Tag Archives: cookbooks

Lemon Meringue Pie

I’m in love.

Sorry Scott, that you had to find out this way (although you had to know this was coming).

Did I mention that my new-found love is a small kitchen appliance?

My mother sent this to me for my upcoming birthday.  Now my birthday isn’t for another six weeks or so (and it’s the dreadful 3-0) but apparently she couldn’t wait.

I am so glad that she didn’t.

I think I wept for joy.  I have been coveting a KitchenAid stand mixer for several years now. Several! But I am picky, and addicted to color so it had to be just right.

I love the green.

I love it.

I love my mother.

I may even love my upcoming birthday.

 

I couldn’t wait to test it out … but struggled to find the perfect first thing to make.

I consulted the food gods.

I played “What-do-I currently-have-in-my-cupboards-and-don’t-need-to-go-out-in-the-snow-to-the-grocery-store-that-I-could-make?” game.

And decided on Lemon (kind of) Meringue Pie from The Joy of Cooking.

I like this choice.  It serves several purposes.  1) I have all of the necessary ingredients (with a some substitutions). 2) I have to seriously beat some egg whites for the meringue and my new toy is perfect for that. 3) This pie reminds me of my great-grandfather Pete.  Now I am not sure if this was his favorite pie or not, but in my memory it definitely is.  4) This pie also reminds me of summertime with its light and citrus-y flavor, which is perfect as it is about 7 degrees and snowing here in Minneapolis and I could use the escape.

Lemon Meringue Pie (in three parts)

Part I: The crust

So I cheated here and used a store-bought crust that was hanging out in my fridge.  I am not sure why I had this, but I did and because I didn’t want to make a huge mess on my counters by rolling out my own,  I went ahead and used it.

I have to admit – it was pretty damn convenient.

Though I did try and make it pretty by pinching the edges just the way my mother taught me.

Cover with foil and fill with pie weights (or rice in this case) and bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Once out of the oven, remove the foil (returning the rice back to its canister) and let cool.

Part II: Lemon Custard

Sift into a pot:

1 1/2 cups sugar

6 T cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

Add:

1/2 cup lemon juice*

1/2 cup cold water

Whisk until smooth.

*Technically, I should call this citrus juice as its part lemon juice and part fresh grapefruit juice (which explains the pink color).

Whisk in:

3 egg yolks, beaten well (keep whites from 2 eggs for meringue)

2 T butter

Add:

1 1/2 cups boiling water

Bring to a boil.

Once thick, reduce to a simmer and cook for an additional minute.

Add:

1 tsp citrus zest (I used grapefruit)

Pour into cooled pie shell.

Part III: The Meringue, featuring the stand mixer

Whip together:

2 egg whites

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Once stiff, add:

4 T powdered sugar, 1 T at a time

1 tsp vanilla

Top pie with meringue.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until peaks start to brown.

Let cool before cutting into or else you will get lemon soup.

I think I am going to be spending the rest of my Sunday dreaming up what to make next.

It really is love, and unlike Scott (who is in Florida), the KitchenAid will be in my kitchen and by my side while I deal with the Midwestern winter.

Although, hopefully, both Scott and the KitchenAid will be by my side for many years to come.

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Lazy Sunday

It was a lovely, lazy Sunday.  So lazy, in fact, I am having trouble recalling exactly what I did today.  I spent most of the day trying to distract myself from all of the festivities happening this weekend in Gainesville.  (Scott was playing host to his parents and some good friends and I desperately wanted to be down there with them).  So instead, I drank nearly an entire pot of coffee while perusing my cookbooks, with Food Network playing in the background.  I took a nap.  I made some progress on a knitting project.  I did the dishes and vacuumed the rug.   I made a simple dinner and re-read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Then I decided to roll up my sleeves and spend some more time in the kitchen.  It’s been no secret that I have been having lots of warm, fuzzy feelings for autumn.  A couple of weeks ago, while my mother was in town, we went apple picking.  We picked up some apple cider and a bag full of fresh, crunchy Honeycrisps.  Both of which have been sitting in my refrigerator.  So I did something about it.  Because it was Sunday.  Yes, it may have been 75 degrees outside, but the leaves have been changing color and these apples have been on my mind.

First, I made some mulled cider.  I found a recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Bon Appetit’s Fast Easy Fresh.  I halved the recipe, as it was just me drinking it.  It was pretty simple and suited my state of mind.

Spiced Apple Cranberry Cider

**********
1 1/2 cups unfiltered apple cider
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice (I used cranberry pomegranate, and was pleased with the substitution)
The juice and peel from 1/2 orange
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon nutmed
1/2 teaspoon cloves.
**********

Combine all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil until sugar dissolves.  Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.  I decided put my cider through my french press to to collect the cinnamon sticks and orange peel.  You could spike it with rum or brandy if you like.  That’s it.  Easy as pie and just as delicious.

I thought about making an apple pie.  But, as today was a lazy Sunday, I decided to do something easier than pie: Apple Brown Betty.  I actually prefer this to apple pie.  It has to do with the crust.  I am a sucker for any sort of flour, brown sugar and butter combo (and doesn’t require a rolling pin).  I think it might have been one of the first things my mom taught me to make as a kid (it was either this or macaroni and cheese, I can’t quite remember) and it’s stuck with me.  I made a relatively small dish but it is pretty easy to scale up.

Mom’s Apple Brown Betty

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3 baking apples peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
~1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
**********
 

Arrange apple slices on the bottom of a baking dish.  Combine remaining ingredients and cut in butter.  Sprinkle on top of apples and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.  I prefer to use a larger baking dish with a shallow layer of apples such that my apple to crust ratio is quite high.  Don’t be tempted to take it out of the oven too soon.  The beauty is in the crispy crust.  It’s almost like breaking the sugar on a creme brulee.  Crispy, sweet with soft baked apples underneath.  It makes a great dessert, but an even better breakfast (and should make Monday morning that much sweeter).  My father always likes his with a thick slice of cheddar cheese (something I still can’t bring myself to try), but I prefer mine with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

So not a total waste of a day.  Now to sit back to reflect upon this week’s episode of Mad Men with a second helping of Apple Brown Betty…