Pink Grapefruit Pie

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soft shortening
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 7/4 cups wheat flour
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP hot water

Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 ripe pink grapefruit
  • boiling water, divided
  • 3 cups granulated sugar, or a bit less
  • 3/4 cups cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 TBSP shortening (optional)
  • 1 drop each red and yellow food coloring (optional)

Mirengue Ingredients:
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla flavoring

First, mix the crust dough: beat the butter together with the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and hot water until creamy, then add the cornstarch and flour and mix thoroughly with a sturdy spoon until it looks homogenous at a glance. Form into two lumps and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the filling: Stir the cornstarch into the sugar. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Grate some grapefruit rind (according to taste) into a large measuring cup, then add the pulp and juice, discarding the section dividers, seeds, and remaining peel. Add boiling water to make a total volume of four and a half cups, including the fruit, then immediately combine this with the sugar and cornstarch, stirring. Place this mixture in a saucepan over low to medium heat, and stir until it boils gently. Add another half cup of boiling water and the egg yolks and continue stirring until it comes to a good boil. It should be a nice translucent pale pink. Stir in the food coloring if desired, for a stronger shade of pink. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, if desired. Let it cool.

Preheat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

When the dough has chilled enough to be workable, place each half of it in turn on a large floured board and roll with a floured rolling pin, flipping and flouring once or twice as necessary, rolling it into (approximately) a circle a bit larger than a pie pan. Using a broad plastic spatula, loosen it from the board. Place a pie pan over it (upside down) and invert both together, then adjust as necessary so that the crust fits the pan, cutting off the edges. One nice thing about this shortbread crust recipe is that if it tears a bit, it mends easily enough: take a small scrap from the edge and patch the hole or tear, pressing gently. This works better than with traditional pie crust dough. Once you have both pie pans nicely lined with shortbread dough, bake them for a few minutes until they are nearly done, but don't overdo it, as they're going to spend some more time in the oven after they're filled.

When the crusts are ready and the filling cool, put half the filling in each of them, then make the meringue: beat the egg whites thoroughly, then add the sugar 1 TBSP at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla last, when the merengue is already beaten well enough, and then beat it only just enough to mix the vanilla in. Using a rubber spatula, spread it evenly over the filling, making sure it goes all the way to the edge and seals to the crust. Bake until the meringue is just lightly browned, then cool them.

Makes two pies. Serve chilled. (Yes, I know I misspelled marang about five different ways. I have never quite gotten the hang of French phonetics.)


Andy said...

Just to be sure: 7/4 cup wheat flour?

Jonadab said...

Is it the 7/4 you're asking about (otherwise known as a cup and three quarters) or the wheat flour (otherwise known as all-purpose flour or just flour)?

Andy said...

I was more interested in the improper fraction than the type of flour. I like to confirm things.

I'll have to run this by Deborah, see if she'll make it. Lemon mirengue pie is my favorite; this looks good, too. Perhaps I can post up my laboriosly-transcribed copy of Blue Avenger's Weepless Lemon Mirengue Pie. (It really doesn't weep.)

Jonadab said...

I guess my math background is coming through. In math we work with fractions all the time and never give a second thought to whether the numerator or the denominator is larger or, indeed, whether that is even possible to know. Truth be told, the phrase "improper fraction" makes me think of elementary school and, more specifically, one-time-use books with tear-out pages and the word Abeka on the back cover. I also have vague recollections of doing something called "casting out nines", which exploited the properties of the decimal notation system to create, IIRC, a rudimentary check-digit system. I cannot for the life of me come up with a legitimate excuse for wasting class time on such things, when there is so much that *ought* to be taught and isn't.

For instance, WHY did I have to wait until high school to learn set theory? That's many times more useful — and more foundational to further concepts in mathematics — than the arbitrary distinction between "proper" and "improper" fractions.