Dom’s Random Recipe Challenge this month is to cook a recipe chosen at random from a book about to be thrown out. You can read the details here.
As you may know, I’ve been doing a lot of clearing out lately, having taken boxfuls of stuff to the charity shops or the tip, including plenty of books. I do find cook books very difficult to get rid of though. There’s always the chance that there might just be that one recipe inside, the one I simply can’t live without…….
However, I can definitely say that I won’t miss this little M&S book. I haven’t used it at all and most of the recipes are replicated in other books on the shelf.
But I flipped the pages to see what would turn up. A chocolate meringue pie. Hmmmmmm….
As well as sorting out and chucking out we are also in the process of eating up and I happened to have some very nice chocolate for baking in a box in the kitchen cupboard, also plenty of eggs and sugar. So I thought I might as well have a go.
It was lovely.
I confess I didn’t stick absolutely to the recipe. I was supposed to make a biscuit crumb base from chocolate digestives and butter, cheesecake style, but I didn’t have any chocolate biscuits in the house. (Far too dangerous.)
But I did have half a pack of ready made pastry and since I would usually make a lemon meringue pie with pastry, not biscuits, I thought I would do the same this time.
I also had a jar of home made damson jam that needed eating up and it occurred to me that a hint of damson might take the edge off the potential sweetness of the chocolate filling and the meringue. I was right and it worked a treat.
The pastry was crisp, the meringue was golden and crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy inside, the chocolate filling was thick and velvety and the damson a nice little surprise of sharpness with each mouthful.
I’m not sure I would rush to make it again, but you never know.
Half a pack of ready made shortcrust pastry (or make your own from 6oz flour and 3oz butter)
Or, make a biscuit crumb base mix from 225g dark chocolate digestives and 52g melted butter.
For the filling **
3 large egg yolks
4 tblsp caster sugar
4 tblsp cornflour
600ml (1 pint) milk
100g plain chocolate2 tblsp damson jam (blackcurrant or blackberry would also be nice)
For the meringue topping
2 large egg whites
100g caster sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 190°C / 170° fan / gas mk 5. Grease a 23 cm (approx) flan dish or tin.
Roll out the pastry and line your flan dish, fill with baking paper and baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes.
(Or if you are using the biscuit crumb base, press it into the bottom and up the sides of the dish and there’s no need to blind bake.)
While the pasty is cooking, make the chocolate filling. Melt the chocolate in a microwave, or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Beat the egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour together in a medium bowl to make a smooth paste.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk almost to the boil and pour onto the egg paste, whisk together.
Pour in the melted chocolate and whisk together.
Return the chocolate mixture to the pan and heat gently, stirring, until it begins to thicken.
(**I found this made way too much filling for my flan dish and next time would reduce all the ingredients by a third except for the chocolate.)
Spread the damson jam evenly over the pastry or biscuit base, pour in the chocolate mixture and level the top.
To make the meringue, put the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk to soft peak stage. Whisk in two thirds of the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Fold in the rest of the sugar and the vanilla extract. Pour over the chocolate filling and spread out to cover completely and evenly.
Bake for 30 minutes until the meringue is golden and crisp. Serve warm or cool.