Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cantaloupe Pie

I know, sounds strange, but it's kind of amazing.

     My mother brought me several wonderful cantaloupes out of her garden.  They were delicious just by themselves, but I didn't think I could eat all of them before they went bad.  I set about looking for different ways to use them and came across this recipe from  This pie is flavorful, fresh, and totally satisfying on a hot summer day.  I tried it out on friends and family and everyone loved it.  Several people said it tasted like banana. The only thing I changed was that I made a traditional crust instead of the shortbread crust the original recipe calls for. 

Pie crustFrom the old standby, Better Homes and Gardens red checkered cook book.

1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose f lour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
5 to 5 tablespoons cold water

     Sift flour and salt together; cut in shortening with pastry blender till pieces are the size of small peas.  Sprinkle a tablespoon of water over mixture one section at a time and mix with fork until moistened.  Form into a ball.  Place onto a lightly floured surface and roll until 1/8" thick.
     Place dough into pie plate.  Trim edge to 1/2" - 1" beyond edge.  Fold over and finish edge as desired.  Prick sides and bottom with fork.  Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes until golden.

Pie filling
1 large very ripe cantaloupe
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. water
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla

3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
6 tbsp. sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut up cantaloupe, scoop out the seeds and pulp. Place into a large saucepan.
  2. Cook the cantaloupe over medium heat until it reaches a gentle boil.  Mash the cantaloupe as it heats to bring out all the juice. Transfer the mashed cantaloupe to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Pour 2 cups of the cantaloupe back into the saucepan.
  3. Mix together flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 tsp. of water. Add the flour and cornstarch mixtures to the cantaloupe and cook, stirring, until thickened.
  4. Separate eggs, placing the yolks into a medium bowl and the whites in small bowl. Set aside the whites and let come to room temperature.
  5. Beat egg yolks until smooth. Add 2 tbsp. of water. Stir a little of the cantaloupe mixture into the egg yolks in order to heat the yolks gradually. Pour the yolk mixture into cantaloupe mixture. Continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the filling is thick and creamy and can coat a spoon.
  6. Remove from heat. Add in butter and vanilla and stir until the butter has fully melted. The filling should look like a custard or pudding.
  7. Pour into the baked pie crust.
  8. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar together until frothy. Continue beating, adding 6 tablespoons sugar (feel free to use less if you prefer your desserts less sweet) gradually, until stiff peaks form. Scoop the meringue on top of the pie filling and smooth with a spatula.
  9. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until delicately brown on top. Cool completely. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Store in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap.
My meringue shrank when it baked, but hey, it doesn't have to look perfect to taste good, right?  Also, after the pie had cooled there was some liquid that accumulated even though the mixture was very thick when I poured it into the shell.  I simply (and very carefully) tipped the pie and drained off the liquid.  This worked fine and the pie was not runny or watery when I sliced it.  Overall, I was very happy with how this pie turned out.  I hate to see fresh garden goodies go to waste!

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