Monday, August 24, 2015

Lemon Meringue Pie

This post is a hard one to write but I figured today was a fitting day to write it. My grandma passed away this past spring. She was such a wonderful woman and it was one of the hardest moments of my life. She has been in my life for 39 years, took care of me when I was younger and continued to be there for me every step of the way. There are times when I start to think "I can't wait to talk to Gram about this" and then it hits me, I can't do that anymore... I'm not the first one to lose a loved one and I know that I'm not the only one that has that feeling, but it's my grief and it feels like I'm alone at times.

Everything happened quite quickly. One minute she was at home with my Grandpa and I was stopping over dropping off meals and treats and the next minute she was in the hospital. She came home and never made it back out of her hospital bed. That's a hard pill to swallow. In my mind, she never stopped. She was that grandma that was out mowing the lawn at 80... It was really hard to see her laid up in a hospital bed.

As she was in the hospital she told me that she was craving lemon meringue pie. She was a huge sweets fan. I know that I definitely inherited this from her! :) This has never been a favorite of mine, I'm not too partial to meringue, but I knew that this was one thing that I could give her. I came home and found a recipe for lemon meringue and made it for her. By the time that she got home she wasn't eating much, but it was my pleasure to be able to make what she wanted - even if she only enjoyed a bite of it... For my Gram it was the least I could do. So, enjoy... I don't think that I will ever see lemon meringue pie again without thinking of her.

Lemon Meringue Pie
(recipe found at

1/3 cup corn starch
1/3 cup flour
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 egg yolks, slightly beaten
Zest of 2 large lemons, very finely chopped
Juice of 2 large lemons
2 cups water
3 tablespoon butter

5 egg whites
11/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

To make the pastry, using a food processor or a pastry blender cut cold butter into flour and salt until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Small pieces of butter should still be visible. Pour cold water over the mixture and work in by tossing with a fork until dough begins to form. Use your hands as little as possible and work the dough as little as possible. Divide dough into 2 balls, flatten into 2 rounds, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes. You can freeze the second round for another time. You can make your dough the previous day but make sure you take it out of the fridge for 10 minutes to warm slightly before rolling out. Roll the dough into a 12 inch round and place in the bottom of a 10 inch pie plate. Trim and flute the edges as desired. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the pastry shell, rest in the refrigerator for an additional 20 minutes before baking at 400 for 12–15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before adding the filling.

To make the filling, in a medium saucepan, combine corn starch, cake flour, sugar and salt. Pour in water and stir constantly over medium low heat until mixture comes to a slow boil. The mixture should be very thick and paste-like at this point. Continue to cook, stirring constantly for another couple of minutes if necessary. Remove the pan from the heat and reduce the flame to low. Pour about a cup of this mixture onto the slightly beaten egg yolks while whisking constantly. Pour the egg mixture back into the rest of the other mixture in the pot, whisking constantly. Return to the stove and cook for an additional 3 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and lemon rind. Finally whisk in your butter one tbsp at a time. Pour the filling into the baked and cooled shell. Let stand for a few minutes while preparing the meringue.

To prepare the meringue, whip egg whites, vanilla, salt and cream of tarter to soft peaks. Very gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat the egg whites. Dollop in heaping tablespoonfuls onto pie. Gently spread over the filling, making sure that the meringue touches the crust all the way around the pie. This will help to prevent the meringue from shrinking. Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes or until the meringue is well browned. Cool pie thoroughly in the refrigerator before serving. Keep refrigerated. Dip a sharp knife in cold water to help with cutting the pie into slices and clean the knife with paper towel between cuts.

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