I tried to grow carrot when I was living on a boat. I had a few pots with tomatoes, herbs and rainbow carrots, with, if I’m honest, not much success. Apparently you’re supposed to water plants. My bumper crop amounted to about eight carrots, but wow, they were delicious. During a barbecue we just reached over, pulled them out, washed and ate them. As fresh as could be. Bliss. I should have watered them more.
Carrots are such a staple vegetable that it’s nice to use them in an unusual way. Here, I’ve put them into a classic lemon meringue pie recipe for a vibrant twist on the original. The carrots, along with a little lemon, add a nice tang to contrast the sweet meringue.
In honor of ‘No Waste Week’ I’ve used the carrot pulp from my juicer in the pastry. The dry pulp is perfect for the pastry as it won’t give you the dreaded ‘soggy bottom’ by adding moisture into the pastry.
- 225g (2¼ cup) plain flour
- 115g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 40g (1/3 cup) icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 50g (1/4 cup) carrot pulp left over from juicing (optional)
- 225ml (1 cup) fresh carrot juice
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 60g (1/2 cup) cornflour
- 215g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 6 egg whites
- 250g (1⅓ cups) caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- Make the pastry first. In a food processor, blend the flour and butter together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, egg yolk, carrot and a tablespoon of cold water and blend until it forms a ball. Add another tablespoon of water if necessary.
- Roll the pastry out onto a lightly floured worktop to a 2-3mm thickness and until it is large enough to cover the pie dish. Line the pastry tin with the pastry, gently press it into any flutes and trim the edges by rolling the rolling pin over the edge. Prick the bottom with a fork and refrigerate the pastry case for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of the pastry case with parchment paper and cover the base with baking beans (or uncooked rice). Bake for 15 minutes then remove the beans and parchment and cook for another 5 minutes or until golden. Set aside to make the filling, but leave the oven on.
- Drain the carrot juice through a muslin or fine sieve.
- Mix the lemon juice and cornflour in a cup to form a paste.
- In a saucepan, add the carrot juice, lemon zest and 250ml (1 cup) of water. Bring to the boil. Mix a few tablespoons of the hot carrot mixture into the lemon and cornflour and stir until smooth. Add the lemon/cornflour mixture to the pan and stir until thick and hot. Remove it from the heat and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together (be sure to save the egg whites for the meringue), and then whisk them into the hot carrot mixture. Stir over the heat until thick and hot.
- Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes and then pour into the baked pastry case.
- In a stand mixer or with an electric whisk, beat the egg whites together until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is stiff. Add in the cornflour and mix to combine.
- Spoon the meringue onto the pie from the outside in, to completely cover the filling. Use the back of the spoon to create peaks and swirls.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the meringue starts to brown. Allow to cool completely, at least an hour. Serve warm or cold.