Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Margie's Home Made Lemon Meringue Pie

My cousin Margie is an incredible gourmet cook. Both of our mothers -- sisters Tora and Lily -- were phenomenal pie makers. This recipe comes from my Mom and her Mom. The Lemon Meringue recipe is from my Aunt Lily Meyer. Margie labeled the recipe, "Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie." The pie crust is from my Mom, Tora Hutchison. No matter how delicious the pie recipe I usually can make it better than the cook who gave it to me because of Mom's crust. My Mom, Tora Hutchison, owned a restaurant in Los Angeles in the 1950s. That's where she met my Dad. And the pie crust comes from the Mystery Chef who had a radio program during that time. It's made with pure butter (I use organic butter), so it's hard to get into the pie pan, but the great thing about pie crust is if it falls apart, it can be remolded in the pan. So this posting is now dedicated to sisters Tora and Lily, now deceased.
First, the Crust,
Sift together 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon Watkins Aluminum Free Baking Powder,
1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/8 teaspoon of salt, then put in 1/2 cup softened organic butter. Cut with a knife, then flour your hands and rub the butter and flour together until thoroughly mixed. Add 1 teaspoon water and mold into a ball.
Roll it out and put in the pie pan. Prick the crust with a fork. Bake at 425 degrees F for about 12 minutes. Don't let it burn.

Set aside the 9 inch pie shell -- cooked.

Then, The Filling
Mix 3/4 cup sugar with 6 Tablespoons cornstarch and 1 Tablespoon flour. Stir in 1 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, for one minute. (It happens fast. Don't leave the stove)
Add very fine zest of one lemon. (There is a cooking tool called a lemon zester, and it's phenomenal for getting the skin of a lemon off a lemon. One could use a carrot grater, but it gives you more white part. The Lemon Zester just takes off the very flavorful yellow skin of the lemon very finely. This stuff is delicious in the filling.)
Remove from heat and beat in 4 beaten egg yolks. Return to heat and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and beat in approximately 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice to taste. I added a little more sugar and lemon juice, and I got my lemons from the lemon tree in my back yard.
Put the filling in the crust. Spoon meringue on top. Bake in oven at 400 degrees until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Now the Meringue
The way you make the Meringue is to beat four egg whites until frothy, and add 1/2 tsp Watkins Cream of Tartar (only available in the fall so get it now. And it's on sale in December for only $4.49)
Continue beating the egg whites, adding 1/2 cup sugar slowly until the egg whites are stiff and hold a peak. Then for the piece de resistance, add 1/2 teaspoon each of Watkins All-Natural Pure Almond Extract, Watkins All-Natural Pure Lemon Extract and Watkins Pure Vanilla Extract. You'll be glad you chose the pure version of our extracts for this pie. Normally, we recommend Original Double Strength Vanilla and the imitation versions of the Lemon and Almond Extracts as the flavor doesn't cook off. But in a meringe, which will be in the oven briefly, or in frosting or whipping cream, I much prefer the pure natural version of our extracts. If you aim for even more unbelievable flavor you can use the Watkins Organic Pure Vanilla Extract.

Hope you enjoy this pie. Susan Fox

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