Feijoa and lime meringue pie

feijoasFeijoa and lime meringue pie

This year was a first for me – I tasted feijoa. Life is short and I can’t believe I have wasted so much time already! These dusky green globules are just beautiful to cut, with a creamy yellow interior and a swirling flower pattern made up of translucent yellow-green flesh speckled with a few tiny brown seeds. Their exotic smell wafts all over the house – if you’re not a fan, you might describe it as ‘Deep Heat’, but that’s a bit unfair I think … The taste has a definite sarsaparilla twist, but after having a few my daughter and I found them irresistible. Sweet but with an interesting tang, and such a nice change from the pears, oranges and apples of late autumn and winter. We spooned out the flesh one feijoa after another, the table littered with empty shells.

We came into feijoas via our neighbours, who have an amazing and clever garden with all kinds of interesting edible plants growing in many nooks. They’ve hedged their feijoas and they almost look native Australian to me, with the same greyish green foliage of correa. Our neighbours went away for a few weeks and we collected their mail and looked after their chickens. Each day I walked past the feijoa hedge and couldn’t help but get down on my hands and knees and scurry around to see if any more fruit had dropped. It wouldn’t wait on the ground until they got home, was my thinking!

A quirk of our houses is that our backyard actually has a gate onto their driveway – we guess that the old owners of the houses were friendly. It’s very handy for us at the moment as we’re renovating and the gate is the only access to our yard. Sometimes kids and chickens stray through to see what life is like on the other side.

The acidity of feijoas, which you might compare to passionfruit, makes them perfect for baking, and I’ve found that even people who’ve never eaten a feijoa before think this pie is delicious. The idea came from a recipe for papaya and lime meringue pie that will appear in a fantastic upcoming Balinese cookbook by Janet De Neefe, that I worked on recently as an editor. (Thanks Janet!)

Feijoa and lime meringue pie

shortcrust pastry (your favourite recipe)

300 g feijoa pulp
110 g (½ cup) sugar
1/3 cup cornflour (cornstarch)
pinch of salt
90 ml lime juice
40 g butter
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

3 egg whites
pinch of salt
75 g (1/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar

Brush a 26 cm tart tin with melted butter and dust it with flour. Roll out the pastry until large enough to cover the tin, but not too thinly, and lay it inside the tin. Trim off the excess pastry. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the pastry shell with baking paper and fill with baking weights or rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then lift out the baking paper and rice and bake for another 5 minutes, or until lightly golden.

While the pastry shell is cooking, make the filling. Blend the feijoa pulp until smooth. Put the sugar, cornflour and salt in a saucepan and stir to combine. Stir in the feijoa pulp and lime juice and place over gentle heat. Bring to the boil, stirring regularly so the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom. The mixture should become quite thick. Once boiling, remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Add the egg yolks and stir well. Return to very gentle heat and stir for a few more minutes, until the mixture is quite hot to touch and steam is rising from the surface. Remove from the heat.

To make the meringue, put the egg whites in a bowl and beat to firm peaks. Add the salt and sugar and beat until very thick and glossy.

Spread the warm feijoa filling inside the baked pastry shell. Cover with the meringue and use the back of a spoon to make decorative swirls through the meringue, or pull it up into mini peaks. Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes, until the meringue is lightly golden. Leave to cool to room temperature before serving.

Serves 10

2 thoughts on “Feijoa and lime meringue pie”

  1. Ooh, my favorite! Well, second maybe to pecan, or chocolate pecan, or maybe coconut…but right up there! It’s always so impressive but not that hard, really. Your top is just lovely with all of the little peaks 🙂 I love that lemon pie filling mix–add a little lemon zest and juice and you can make a lovely lemon curd (which otherwise feels like a lot of work!)

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