For some reason I have always thought meringue pie was fancy, difficult, and a little bit of a risk to attempt. I realized that this is ridiculous. If anything, making this meringue pie was easier than wrangling two different pie crusts that are crumbling everywhere, getting flour all over the counters.
Meringue is fluffy, sweet, and the perfect accompaniment to tangy citrus fruit. Lemon meringue is the most popular option and I LOVE lemon. I might love lemon more than most people. It’s a severe problem and I’m working on that (albeit, halfheartedly)
But since I was lacking enough lemons to make a whole pie and my fruit basket was full of mandarin oranges I decided to go a different route. It was 100% the right choice! Tangy, sweet, and a little different: Mandarin Meringue Pie. Genius. It has whole orange segments stirred into the smooth curd and topped with fluffy marshmallowy meringue that complements a crisp crust very nicely.
I think it’s a great way to usher into the season of more refreshing desserts after all of those heavy holiday dishes. Fruity and clean flavors are my favorite in the new year and since citrus is always growing year round here in California I don’t need to buy produce that is out of season to make a lighter pie. Win-win!
- 1 unbaked pie crust
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup fresh mandarin or orange juice
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 1 can mandarin orange segments, drained with water reserved
- ½ teaspoon orange extract, optional
- 4 eggs, separated
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a pie plate with the pie dough and prick all over with a fork. Bake until it is golden brown, about ten minutes.
- For the filling, whisk together 2/4 cup of sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan. Add the orange juice, lemon juice, and ¼ cup of the water drained from the can of mandarin segments. Whisk together slowly over medium heat.
- Add 4 egg yolks and orange extract and whisk together until frothy. Continuously stir over medium heat until the curd becomes thick and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the 4 tablespoons of butter until melted. Stir in the orange segments from the can of mandarin oranges and pour the curd into the prepared crust. Chill or let cool to room temperature before making the meringue topping.
- For the meringue, beat four egg whites until they are foamy. While still whisking on high speed, gradually add ½ cup of sugar and ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar.
- Whisk about 5 to 8 more minutes until the egg whites are shiny and stiff. To test stiffness, pull the beaters or a whisk straight up from the egg white. The peak should stand up tall on it's own and not slump back down into the bowl.
- Spoon or pipe the meringue onto the pie. Make sure the meringue touches the crust on all sides, creating a seal in order to prevent it from shrinking as it bakes.
- Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees F for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the top is golden. Cool completely before serving.