Sunday, November 20, 2016
Pomegranate Winter Chiffon Meringue Pie
Although the name of this pie has the word "meringue" in it, my pie does not, as the picture makes clear, contain meringue, piped or otherwise. We had dinner guests on Saturday. I was still shocked and saddened by the election results, and I didn't have it in me to plan the menu. Saturday morning, though, I realized I was either going to off to shake off my gloom and get started or I would end up ordering pizza and having ice cream for dessert. Nothing wrong with pizza and ice cream, but that's not what I have in mind when I invite people for dinner.
I decided on comfort food--braised short ribs, mashed potatoes, and glazed carrots. Then I checked the pomegranate pie recipe to see if I'd have time to make it. Well, clearly the meringue shell wasn't going to work. Not only did I have to make meringue and pipe it into a pie pan, but I'd also have to bake it for over 2 hours. And where did that leave the short ribs that had to go into the oven for 3 to 4 hours.
I considered the alternative: a lemon cookie crust. That sounded delicious, but I'd have to bake cookies, which gave me the same short rib problem. Then I had, if I do say so, a brilliant idea. Remember the very good, very easy crumb crust made with vanilla wafers? What if I made that, and just added lemon peel to it.
And so I did. Vanilla wafers, sugar, almonds, butter, and lemon zest. No baking, no interfering with the short ribs.
Once I got the crust problem out of the way, it couldn't have been simpler to make the pomegranate chiffon part of the pie. POM pomegranate juice (Rose is right about the beautiful color) with sugar and cornstarch.
Then beaten egg whites mixed in with the thickened juice to make a sweet pink mixture, and whipped cream to make it even more sweetly pink.
Poured into the already made crumb crust.
Since I wasn't doing any of the hard stuff, I thought that the least I could do is decorate the pie with fresh pomegranate seeds, AKA pomegranate arils. It's a little tricky to get rid of all the bitter white pith that wants to cling to the arils.
And here is a piece of pie. As the pie sits, the mixture wants to separate. The next day, there was a definite dark red layer at the bottom of the pie, but if you don't say anything about it, people will think it's supposed to be like that.
My guests loved this pie. We had it for dessert at our pre-theater dinner. Then, after we watched the play, we came back and had a second piece. Our friend David said that mango chiffon pie was his old favorite pie, but his new favorite is pomegranate chiffon pie. I feel a little bad about displacing an old family favorite, but I think there's always room for two kinds of pie in your life.