Clementine meringue pie

This is the second of two sponsored posts in partnership with Vitamix UK, who have just launched the Ascent Series

I’ve mentioned before that I spent ages trying to perfect a grapefruit meringue pie to the point where a friend actually said to me, ‘Helen, why bother?’ And so I stopped. It was a relief.

Why, then, I thought it would be a good idea to make a meringue pie for this project I have no idea. Having spent so much time fluffing up the grapefruit pie (for no particular reason, you understand, it was just one long joke on me) it then took me 4 attempts to get this one right. Why? Well this time I was making the curd filling in the Vitamix, and it took some fiddling with ratios to get it to set, plus there was the time half the curd was spilt in the sink…

The pastry can be blitzed in the blender which is all well and good but the real pleasure here is making that filling. Basically, you just blend the zest and sugar then add in everything else and leave it in there, whizzing away and heating up until thickened. You’re making lovely thick curd in the time it takes to stick something in a blender and leave it on for 10 minutes while you do something else – no standing over a saucepan whisking.

Clementine meringue pie

It sets to a beautiful orange wobble, rich and full of clementine flavour, with a touch of lemon for sharpness. I also piped the meringue because I wanted it to look pretty – those of you who follow me on Instagram will know I struggled to get this right too (I am never going to enter Bake Off, put it that way) but you could also just pile it on top, as is traditional.

So yeah, that’s me done with meringue pies for a while. You should make it though because it’s a very cool festive dessert and I think we forget how good meringue pie can be. Just leave me out of it.

Clementine Meringue Pie Recipe

For the pastry

175g plain flour
100g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt

For the curd

3 clementines, zest and juice in separate bowls
1 lemons, zest and juice in separate bowls
330g sugar
160g butter
4 eggs
4 egg yolks

For the meringue

4 egg whites
200g golden caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour

Make the pastry by pulsing the flour and butter in the Vitamix until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and salt plus the egg yolk beaten with a splash of water and pulse until it comes together. Scrape out, flatten into a small circle (this makes it easier to roll out later), wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

During the time, make the curd by blitzing the zests and sugar in the Vitamix on variable 3, then add the eggs, juice, yolks and butter, bring the speed up to variable 10 and let it blend for 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Make the meringue by whipping the egg whites to soft peaks then adding in half the sugar, a half tablespoon at a time. Add the cornflour, then add the remaining sugar in the same way.

Preheat the oven to 180C and blind bake the pastry by placing a sheet of baking paper on top and filling it with baking beans, dried pulses or rice. Cook for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 160C.

Briefly blitz the curd to make sure it’s still nice and hot (this will prevent the meringue from weeping when you put it on top) and pour it into the pastry case. Top with the meringue (start at the edges if you are piling it on and work inwards).

Bake for 20 minutes then leave to cool before serving.

Ultimate cookie dough ice cream recipe

Yeah, I know; I should’ve posted this during summer when you were thinking about ice cream. Well here’s the thing: I always think about ice cream. I should fess up right away on this one and say that this isn’t my recipe, but Donald’s. He’s been wanging on about making an ultimate cookie dough ice cream recipe for ages and I’ll admit, I was kinda ‘meh’ about the idea. Then he made it and I had to eat my words which was tough going when my mouth was so rammed full of ice cream.

The real trick here is to infuse the milk with cookies overnight, in the same way as you’d make the cereal milk ice cream everyone went mad for a few years back. The result is that the whole thing tastes like cookies rather than just the chunks. It’s SO RICH. As rich as JK Rowling, or Snoop. He’s prob very rich, and I’m sure he likes ice cream, mainly because of this picture…

Snoop Dogg ice cream

Anyway if you’re looking for an ultimate cookie dough ice cream recipe, this is it. I’m sure Snoop would say it’s the shiznit.

Ultimate Cookie Dough Ice Cream Recipe

For the brown butter cookies

255g unsalted butter
250g all-purpose flour
3g bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons good sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
140 g brown sugar
140g caster sugar
1 chocolate bar, smashed (I have nailed him down to 60% cocoa solids dark choc, prob standard Green & Blacks size)

Begin by browning the butter. Melt it in a pan with a light coloured base (so you can see the colour of the butter), giving it a swirl every now and then. It will turn a darker golden colour, and eventually a toasty brown. When it turns toasty brown and smells nutty, it is done. Remove from the heat and fridge it for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Mix the flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Add the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla to an electric mixer and mix. Add the brown sugar and butter, mix again. Add the flour and bicarbonate of soda mixture and mix again for no longer than 10 seconds.

Add the broken up chocolate, mix for another 10 seconds.

Blob cookies onto a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 mins.

For the ice cream

1 litre whole milk
3 egg yolks
250ml double cream

When the cookies are cool, break them up (reserving a few for chunks) and pour over 1 L of whole milk, cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

Strain off the milk, saving 500ml.

Put the milk into a pan and heat until just boiling. Whisk the egg yolks and slowly pour over the milk, whisking constantly. Add to a clean pan and stir until thickened. Set aside in a bowl with clingfilm touching the top until completely cool. Stir in the double cream.

Churn in an ice cream maker, adding the leftover cookies in chunks towards the end of churning.