Now that the holidays have passed and there's time for such things, my mother has gotten back to me with her recipe for nesselrode pie with a meringue crust. If I were to make this, I do think I'd redistribute the sugar, and use 3/4 cup for the meringue and 1/2 cup for the filling. The baking time is awfully short at that temp, but the meringue *is* supposed to stay soft.
Paraphrased from the Complete American Cookbook, Stella Standard, 1957.
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup candied fruit (citron, cherries, pineapple, currants)
1/3 cup Jamaican rum
3/4 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg whites, beaten until stiff
3/4 cup cream, whipped
Shaved bittersweet chocolate for garnish
Make meringue shell:
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Beat egg whites until frothy; add cream of tartar and continue to beat until peaks form. Gradually add and beat in sugar until stiff peaks form. Pour into a buttered 9-inch glass pie plate, and use a spoon to push meringue up sides of pan, so bottom and sides are covered. Bake 20 minutes, or until light yellow. Chill (meringue will collapse when cold).
Soak candied fruit in rum for at least 2 hours in a covered container. Bring milk to a simmer. Whisk egg yolks and sugar thoroughly. Gradually whisk hot milk into egg yolks, then return to pan and continue whisking over low heat until slightly thickened. Meanwhile, soak gelatin powder in cold water. When custard is thickened, whisk in gelatin mixture. Transfer to a large bowl and chill. When cold but not set, mix in vanilla, rum, and fruit; fold in egg whites, then fold in whipped cream. Pour filling into chilled meringue shell, and refrigerate pie overnight. Garnish with shaved chocolate before serving.
And an aside for fruitcake lovers whose loved ones don't care for dense, boozy fruitcakes or candied fruit: a good compromise is the recipe for Golden Fruitcake on Epicurious, which is really a pound cake with bits of marzipan, dried fruit, and nuts throughout. I modify it by using pecans in place of pinenuts and dried cranberries in place of dates, but that's my personal preference. Fruitcake haters have been known to swoon over this; like one of the reviewers on Epicurious, you can always tell your skeptical friends that it's "fruit and nut poundcake" and skip that particular F-word. This keeps quite a long time, too, though nothing like as long as a liquor-cured fruitcake.