Blackberry Meringue Pie with Orange Bitters and Almond Crust

i-65d09f4f3d620de54de8cb4d177caed3-blackberries.jpgI don't have a lemon tree in the backyard, and springtime has only just reached the frigid northlands, but I do have a bit of Seattle summer tucked away in the back of my freezer.

Pick some slightly underripe blackberries for this one, so it's as tart as a good lemon meringue.

Ingredients

    For the meringue:
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
    For the filling:
  • 1 c. blackberry juice from about 1/2 quart of frozen berries
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Regan's orange bitters
  • 1/4 c. corn starch
  • 1 c. sugar
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter
    For the crust:
  • 8-9 graham crackers
  • handful of almonds
  • 5 Tbsp butter

Directions

Cook down the blackberries over low heat, then blend 'em up. Strain out the seeds. Save the leftover pulp for baking - it makes tasty muffins.

Preheat the oven to 325 ºF.

Crust: Whirl the graham crackers and almonds in a food processor until they are wee crumbs, then add the melted butter. Process until it looks like wet sand, then mush into the bottom of a pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes or so.

Filling: Mix the corn starch, sugar, salt, bitters, 3/4 c. blackberry juice, and 1 c. water over medium heat. When it begins to thicken, whisk in the egg yolks two at a time, then the lemon juice and remaining blackberry juice, then the butter. Bring it to a simmer while whisking constantly, and cover with plastic wrap while you work on the meringue.

Meringue: Mix the corn starch and water over medium heat; cook, whisking vigilantly, until it turns translucent. Remove from the heat and have it ready next to you while you beat the eggs. Mix the sugar and cream of tartar together.

Beat the eggs until they are foamy, then add the sugar and cream of tartar a little bit at a time. When those have been incorporated and the mixture forms soft peaks, add the corn starch. Beat until you get stiff peaks.

Assembly: Make sure that the filling is hot when you assemble the pie. Pour in the filling, then spread the meringue on top, working from the outside in and being sure to connect the meringue to the outer edge of the pie, so that it doesn't shrink.

Bake at 325 ºF for 20 minutes or so, until the meringue is golden brown.

i-440502fb2e71eb4aa6adc826c049c469-whole-blackberry-meringue.jpg

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