Crash’s Kitchen: MacDuff’s Apple Meringue Pie

Pie, pie, gimme some pie.

Pie, pie, gimme some pie.

To be quite honest, I can’t stand apples and this recipe was the only way Grama MacDuff could get me to eat any. The history of family recipes and my family goes back further than recorded history. This pie is one of them.

But first some history.  Apple pies have been around a long time, but not the meringue version or even meringue, for that matter. Adding meringue is a recent addition to an old family recipe.

It has been claimed that meringue was invented in the Swiss village of Meiringen and improved by an Italian chef named Gasparini in the 18th century. However this claim is contested; the Oxford English Dictionary states that the French word is of unknown origin. It is sure nevertheless that the namemeringue for this confection first appeared in print in François Massialot’s cookbook of 1692. The word meringue first appeared in English in 1706 in an English translation of Massialot’s book. Two considerably earlier seventeenth-century English manuscript books of recipes give instructions for confections that are recognizable as meringue, though called “white biskit bread” in the book of recipes started in 1604 by Lady Elinor Fettiplace (c. 1570 – c. 1647) of Appleton in Berkshire (now in Oxfordshire), and called “pets” in the manuscript of collected recipes written by Lady Rachel Fane (1612/13–1680), of Knole, Kent. Slowly baked meringues are still referred to as “pets” (meaning farts in French) in the Loire region of France due to their light and fluffy texture.

Meringues were traditionally shaped between two large spoons, as they are generally at home today. Meringue piped through a pastry bag was introduced by Antonin Carême.

Total Time:
1 hr 45 min
35 min
1 hr 10 min
Yield:6 to 8 servings

1 round refrigerated pie dough (half of a 14-ounce package)
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
6 McIntosh or Braeburn apples, peeled and chopped
11 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough; crimp the edges. Pierce the bottom all over with a fork, then refrigerate 15 minutes. Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place on a baking sheet and bake until set, about 7 minutes. Remove the foil and weights; continue baking until golden, about 6 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Meanwhile, spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Combine the apples, 5 tablespoons sugar, the butter, lemon juice and vanilla in a saucepan; cover and cook over medium heat until the apples are tender, about 12 minutes. Uncover and cook, mashing and stirring with a potato masher, until saucy and starting to caramelize, about 12 more minutes; let cool 15 minutes. Transfer the apples to the pie crust and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Beat the egg whites and salt with a mixer on medium speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar and beat until stiff, 2 to 3 more minutes. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip. Pipe around the edge of the pie, then pipe in a lattice pattern. Bake until the meringue is golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely.