Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Cake Meringue Pie

This is a really easy and quick dessert to put together but it’s also seriously addictive. It's an odd and very old recipe. It must be old because I remember eating a version of it as a kid.

I often hear TV chefs telling us that, although they were poor as kids, the mothers and grandmothers would always conjure up wonderful meals out of next to nothing. That wasn’t my experience. Most mothers and grandmothers were just too busy or too tired from working every day to cook anything very much at all. But I do remember one or two dishes and this is my attempt to recreate a pudding that the mother of one of my friends made. To be honest, I’m not sure it’s a very accurate recreation (it was a very long time ago) but I’m pretty sure that cake and marshmallowy meringue were involved somewhere.

My friend’s mother was from Scotland and so I always assumed that this odd little dish was from the same country. I’ve only fairly recently realised that it’s actually very like the venerable American dish ‘soda cracker pie’ and so how it came to the streets of south London in the days before the Beatles is anyone’s guess.

For this version I used a slice of a banana and dark chocolate cake that my wife baked, which worked really well, but other types of cake will do. Madeira cake, lemon cake, almond and other nut cakes would all make excellent substitutes. The white chocolate is optional but very nice, of course.

Whipped cream is the obvious thing to pile on top, but the pie is very sweet and I prefer the slight sharpness of thick yoghurt. However, I do confess to adding a little chocolate Philadelphia to my slice as well.
Cake Meringue Pie
I reckon that you can get 6 to 8 restrained portions from this amount, but it’s ridiculously hard to be restrained. Incidentally, if you leave out the cake component, this recipe is similar to the equally venerable ‘forgotten pudding’, which is also an outrageously addictive treat. Nigella has revived that recipe and her version can be found here.

4 egg whites
225 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
¼ tsp cream of tartar
125 g cake (see above)
25 g white chocolate, chopped into very small pieces.

Thoroughly butter a cake tin – I used a 30cm square tin. Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Whisk the egg whites to the soft peak stage. Add the vanilla and cream of tartar. Continue whisking while gradually adding the sugar until the whites are stiff and glossy.

Whiz the cake into crumbs in a processor. Fold the cake crumbs and chocolate into the egg whites. Place the mixture into the tin, levelling the top. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until the top is crispy and golden.

Allow to cool in the tin before carefully removing – it’s a fragile thing. The pie will sink in the middle as it cools; this is normal – it’s where you add the creamy bits.

And finally a picture of me at roughly the time I enjoyed my first cake meringue pie – just to prove how old I am, I suppose.
The Early Soup Years

24 comments:

  1. awww... look at you. Love the Panama hat!
    cake meringue pie... three wonderful words put together, YUM! and banana with dark chocolate are so good! I need a slice :)

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  2. Love your photo!! So cute! and the cake looks great too... must give it a try :)

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  4. Oops, decided to delete previous comment due to careless typo .....

    Wow, great cake, great hat and wonderful old cars !!
    Really, the pie looks gorgeous and another use for that lovely choccyphilly !!
    I must give this one a try - thanks for the recipe !!

    I remember well my mother and grandmother rustling up something from next to nothing. It wasn't always very tasty but this was in the nineteen thrifties (1950's) when money was short but there were always plenty of veg in the garden.
    Mostly we just ate what was put in front of us and were grateful for it. If your mum happened to be a good cook, like mine, you were lucky. One of my schoolfriends had jam or golden syrup sandwiches for tea every day after school......it would probably be chicken nuggets these days !!

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    1. Sadly we didn't have a garden but I do remember growing a few tomatoes in an old beer crate now that you mention it. You've reminded me about golden syrup sandwiches as well - I had plenty of those. Funnily enough, I really fancy one right now.

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  5. Such an interesting cake with cake in it as an ingredient! It looks very similar to a cake my mum makes that uses egg whites but ground almonds are added instead of ground cake!! Anyway looks scrum my as do you in that hat!

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  6. Mmm.. what to say! This is an original and very nice recipe. I love meringue and this cake is very interesting. Well done Phil!

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  7. Love the photo, The cars (and hat) are great! This sounds so delicious I am positive I could eat it easily in one go, with no help!

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  8. I want that hat now! And a piece of that scrumptious looking cake wouldn't go amiss either now, would it?

    I get where you're coming from about the mothers and grandmothers. I was lucky enough to grow up with a lot of fresh food, meat, fish and veg... even though I grumbled my way through many of the dishes, but my mum actually didn't like cooking, and neither did my grandma. They were both great cooks and their food was always amazing, but they just did not like cooking. For them it was a chore to be done. My grandfather, on the other hand, was a wedding cook (he used to cook at traditional weddings) and he was amazing and had a real flair for it, and he loved it too. I am hoping I am turning out more like him :)

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  9. What an interesting, and delicious, way of making the last piece of cake in the tin go further - it must be a wartime austerity recipe, surely?

    You're tempting me to buy Chocolate Philly again - I've resisted so far!

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    1. That's a good thought - it might be wartime recipe. Although I suppose it might need too many eggs for that kind of recipe. My advice on choccy Philly, by the way, is that resistance is futile.

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  10. What a brilliant idea!
    Is that really you in the photo? That is a cracking photograph! I hope you have that on display in your house.

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    1. I promise that really is me. Although the hat, the cars and even the whole street are long gone, I'm still here. I don't display it in my home since it would mean I'd have to take down one of the Picassos or Monets.

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  11. 1 Cake + 1 Meringue + 1 Pie x 1 bowl and spoon = one very happy Chele ;0)

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  12. Gorgeous recipe with a lovely story, I now need to get the ingredients and make it before going to Istanbul!! looks so inviting - loved the idea of making use of the previous cake too.
    Your photo looks brilliant, like a poster! You were obviously very stylish since childhood - the hat is a keeper :)!

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  13. This looks very tempting! Love the photo too.

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  14. That sounds interesting, we never had anything like that. Love the photo of you in your panama and I also love the cars in the street. Hope you have a good weekend. Diane

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  15. Love the idea of a cake meringue pie - all of the best things in one dessert. Choccy philly is something I wouldn't have thought of adding though!

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  16. Hi Phil, I gave a link to this lovely recipe at my post below, for an Olympic feast, hope you enjoy it!Have the racers passed by Cobham? it was a sight to see at Weybridge!Ozlem
    http://ozlemsturkishtable.com/2012/07/olympics-london-2012-indeed-inspires-a-generation-and-mens-cycling-road-race-by-our-street/

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    1. Thanks so much for including my dessert in that excellent feast. The men's and women's races pass by a few miles from Cobham but the Time Trials on the first of August are right on the doorstep. I've just been watching some of the TV coverage of the race and the Surrey countryside looked very green and pleasant. That's a good thing because Surrey can be green and pleasant and not just a big London suburb - well, not entirely.

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  17. This pudding looks fantastic and mouthwatering. The outside looks crispy and moist in the middle. I love those two textures together. : )I've seen the forgotten pudding on one of Nigella's book and I'm quite tempted to give it a go. Been so busy with the kiddies lately and lack energy to cook something up. I must snap out of it!

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  18. What an inspiring idea and it looks delicious. Love the photo - is that an Austin A35 in the top right corner, if so, we had one of those my Dad bought for £25! The hat looks great too.

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    1. My entire car knowledge could probably be written on the back of a small postcard while leaving room for the address, but I think you're right. There were an awful lot of Austins around at the time.

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