookie season has passed us, time to move on to something a little more different.  Time for winter fruit, but not apples or pears.  Looking at the list of seasonal fruits, kiwi and pomegranate jumped out at me.  Then the hunt was on for a dessert that incorporated both of these delicious lovely fruits.

Not only did I find a recipe, but it also put me to the challenge of making something fairly new.  I have made a few things with meringue, but never like this.  The meringues were not as fragile as expected.  Also, regarding the pastry cream, I found the instructions particularly easy. Unlike this recipe, others involve standing and whisking at the stove for up to 20 minutes in order for the pastry cream to thicken.  Even though this recipe takes time, it is actually wait time, not working time.

This tri-texture dessert does please the palate as well as the eye. The combo of juicy fruit, thick rich pastry cream and the crunchy meringue makes for a wonderful way to end a meal. This dessert is one that will make an impression and be remembered long after your the dinner party is over.

Kiwi Pomegranate Angel Pies
adapted from Gourmet Magazine/Nov 2006

1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tbs powdered sugar

Ingredients/Pastry Cream
2 tsp corn starch
1 1/2 tbs flour or 1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbs butter, melted
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
4 egg yolks (reserved from meringue)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole milk

Ingredients/Fruit Topping
1/2 cup pomegranate(fruit from one whole peeled pomegranate)
8-10 kiwi fruit

The first part of this dessert is the meringue.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.  Separate eggs by putting yolks in a small bowl, cover and place in refrigerator to reserve for pastry cream.  Pour egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat the eggs whites at medium speed until they reach the foamy stage.  With the mixer still running, add the cream of tartar and salt and continue to beat until you reach the soft peak stage.  Then start beating in the sugar in one tablespoon increments until a total of 8 tbs or 1/2 cup has been added.

Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat for 5 minutes.  The end result should be meringue with a stiff glossy consistency.  Using a wooden spoon, fold in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.

To form the meringues, you can use a pastry tip.  Make a circle of meringue (about 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter and then form another layer with a circle on top.  Then put a little meringue in the center and smooth it out so it forms a bottom, like an empty pool.  This creates a nice base to put your pastry cream into.  The other method is to spoon out the meringue and use the back of the spoon to make an indention. Continue to form the meringues, making a total of 10 meringues, 5 on each baking sheet.

Using a sieve, fill with powdered sugar and lightly dust the surface of each meringue.  Place each pan in the oven and leave door propped open about a 1/2 an inch.  A wooden spoon is a good item to use for this purpose.  Let meringues cook for about 2 1/2 hours.  They should be very dry and crisp.  Turn the oven off and allow for an additional hour in the oven to dry completely. During the last 15 minutes, remove the egg yolks from the refrigerator to get to room temperature. After the baking process, remove pans from the oven and carefully peel meringues off the parchment paper.  Place each meringue on a cooling rack.

To make the pastry cream, start by sifting together the flour, cornstarch and salt.  Then whisk in only 2 tbs of sugar and set aside.  in a medium size bowl, beat the egg yolks with a fork or wire whisk.  Add the dry ingredients and beat again until all is blended.

In a small saucepan, pour in milk and add 2 tbs of sugar.  Place over medium heat and stir until mixture comes to a boil and all sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Working quickly, pour half of the milk mixture into the egg/flour blend and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a batter.  Pour this batter back into the remaining milk in saucepan.  Place saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly until custard comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and mix in vanilla extract and butter.

Push all the custard mixture through a sieve, using a spatula or wooden spoon. Cover bowl of custard with wax paper and place in refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.

During the last hour of the chilling process, peel and slice the kiwi into 1/4 thick slices. Also, whisk or beat the whipping cream until it reaches the stiff peak stage.  Once the custard cream is completely chilled, remove it from the refrigerator.  Using a wire whisk, mix up the custard to make sure there is nothing sticking to the edges of the bowl.  Fold the whipped cream into the custard and blend until smooth.  Again, cover and place in refrigerator for 1/2 hour.

To assemble the angel pies, remove the chilled custard from the refrigerator.  Spoon about 3 tbs of pastry cream into each meringue shell and smooth the top.  Place slices of kiwi decoratively on top of the pastry cream center.  Then sprinkle on the pomegranate and lightly press with a spoon to adhere.
Tips and Notes;
1. Dessert should be served as soon as possible, otherwise the meringue will lose their crunchy texture.
2. When forming the meringues, make that the interior of your meringue has a thick enough bottom
3. The meringue itself is very sweet, feel free to omit the powder sugar dusting
4.  The tartness of the fruit is what offsets the sweet meringue so a liberal use of fruit topping is fine
                                         **LAST YEAR:Spice Donuts**