I had the good fortune of receiving fresh picked local strawberries this week that I had not planned upon. Suddenly, I had gorgeous berries that needed to be eaten within a day or two. Not a bad situation to be in. I made jam with some of them, also baking flakey homemade biscuits for breakfast. Such a treat. With the remaining lovely ripe berries, I decided to make a fresh strawberry pie. I have never seen a strawberry meringue pie but that was what I had mind. I found a recipe for a fresh strawberry pie that was topped with whipped cream, most common for fresh strawberry pies. I replaced the whipped cream with a cooked meringue for a fluffy marshmallowy topped pie. It was delicious and fun to make!
Here's is how to make this lovely pie.
Fresh Strawberry Meringue Pie
Bake a single 9-inch pie crust in a pie pan as directed by your favorite recipe, or use a store-bought crust, baking and cooling. Set aside for filling and topping the pie.
For the Filling:
2 pounds fresh strawberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons strawberry preserves
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Cut the strawberries into quarters or in half if they are small. Transfer 2 cups of the cut berries to a small saucepan and crush with a potato masher. Place the remaining strawberries into a large bowl, setting these aside for later use. Add the sugar, preserves, and cornstarch to the saucepan with the crushed berries. Set the saucepan over medium heat, stirring the contents and cooking until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook at a boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat, add the cooked strawberries plus the lemon juice to the fresh strawberries in the large bowl. Gently stir to coat the fresh strawberries with the cooking berry mixture. Transfer the berry mix to the prepared baked and cooled 9-inch pie crust. Cool for 3-4 hours.
For the Cooked Meringue:
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 large egg whites, room temperature
Place 1 cup of sugar, 5 tablespoons of water, and the cream of tartar into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cooking at the boil for 4 minutes. While the sugar mixture is cooking, whisk the egg whites as described below.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites to the clean mixing bowl. Beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, whisking until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.
With the mixer running, slowly and carefully drizzle all of the hot sugar syrup into the meringue, aiming for pouring the syrup close to the side of the bowl, avoiding the whisk attachment. Continue beating at high speed until the side of the bowl is cool to the touch. This will take about 5-6 minutes. You are essentially cooking the meringue with the hot syrup, turning it into a thick marshmallow-like fluff.
Putting it all together:
Once the strawberry mixture has cooled in the prepared pie crust and you are ready to serve, spoon the cooked meringue over the top of the pie, swirling to form pretty peaks. If desired, toast the meringue with a kitchen torch, or place the pie on the bottom rack of the oven under the hot broiler for 10-15 seconds just until lightly browned.
Serve the pie the same day as made.