We can’t resist fluffy, sweet toasted meringue. So why is the cloud-like topping reserved for lemon and lime? Enter pastry chef Erin McDowell’s recipe for mini apricot meringue pies (“pielets,” if you will) to prove our point.
“I make meringue with all kinds of fruit pies, because they’re all tart in their own way,” the author of The Fearless Baker tells us. “These have a really easy press-in coconut shortbread cookie crust and stove-top filling—the fruit softens but still has texture. I particularly love the combination of apricot and coconut, and the meringue really brings it all together.”
If you don’t have mini tart pans or pie plates, you can use mason jar lids to make the crust. In fact, it’s totally adaptable to any size pie plates (but keep in mind the yield might be more or less depending on how deep your pans are).
And if you’re going in for seconds, your secret’s safe with us. They are mini, after all.Ingridients16 mini pies
1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (106g) light brown sugar
1 large (56g) egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
⅔ cup (75g) unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup (99g) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons (21g) cornstarch
15 apricots (1,352g), chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large (106g) egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup (198g) granulated sugarDirections
1. MAKE THE CRUST: Preheat the oven to 375°F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla; mix to combine. Scrape the bowl well.
2. Add the flour, coconut and salt; mix toto combine. Divide the dough evenly into 16 pieces.
3. Press each piece of dough into a mini tart pan, taking care to press into the corners and maintain the same thickness all over. Chill the crusts for 25 to 30 minutes.
4. Use a fork to pierce each crust all over the base and sides. Transfer to the oven and bake until evenly golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. If the crusts puff up at all during baking, pierce with a fork to deflate any air pockets. Cool completely.
5. MAKE THE FILLING: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the apricots and mix well to combine. Cook over medium heat until the apricots break down and the mixture comes to a simmer, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Stir in the vanilla and then allow to cool while you make the meringue.
6. MAKE THE MERINGUE: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, place the egg white and cream of tartar.
7. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and ¼ cup (60g) water. Stir the mixture over medium heat until it begins to come to a simmer, then stop stirring. Continue to cook (without stirring) until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reads 140°F on a candy thermometer.
8. When the mixture reaches 140°F, remove it from the heat and begin to whip the egg whites on medium-high speed. When the egg whites become frothy and begin to turn white, start to add the sugar mixture in a slow, steady stream. Continue whipping until the mixture reaches medium peaks.
9. Fill the tarts evenly with the apricot filling. Top each with a generous dollop of meringue, using a spoon, an offset spatula or a piping bag as desired. Use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue.
Per mini pie: