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Cranberry Meringue Tart

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Ever since I first saw the picture of the cute little Mini Cranberry Meringue Pies in Martha Stewart Living a couple years ago, I’ve wanted to make them. Their photo showed one sliced down the middle, exposing the jewel-like filling and the lightness of the meringue to full effect. I never got around to it, but this year I decided to try all new recipes for Thanksgiving, and this went to the top of my list.

I made a few mistakes along the way. Mistakes like forgetting the egg in the citrus pate sucree (I put it to the left of the food processor and the rest of my mise en place to the right) and experimenting with a store-bought carton of egg whites for the meringue when I didn’t have time to make a second batch. However, even without that egg, the pate sucree was possibly the best tart crust I’ve ever made, and several people complimented it. It uses both lemon and orange zest, a flavor combination that I used in my wedding cake years ago that really seemed to punch up the flavor.

But there was no blessing in disguise in regards to the meringue, unless I count the reminder that things never go well when I try to cut corners. At least this time it was in the spirit of experimentation and not just out of laziness, as usual. I used the Trader Joe’s 100% egg whites, and I knew that they weren’t going to be ideal when I saw how cloudy they were, but I went ahead and made the meringue. The foam ended up looking, well, very insipid and watery, not the airy dollop of heaven that I wanted to recreate from the magazine. By the time I was done, there was no time left, so the mediocre meringue went on the tart and I did my best to torch it, even though it didn’t want to brown properly. Continue reading