Monday, January 28, 2013

Baking Sweet Memories






My dad came home after serving as a Marine in the Korean conflict and took a job as a tire builder in the same factory as his own father and several of his brothers. It was a good job but it seemed as if he spent a lot of time either on strike or laid off. French fries and pies was how my parents stretched our food budgets during those lean days. 

As a child, I never felt as if we were missing a thing at the dinner table because of my father’s pies. While my father wasn't a baking aficionado, he knew how to make a mean pie crust and a darned good lemon filling.  

Dad passed away more than twenty years ago. My favorite color has always been yellow. I think it might have something to do with the sweet memories of baking lemon pie with him! 

ROGER’S LEMON MERINGUE PIE 
Pie Filling
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 large lemons, juiced and zested (reserve 1/4 teaspoon for meringue)
2 tablespoons butter
4 egg yolks, beaten
Your favorite 9 inch flaky pie crust, pre-baked

Meringue
4 egg whites
6 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lemon Filling: Using a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to avoid scorching, until mixture comes to a boil. 

Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thick. Add butter, remove from heat and continue to stir until butter melts in. Let cool 5 minutes then pour filling into baked pastry shell.

Meringue: Using a large metal bowl (copper is best but stainless will do), whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, sealing the edges at the crust. Sprinkle top of meringue with zest. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.