LANCASHIRE PUMPKIN PIE
For the pie:
350g shortcrust pastry 700g diced pumpkin
140g caster sugar
25g unsalted butter, melted 2 eggs, beaten
½ tsp grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
For the meringues:
3 egg whites (room temperature)
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C (fan)/gas mark 4. Roll the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and use it to line either one 22cm pie dish, or four smaller pie dishes. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
While the pastry bases are chilling, chop the pumpkin flesh into small pieces, ensuring that no seeds remain. Place the pumpkin in a large pan, cover with water, and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes before removing from the heat.
Remove the pastry bases from the refrigerator. Add a circle of baking paper and a handful of baking beans to each base before baking in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the baking paper and beans before baking for another 10 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the pie filling.
Puree the cooked pumpkin by pushing it through a sieve or using a hand blender. Combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl. Add the eggs, melted butter, and milk, stirring briskly until smooth. Pour in the pumpkin puree and continue to mix.
Increase the oven temperature to 220C/200C (fan)/gas mark 7. Ladle the pie filling into the pastry bases and use any left over pastry to add a decorate crust or pastry decorations. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature back down to 180C/160C (fan)/gas mark 4 for a further 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer, beating on a high speed until frothy. Allow the mixer to keep beating the mixture while you add the sugar, one spoonful at a time. Continue until the sugar is fully incorporated and the meringue stands in soft peaks. Gently fold in the vanilla extract.
Place the meringue mix in a piping bag fitted with a star shaped nozzle. Pipe small quantities of the mixture around the edges of the pies before crisping up with a culinary blowtorch. Serve immediately with a dollop of cream.