Before I get into today’s incredibly dessert-y post of these Blood Orange Meringue Bars, I must talk about David Bowie. Putting words into the stratosphere after something as shocking as a cosmonauts passing is not something easily done. David Bowie wasn’t just a man. He wasn’t just a rock star or fashion icon or actor. He was this figure so big that it felt like he would go on forever. I know, I’m saying things you’ve only likely heard dozens of times since you heard the news, but somehow that feeling was so collective among his fans that when it happened, when the news came through that he had passed there was shriek of confusion.
Not him. Not this figure so large. There are countless actors, singers, fashion icons, triple threats today that when I considered who of my generation would be mourned so fully, I couldn’t come up with a figure. Maybe FKA Twigs who is so unabashedly individual with such a unique voice that I can’t help but see her success rise. But that is a maybe, because really, who shakes the world today like he did? The roar of social media, TV shows, podcasts etc etc, is so large that its harder to stand out today. We are programmed to multi task and even then unable to pay full attention to everything we are doing.
Talking to a friend of mine who is in his sixties and who I not so quietly admire for the life he has lived (saw Jimi Hendrix play, has attended Glastonbury multiple times, makes shoes for 007 himself, calls me his favorite music critic (I blushed), the list goes on) after we learned the news and he shared what it was like to live in London in the 70’s during the height of his fame and said they would discuss at dinner parties what his next persona could be. That’s who David Bowie was, he was all encompassing.
My friend was the first person I text when the news broke through my phone upon waking on Monday, his response “my youth just died. He was immense. You had to be there in the early 70’s to understand the meteor impact he had. I remember the very first time I saw him, alien like, unworldly. Everything he did was perfect. I feel terribly sad.”
That is how our first Monday of a world without David Bowie was like and now he is on repeat on my playlist along with Matt Corby who is helping heal the wounds of loss. How are you coping with the loss?
I’m not overeating (it might help with mourning, but ultimately listening to his songs are probably the best option to keep this immense figure alive), because I’m sad, but this Blood Orange Meringue Slice is something that should really be served for dessert, I don’t say that lightly. Its very sweet, but also incredibly light with the fluffy meringue topping that floats on air. Meringue is something easy to whip up to deal with those frozen whites after all my custard making and these come together quickly.
Blood Orange Meringue Slice
Makes 16 slices
3/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons corn flour
1 tablespoon superfine/caster sugar
2 tablespoons confectioner’s/icing sugar
85g butter, chilled and cubed
Blood Orange Filling
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons blood orange juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped orange zest
2/3 cup superfine/caster sugar
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup superfine/caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350F and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Place the flours and sugars in a bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the center and add the butter. Combine with a fork until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Pour all the mixture into the base of a slice tin and flatten down tightly. Bake for approximately 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, place the orange juice, zest, sugar and egg yolks in a pot whisking to combine over medium heat until bubbling and thick. Pour over the base and bake for a further 10 minutes, until bubbling and jiggling only slightly.
Remove and allow to cool until warm.
Increase the temperature to 200ºC/400F. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a bowl with the pinch of salt and beat until soft peaks form, slowly add the sugar with 1 tablespoonful amount at a time and beat until dissolved. Continue beating until all the sugar has been mixed in.
Spoon over the orange syrup and return to the oven until golden on top, approximately 10 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool.
Slice and serve.