Sticky, crispy, orangey and topped with light meringue. Really what more could you want from a bite sized treat?
1 ¼ cups plain flour
2 tbs pure icing sugar
80g chilled butter, chopped
3 egg yolks
1 ½ tbs chilled water
1 tbs cornflour
22g caster sugar
185ml or ¾ cup strained fresh orange juice (approx 2 large oranges)
15g butter, extra
3 egg whites
Process the flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 1 egg yolk (put the white in a bowl in the fridge for later) and the water. Pulse until dough just comes together (I needed about half a tbs extra water). Turn out onto a clean work surface. Shape into a 12cm log, wrap in glad wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour to rest.
Cut the log into 1cm slices. Roll out between 2 pieces of baking paper until 3mm thick. Using a 7cm circle cutter (or a glass) cut a circle out of each slice. Grease a patty pan tin (1 ½ tbs capacity) and press the pastry into each hole. Cover with glad wrap and place in the fridge for a further 30 minutes to rest. Preheat oven to 200’C. Remove tray from fridge and prick each disc 4 times with a fork. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the cornflour, 70g of the caster sugar and the remaining 2 egg yolks together in a small bowl. Bring the orange juice to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour back into the saucepan and stir over a low heat until boiling. Stir in the extra butter. Transfer to a small bowl, cover the surface with glad wrap, set aside to cool.
Increase oven temperature to 220’C. Divide the orange curd among the pastry cases. Use an electric beater to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining caster sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until thick and glossy. Spoon into a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle fitted and pipe meringue over the curd. Bake for 3 or 4 minutes or until lightly golden. Set aside in the pan to cool. Makes 12.
Once I started these I thought I would never finish them. I made the pastry in the morning, put it in the fridge, went to the shops to buy oranges, cut and rolled the pastry, put it back in the fridge, watched some tv, baked the cases, started the curd, our stove took about 15 minutes to boil the juice, finished the curd, waited for it to cool, filled the cases, made the meringue, piped baked and cooled, all with 10 minutes to spare before we had to leave for Dad’s. What felt like a whole day could have been reduced to about 2-3 hours had I stayed at home doing it the whole time. The issue with this recipe is all the rest time, it is worth it for the pastry, to make sure it doesn’t shrink etc but it takes sooooo long! The curd wasn’t quite thick enough either, my fault? Maybe but I don’t think so, I think it needed an extra spoon of cornflour to help thicken it up a bit more. A paper towel placemat/bib is highly recommended for eating these.
Now for the good points; Beautiful meringue, piped right to the edges of the crisp pastry works a treat. Gorgeous orange flavour, it would be even better if you grow your own oranges or could get them from a farmers market or something. Just big enough to not feel like you are getting ripped off by a tiny dessert but small enough to only take a couple of bites to eat so you don’t end up with a curd covered chin. I used a star shaped nozzle on my piping bag (disposable multix) the recipe calls for a round one and then to use a knife to make peaks. I just used the star and piped in a spiral and it worked out fine, no need to use a knife. Dad loved them, I loved them and Daniel loved them, 3 out of 3 is pretty good in my books and will definitely go into the keep pile.
If you love pastry, love citrus and love meringue, give these baby size pies a go. And even though the pastry is a nightmare in length to make, please, please, please make it, don’t use pre bought cases. Use your favourite pastry recipe instead if you want but make it yourself, it is well worth it.