Tuesday, February 19

lemon meringue pie

The other day I made jlongo a lemon meringue pie because I like him a lot, and because I'm trying to get better at making pie. Here's the breakdown:

  • making meringue - so way easier than I'd ever imagined. There will be lots of meringue having in my apartment from now on, since nothing is better than airy-fairy sugar and egg whites. And, beating the eggs gets out my aggression even when it's electrically powered. (I baked an extra wee meringue blob and ate it myself.)

  • I find the use of eggs in this pie incredibly satisfying. There are three used altogether: all the yolks go in the lemon custards; all the whites in the meringue. How logical & symmetrical.
  • God! pie crust is just damn difficult. This time I used a slightly simpler recipe -- it's always pretty much the same three ingredients, but before I was using a mixture of Crisco and butter. Crisco is supremely white trash sounding to me, and the combo always seemed unnecessarily complicated, so it was a delight to use only butter. But on that step where you're supposed to make the flour and butter the consistency of small peas (wtf is a small pea? I've only ever seen peas of one standard frozen size) something went awry. Somehow I both mixed too much -- the pie was terribly tough and chewy -- and too little -- when I was rolling it out, I saw huge hunks of unintegrated butter. (Here is the pie crust, before I made it all the size of "small" peas.)
  • After a pie crust failure there's not really much to do. You can throw it out, untasted. But that's kind of a gamble against yourself, because maybe unincorporated butter is a good sign. So I didn't throw it out and jlongo carefully and fastidiously ate around the crust. I ate it; it wasn't really as bad as I'm making it sound.
  • The pudding was the most fun part to make. When I was growing up, I was often in charge of making the My-T-Fine pudding, and this was a similar process, with just a few more steps. After combining cornstarch, sugar, and water you stir until the stuff gets thick & boils, or until your arm is near falling-off. It's tough work, but again, good for aggression. Then you add eggs, lemon juice (I hand squeezed!), etc. It's pretty yummy, and since I cooked alone, I ate everything that was leftover in the pot, thanks-it-was-delicious-and-meant-easier-dishes. (Pictured here is more butter, melting into the pudding.)
Finally, do the dishes (and breeze a sigh of relief that your roommate isn't home to bear witness to the kitchen disaster):

(Note: Perhaps you're noticing the lemon juice bottle over to the left of the kitchen disaster area. I did hand squeeze the lemons; I did not lie to you. I just didn't really know how many lemons would make half a cup of juice. Turns out, it's more than three big ones, which meant I had to use some trusty lemon juice in a bottle.)

EDITED: ugh, i fixed my monstrous headline typo.


Karol said...

I'm sorry to gay out here but do you have a recipe that you followed? Your pie sounded gooood and doable for a new cook.

madcat said...

oh, if I could make it, it's TOTALLY doable for a new cook. I used this recipe from Betty Crocker: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/recipe.aspx?recipeid=35494

I hope it tastes yummy!