Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie Experiment

My Grandma used to make the best Lemon Meringue Pie, hands down. I have never been able to make it like her and have never tried. Last night, however, I was at a friends house and we decided to bake. Just because. We were trying to decide what to make when she mentioned she just learned how to make Lemon Meringue Pie, with a shortcut. I'm all about shortcuts, so away we went.
The recipe was scratched out by her Aunt onto a recipe card. This particular Aunt doesn't really measure, so here is an attempt at explaining it.

These are the shortcut ingredients: Jell-O cook and serve (lemon flavor) and ready made pie crust. Feel free to make your own, I have not mastered that skill yet. Put the crust in a 400 degree oven for about 10min to brown.

In a shallow pot place the Jell-O, 1/2 cup + 2 Tbls of Sugar, and 1/4 cup water until combined.

Add 3 egg yolks (save whites for meringue) and gradually add scant 2 cups of water (basically 2 cups minus 2 Tbls) Cook this over medium heat, stirring Constantly, until thick. Take off heat and let sit 3-4 min (this is an important step, which we forgot) Don't forget to let it sit, lesson learned. AFTER it sits, add 2 Tbls butter or margerine and 3 Tbls of lemon juice. Set aside and on to the meringue.

Take your reserved 3 egg whites and add 3 Tbls of ICE cold water, emphasis on the ICE cold and a pinch of Cream of Tartar, yes just a pinch, so stick your finger in there and pinch some out. Beat them until you think they are peaked and then beat them again. These whites need to firmly stand on their own. I still think I didn't beat them enough because the meringue didn't stand very high. When you are positive they are firm and peaking beyond reason add 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla and yes, beat again.

After you are done with the beating, pour the lemon mixture into the baked pie shell. Spoon the meringue over the lemon filling and start "peaking" with your spatula. I am sure the peaks were supposed to be higher, but we couldn't turn back at this point. Should have beat longer, oh well.

Bake at 400 for about 5 min, you just want to brown the meringue.

Voila! Lemon Meringue Pie!

Of course we couldn't wait for it to cool, so we dove right in. Yes it was messy, but we didn't care, it was lemony, yummy goodness. Still not like Grandma used to make, but definitely good enough to eat a slice and then sneak another.

On a side note, it is runny because it was hot, but also because we forgot to let it sit way back at the beginning. It will still be a little runny, however, but it will set better.

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