Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
Then one day it hits you, literally, as everything starts to fall down around you. It’s the junk room.
The place where you throw anything and everything; from old phone chargers to university notes, bill notices from last year to broken old furniture. It’s where things go… never to be found again.
Ours used to be the 3rd bedroom, before we needed it for 4yo H. More recently it has been the garage; until this weekend. I wish I’d taken a before shot because no one will ever believe that the clean, ordered space that we have now was ever a crammed, dirty, eyesore. Believe me it was!
2 days, 2 trips to the tip and a few sales on Facebook later we have a miracle… aka the new Man Cave.
My children had never seen the walls of the garage before today!
Cleaning the junk room is not the time to the timid. I was ruthless! Gone were the university notes I slaved over for hours, gone were the broken outdoor chairs that might one day come in handy (for what? they’re broken!) and gone was the wonky kids tent that we bought at a garage sale when someone else was probably cleaning up their junk room.
Some decisions about what to throw out are easy, others are not. Possessions, however old or new, hold memories or hopes for the future. Does getting rid of them mean you get rid of the memory? Does letting go mean you can move forward? Does a decision today mean it the end of one chapter and the start of another?
Cleaning a space can be cathartic, smelly and dirty work. It can also be exhausting (just ask my husband who I think will be asleep before this blog hits your inbox!).
A reward for such a big weekends work? A pie as messy as the junk room was to begin with; Rhu-berry Meringue Pie. A tart rhubarb and blueberry pie which is balanced by the soft, delicate meringue peaks. The filling collapses on your plate, so it can be scooped up in the fluffy meringue. It tastes gooood!
This is a messy pie, but I think that is part of its charm. It makes it more rustic than chic.
If you want a firmer filling these are some options:
1. Add an extra tablespoon of arrowroot. The consistency of the filling will remain the same but it will be thicker .
2. Use gelatin instead of Arrowroot. I have not done this, but in theory it will result in a firmer, jelly like consistency. Add 3-4 teaspoons of gelatin (not tested – only an idea in theory) to the 1/4 cup of liquid and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Instead of boiling the mixture, simmer for 5 minutes. The consistency will be very different. The cool mixture would need longer to set in the crust before adding the meringue topping.
- 1/4 cup Almond Meal (flour)
- 1/2 cup Coconut flour + 2 tablespoons (available from health food and specialty stores)
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Bicarb Soda
- 1/4 cup Coconut Oil, softened
- 1/4 cup Maple Syrup (you could substitute honey)
- 1 Egg
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 350 grams Rhubarb (measured after cutting into 2cm pieces); approximately 5 stalks
- 1 cup Orange Juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 cup Water
- 450 grams Blueberries (I used frozen ones)
- 3 Tablespoons Arrowroot/Tapioca Flour (See recipe notes above on tips to make filling firmer)
- 2-3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup (this will depend on the desired tartness of the filling)
- 2 Egg Whites
- Dash of salt
- 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
- 1/2-1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Preheat oven to 175C/350F
- Grease/Spray a 20cm (8 inch) spring form cake tin or pie dish (a 22cm/9inch can also be used)
- Mix the dry ingredients in a blender.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and blend until combined. A dough ball will form.
- Roll the doughnut between 2 sheets of baking paper and trace a plate/tin bigger than tart tin.
- Gently place circle in tin. Use excess dough to ensure an even edge.
- Alternatively, spread dough evenly in tin and up edges by hand.
- Pierce bottom of pie crust with a knife 4 to 5 times to prevent the dough 'bubbling'.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely.
- If using a spring form tin, remove the crust and place on a serving tray. This may be more difficult if using a pie tin and you may choose to construct the pie and serve from the tin.
- Place the cut rhubarb in a saucepan with the orange juice and water.
- Bring to a slow boil over medium heat.
- Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the Rhubarb is tender and breaking down.
- Strain the liquid from the rhubarb using a sieve with a small weave (holes), retaining the liquid.
- Place the rhubarb and blueberries back in the saucepan, along with 1/2 a cup of the retained liquid and the maple syrup.
- Bring the mixture to a warm temperature over a medium heat.
- Taste the mixture at this point and add more maple syrup if required.
- Meanwhile, mix the arrowroot with 1/4 of a cup of the retained liquid. Whisk to ensure it is well combined.
- Add the arrowroot liquid mixture to the saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
- Once boiling, continue to stir for another minute.
- Place the mixture in the fridge to allow to cool and thicken.
- Once completely cooled, pour into the cooled pie crust (there may be filling left over).
- Place filled pie crust in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 220C/440F (not required if using a kitchen blow torch)
- Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a kitchen stand with a whisk attachment.
- Whisk on high until soft peaks form.
- Whilst still whisking on high, slowly add the maple syrup.
- Add the vanilla.
- Stiff, firm peaks of meringue will have formed.
- Spread evenly over the pie filling.
- Place pie on a oven proof tray and place on bottom shelf of oven for 2-3 minutes, turning halfway.
- Alternatively, use a kitchen blowtorch until desired counting is reached.
- Keep refrigerated when not eating.