Strawberry and rhubarb meringue pie

I've been using the last of winter's produce to cook delicious dinners, treats and desserts. A recent trip to the farmers market with my Mum and Nan saw me pick up a bundle of old and new season produce that I am very excited to cook with and eat! Since strawberries are rocketing out of season, we picked up seven punnets of 'cooking' (ie. bruised) strawberries for $8. (Yeah, I was pretty happy with that!) A bunch of rhubarb was also glaring at me and I decided that it would make the perfect partner to strawberries in this meringue pie.

I originally wanted to make a fresh, zingy lemon meringue pie, but (on such a hot day,) I couldn't be bothered standing over the stove to make the lemon curd. Sorry! The oven did heat the house up anyway, but this variation was well worth the heat! The rhubarb provides a hit of zing, while the strawberries, honey and meringue add a balancing amount of sweetness. The fruit is soft and syrupy, the pie crust is crumbly and buttery, and the meringue is crunchy. This pie makes for a scrumptious summer dessert.

What you'll need:
1 1/2 cups plain flour
125g butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon chilled water

500g rhubarb, chopped into 1cm pieces
500g strawberries, hulled and quartered
150g raw sugar
100g honey
3 tablespoons cornflour
1 tablespoon water

3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 23cm pie dish generously with butter.

To make the pastry, place the flour, butter, caster sugar, egg yolk and water in a food processor and whizz until a ball forms. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the pastry is chilling, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, raw sugar and honey in a bowl. Mix the cornflour and water together to create a paste and stir it into the fruit mixture.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and knead it on a clean, floured work surface. Once the pastry has tightened and become smooth, place it onto a sheet of baking paper. Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry out to a 23cm-diameter circle. Pick up the pastry using the baking paper and flip it into prepared pan. Press the pastry right onto the dish and carefully remove the baking paper. Trim any excess pastry from the edge of the dish.

Give the fruit mixture a good stir and pour it into the pastry. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the pastry is golden, the fruit is soft and there is a thick, sticky syrup. (If you notice that the pastry is getting too golden too quickly, cover the pie with aluminium foil and continue to cook.) Once cooked, remove the pie from the oven while you whip up the meringue. 

Reduce oven temperature to 160C and flick it to fan-forced. (I find that a fan-forced oven ensures a crispy meringue shell and soft, marshmallow centre.) Use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and beat the meringue for 2-5 minutes or until it is super glossy and stiff. Spoon the meringue over the tart and then spread it out over the pie. Bake for a further 30 minutes or until the meringue is a light golden colour. Remove pie from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Dust lightly with cinnamon (if desired) enjoy warm.