Spiced Pomegranate Meringue Pie
Spiced Pomegranate Meringue Pie (Photo/Faith Kramer)

A pie and a sundae inspired by this week’s Torah portion

The Torah portion Sh’lach Lecha is full of references to food. The spies sent to scout the land of Canaan return with bearing pomegranates, figs, grapes, and reports of milk and honey. The parashah, read on Saturday, June 20, and the spies’ bounty of fruit inspired these recipes.

Spiced Pomegranate Meringue Pie is a riff on the classic lemon meringue. If consuming meringue is a concern, serve topped with whipped cream instead.

Make extra sauce from the Fig Sundae with Sweet Tahini Sauce for spooning over yogurt or spreading on challah. Try it as a dip for frozen grapes (freeze seedless grapes in a single layer, then transfer to a bag). Store sauce in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before using.

Spiced Pomegranate Meringue Pie

Serves 8

  • 1 unbaked pie crust for 9-inch pie
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 6 Tbs. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups water
  • ¾ cups refrigerated pomegranate juice 
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 large egg yolks at room temperature, beaten 
  • Natural red food coloring, optional
  • Meringue (see below) 
  • Lemon zest for garnish, optional

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Press crust into 9- or 10-inch pie pan (not deep dish). Fold and pinch extra crust to form a fluted edge. Prick with fork all over the bottom and sides. Bake until golden or light brown, about 9 to 11 minutes for metal tin or about 11 to 13 minutes for glass or ceramic pan, using fork to prick any bubbles after 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool.

In a large saucepan, whisk sugar, cornstarch, salt, cardamom, cinnamon and water. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking continuously for about 3 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in pomegranate juice, lemon juice, zest and butter. Mix well. Take ½ cup from pot and stir into small bowl with yolks. Slowly whisk yolk mixture back into mixture in saucepan. Return pot to burner on medium-high heat. Cook about 3 minutes, whisking constantly, until thick and glossy. If desired, stir in a few drops of food coloring.

Let the pomegranate filling cool for 10 to 20 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Make meringue (see below). Spoon filling into baked crust. Coat with meringue, spreading it to edges so it touches fluted crust. Bake until top begins to color (watch carefully), about 3 minutes. Serve at room temperature garnished with zest. Refrigerate leftovers for up to two days.

Meringue: Place a few inches of hot water in a large bowl. In a slightly smaller non-plastic bowl (or bowl of an electric stand mixer) add 5 large egg whites (at room temperature), ½ cup sugar and ¼ tsp. salt. Place smaller bowl into larger one. Stir until whites are just warm to the touch (15 to 30 seconds). Remove inner bowl. Whip with electric hand or stand mixer on high until whites are firm and glossy, and peaks form when beaters are raised. (Adapted from “The Fannie Farmer Baking Book” by Marion Cunningham).

Notes: Use homemade or prepared crust. If frozen, follow package directions to defrost. Choose a pomegranate juice with no sugar or added flavors. 

Fig Sundae with Sweet Tahini Sauce

Serves 4

  • ½ cup tahini paste (stir in jar before measuring)
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup cold water plus as needed
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 3 to 4 Tbs. agave syrup
  • ½ cup dried figs, chopped into ¼- to ½-inch pieces
  • 2 to 4 cups vanilla dairy or nondairy ice cream
  • Silan (date syrup), optional

In a medium bowl, stir tahini until smooth. Stir in juice, water, salt and agave syrup. Stir until very smooth. Stir in more water by the tablespoon as needed, until sauce is thin enough to be spooned. Place ice cream in serving dishes. Top with figs and sauce. Drizzle with silan.

Fig Sundae with Sweet Tahini Sauce (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Fig Sundae with Sweet Tahini Sauce (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is faithkramer.com. Contact her at [email protected].