Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter, and Oh My Lemon Meringue Pie!

Easter is one of my favorite Holidays. I do remember our Easter's growing up. Mom would make my sister and I matching dresses and some of them where crocheted. Just gorgeous. My sister and I for many years always had matching outfits, and my brother was dressed in a color that matched as well. We had a huge breakfast at Grandma's, sometimes an Easter egg hunt and the best Easter baskets ever. Then after Easter service where the everyone was dressed to the nines, we would have Easter dinner at Grandma's. I think lemon meringue pie is the quintessential dessert for Easter. Big pillow puffs of meringue, which I love to eat right off the whisk and a bright, very lemony, I mean where your cheeks pucker in a bit and Hello lemony tart flavor. I like my lemon meringue pies more on the tart side with just a touch of sweetness. Our Mom would make one every Easter and Thanksgiving. Her pies where masterpieces. The crust was always perfect, and she would make these beautiful individual meringue puffs. I remember her taking a cookie sheet placing a piece of foil over it and marking out six 4" circles on the foil. She would lightly spray it with cooking and spray and then fill each circle with the meringue, making them tall and full. They would get baked just till the peaks were getting brown and then she would pull them from the oven. Once the crust and the filling were cool, which I never did ask why she never made her filling from scratch, but always used the Jello pudding and pie filling, she would fill the crust and gently remove the meringues and place them on top of pie. I haven't followed in her steps, except for making the crust from scratch. I do make my own filling and top the entire pie with meringue. I like it when you don't see the lemon filling and your guest are wondering is it lemon, grapefruit, key lime chiffon, etc, etc.... I do know one thing is that Mom's pie was delicious and there were never any leftovers. She was an amazing cook and baker among many other things that she did well. There is no doubt about how fun Easter is with dying eggs, baskets, dressing up, baking and enjoy a meal with family & friends. More than all of that, with Spring and the rebirth of all things greens, we too can have a rebirth, because Amen, and Praise The Lord, Jesus was victorious over death! Have a blessed Easter!

The Easter story continued- Matthew 28:1-7 After the sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came  down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him. Now I have told you." 

I just love that "is going ahead of  you into" Do you ever hear little ones say, "you go or you do it first?"Well, my friends, Jesus is ahead of us first, he has already gone there, waiting for us, we just need to follow.. 

Lemon Meringue Pie 
(Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster)


1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon extract (for that extra lemony flavor)
3 lemons (grated zest of 2, juice of 3)
6 large eggs, separated
4 Tablespoons butter cut into pieces
1 pre-baked pie shell (use your favorite recipe or if your not into making crust, a frozen pie shell or the refrigerated dough works just as well)
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon extract, lemon juice and 1 1/2 cups of water in a heavy bottomed saucepan placed over medium heat and stir to combine. Stirring constantly until the mixture begins to boil 6-7 minutes, and continue to boil, stirring until it is thick and glossy for about 1 minute more.

Lightly beat the egg yolks in a small mixing bowl and then whisk 1/2 cup of the hot sugar mixture into egg yolks  until smooth. Pour the warmed egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining sugar mixture and whisk constantly over very low heat for about 4 minutes, until it thickens to the consistency of pudding. Be very careful not overcook the custard, it will curdle if it is cooked to long over the high heat. 

Remove the custard from the heat and whisk in the butter and the lemon zest, and pour into the pre-baked pie crust. 

To make the meringues, place the egg whites in a mixing bowl and beat for about 1 minute until they begin to thicken. Increase the speed of the mixer to high and continue beating until the egg whites are frothy. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat until the whites form soft peaks. The peaks will hold their shape when you lift the batters out of the bowl.

Spread the meringue over the filling touching the sides. Hide the filling with the meringue!!
I like to make swirls and peaks with the back of the spoon. Bake the pie on a center rack in the oven for 10-12 minutes, just till the peaks are turning brown. Cool for at least 1 hour before serving. 

Eat Well, Sonya