Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's National Pie Day! My First Lemon Meringue Pie

Happy Pie Day!!! Okay, I admit it, this is my third National Pie Day here at Months of Edible Celebrations. On my very first National Pie Day, I shared one of my favorite die-cut recipe booklets titled Fairy Pie. Although it is a charming little booklet, in the shape of a mince pie, there aren't any recipes in it. Instead, it is composed like a Mother Goose Tale. The children in the story share their desire for "a goody in the whole wide world in a single bite."

Fairy Pie

With visions of childhood come those luscious mince pies
so tender, so juicy, so sweet!
When brought from the oven what aroma would rise
Our tantalized nostrils to greet!

In 2009 I discovered January 23rd is not only National Pie Day, it is also National Rhubarb Pie Day!!! I also learned at the American Pie Council, that "English tradition credits the first cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth I."

Since Michigan celebrates Statehood in the month of January (26th) and because they have IMHO the best cherries EVER, I am including a recipe for Traverse City Cherry Berry Pie from the cookbook the Best of the Best from Michigan Selected Recipes from Michigan's Favorite Cookbooks. (1996, Quail Ridge Press) From the Preface:

Michigan, the Great Lakes State, is a cornucopia of wonderful things...Traverse City, the Cherry Capital of the World, offers everything from cherry pie to cherry hamburgers...

National Pie Day is sponsored by the American Pie Council. It is "dedicated to the celebration of pie."  The American Pie Celebration began in 1986 to commemorate Crisco's 75th anniversary of "serving foods to families everywhere." According to a Favorite Brand Name Recipes soft cover booklet I have titled American Pie Celebration, copyright 1991, "Crisco pie baking contests are held at major state or country fairs in each of the fifty states." then, the winner of each contest represents his or her state at a national competition for the title of "Baker of the American Pie."

My First Lemon Meringue Pie

As many of you know, I'm not a baker. That said, I started my preparation for this post a few days ago. I wanted to serve up a savory pie for National Pie Day. Actually, I had a savory pie in mind called, Impossibly Easy Breakfast Pie. As it turns out, it didn't!!! Oh, it "turned" out okay however, it just didn't knock me off my socks!!! However, I can't really blame it on the recipe. I swapped out a few ingredients and added a few of my own. Truth be told, I was never one for those impossible pies touted by Bisquick decades ago. (did I just write decades eeeeeee.....)

In an attempt to challenge my baking skills, and put to work the food processor my son and Kyla let me borrow, I chose a recipe out of American Pie Celebration, to bake for you today. It was a difficult choice. I finally decided on Classic Lemon Meringue Pie for a few reasons. First, I've never baked Lemon Meringue Pie before. Second because, I crave a bit of sunshine. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled it hasn't snowed in a while but boy oh boy, I've about had it with gloomy days. Lemons remind me of sunshine. I bet they do the same for you too!!! I'll begin with the crust.

Single Crust Food Processor Method
1-1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Crisco® Shortening
3 tablespoons cold water
1. Place Crisco, water, and flour in processor blow. sprinkle salt over flour.
2. Process 3 to 5 seconds until dough just forms. Shape into ball. Note: For flakier crust, freeze Crisco in tablespoons-size chunks before processing. I did
3. Press dough between hands to form 5-to-6-inch "pancake." Flour rolling surface and rolling pin lightly. Roll dough into circle. Ed Note: (I don't have a rolling pin anymore. I sent it off to Michele a few years ago thinking I would never need it:) The only thing I could find that resembled a rolling pin was part of a napkin holder my neighbor in Bellefonte made for me quite a few years ago.
4. Turn your pie plate upside-down and trim dough 1-inch larger around the pie plate. Loosen dough carefully.
5. Fold dough into quarters. Unfold and press into pie plate. Fold edge under and flute. (there was no fluting in my kitchen. I had a bit of a problem with this step.)
6. For recipes using a baked pie crust, heat oven to 425 degrees. Prick bottom and sides thoroughly with fork 50 times to prevent shrinkage. Bake at 425 for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

The recipe for the Lemon Meringue Pie was submitted to the Crisco booklet by Jennifer Bernbaum, of  Inglewood California. I hope I did it justice:)

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie
9-inch Classic Crisco Single Crust
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 tbs. plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1-1/2 cups water
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 tbs. butter or margarine
2 tbs. grated lemon peel
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1. For crust: prepare and bake as above. Cool. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. For filling: combine 1-1/2 cups sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Stir in water gradually. Cook and stir on medium heat until mixture thickens and boils. (difficult for me on an electric stove) Add about one-third of hot mixture to egg yolks. (I really thought I was going to wind up with scrambled eggs at this point) Mix well. Return to saucepan. Cook and stir about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, butter and lemon peel. Spoon into cooled baked crust.
3. For meringue: beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed of electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Spread over filling covering completely and sealing to edge of pie. (surprisingly, I didn't have a problem with this step. It was fun watching the meringue peak. I was so tempted to dip my finger. It looked like whipped cream:)
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Cool to room temperature before serving.
Chances are, I won't be baking Classic Lemon Meringue Pie again, anytime soon. Oh, don't get me wrong, it tasted delicious!!! The crust didn't sog up. I dislike soggy crust immensely!!! The filling tasted just as I had hoped. I would suggest chilling the pie before serving. Room temperature didn't seem to highlight the pucker I was seeking from the lemon. Chilling the filling gave the flavors a chance to settle; pudding like:) I will be seeking additional meringue type pies. I had a ball making the meringue. It tasted like a toasted cloud midst the lemony pudding. If you look very closely at the teapot, you will notice the cherub lady has a knitting ball in front of her. I included her just for YOU, Channon:) That funny looking object on the top of the pie slice is suppose to be a lemon butterfly. Let's not get crazy here. My garnishing skills need honing and my photography skills, nil!!!
Did you make a pie for National Pie Day??? I'd love to hear about it!!! Have a wonderful day. I'll be visiting later. Now, what can I conger up for dinner???


  1. Yum I love Lemon Meringue Pie! My mother makes it sometimes. I myself have never made a pie. Maybe I should make one today! Well I'll see I will probably mess up on the crust.

    Again thanks for the ideas.....I gotta get baking :)

  2. We're heading out, but later tonight, I'm making a chocolate chess pie, and if the Knight thinks his tastebuds will appreciate it (he's been sick), I'll make him my grandmother's lemon pie too. Otherwise, he'll get a raincheck...

  3. My mother sometimes used a wine bottle as a rolling pin, I think. Maybe I made it up. Anyway, if you are going to make pies a rolling pin is really a nice thing. Good luck.

  4. Congratulations on your first lemon meringue pie!

    Lemon pie is just about my favorite. I havent' made a real honest-to-goodness lemon meringue pie in a long time. This just might inspire me!

    I think I'd probably use a lemon curd for the filling, though, 'cause you just can't get too much lemon!

  5. Louise, I happened upon something yesterday that mentioned it was National Pie Day and I IMMEDIATELY thought of you! I said to myself, "Louise must know all about that!" and sure enough, you do. You can always be counted on to know those special dates. I have to tell you that I think your pie looks like fabulous. Your meringue is simply beautiful! I have been baking for quite a while, but I have to confess to you that I've NEVER made a meringue pie. It's the dreaded Fear of Meringue Syndrome. Not kidding. Anyway, your lovely pie inspires me to not be such a chicken!

    :) Jane

  6. That pie looks delicious! And I love pie!

  7. I love your blog... where do you find the time?
    I love the history, the facts, the trivia.
    BTW... you are welcome to borrow games anytime. And for the record, I think it's weird that today is National "Rhubarb" PIe day, since our rhubarb is under a foot of snow.
    I've always been afraid of meringue... your's looks so great!

  8. I'm working on an orange chess pie for dessert. I've never made one, so we'll see what happens...

    The pie crust recipe I found and love is similar to yours, but uses half butter and half crisco, a touch of lemon juice, a touch of baking powder, and milk in lieu of water. My dearly beloved says it's the best crust he's ever had, and his mother was a pie baker extraordinaire!

  9. WOW! You weren't kidding about baking, Jim. Your Toasty S'more Post is HOT!!! Don't fret abut the crust, there's always Mrs. Smith:)
    P.S. Did I read at Sire's you and your wife are expecting; any moment???

  10. Please save me a piece of that Chocolate Chess Pie, Channon. I'll swap you for Lemon Meringue:)

    That's so funny Mae. I considered using a wine bottle. I think it would work. I may have to use it someday. I don't have rolling pin on my list of kitchen updates.

    Thank you Kate. If, and that's a big if. If I should desire to make another, I will consider Lemon Curd. I never thought of it. I wanted to follow a recipe as written. Too often I play with ingredients. Doesn't work well when baking, I've discovered:) I do hope this post inspired you to make one. I can just imagine how lovely yours would look...

    Hi Jane, Isn't it funny how the people we visit in the blogging world become participants in every day life. I refer often to blog posts throughout the day as if I just saw that person, that day.

    I must admit, I am very proud of the meringue. I'm afraid I can't say the same for the pie as a whole. Today when I went to taste a teeny piece, it was a bit thinner than I expected. I thought over night it would firm up, nay...Whenever the dreaded Fear of Meringue Syndrome engulfs you, or me for that matter, think Floating Islands. I've always wanted to bake Floating Islands...Perhaps next time I'll bake up some Meringue Clouds:) Let us know when your fear has been over come. I just know you will do outstanding!!!

    Yes you do dear Kyla. Thank you and John for the processor. I'll be getting my own as soon as I decide which I want more, a processor or Kitchen-Aid, or both!!! I'll try to save some for you guys.

  11. Thank you for all your kind words Debbie... As for the time, I can never find enough time like most people. I wish I could though. I have two other blogs lacking attention:) I know it's funny today should be Rhubarb Day. No Rhubarb peaking up around here either.

    Channon and her Chocolate Chess Pie and now you with Orange Chess Pie. I can't wait to see them both!!! Thanks for the tip, Marjie. I tried to stay true to the recipe. However, for one flashing moment, I considered upping the butter. I just may the next time. The touch of baking powder and milk make sense too. One thing I can guarantee, I will never be a pie baker; extraordinaire or otherwise:)

  12. Stop showing off Jim, you're making the rest of us blokes look bad. :D

    I love mince pies but we can only get them at Christmas and their of the fruit mince variety.

    As to lemon meringue.....Yummmmm!

  13. Happy Pie Day!

    Yummm.... the pie looks yummy :)

  14. One of my sons loves Lemon Meringue Pie but for some reason, I am afraid of it. Looking at your, I do want to make one and maybe, just maybe, you have motivated me. Thanks.

  15. I love pies of any kind! That is such a comforting treat!



  16. Wow, Louise - when you take on pie, you don't mess around! I've never made a lemon meringue pie - it always seemed kind of daunting. Yours is beautiful - and you may have convinced me to take on pie very soon!

  17. You are too funny :)

    You know, I like limes, I like lemons but somehow, I've never had to desire to try (eat) or to make lemon meringue pie. Glad that your first attempt was a success.

  18. What a fun, fun blog you have here, Louise! I love it. This is my first time visiting, but I will definitely be back! I especially love all the old-timey cookbooks you highlight. I have quite a collection myself, but when I clicked on your large list at Library Thing, was surprised to see I don't have any that you have. Do you cull old book sales to find them? Most of mine were given to me from my mom (from the 50s and 60s, mainly), and a few from my grandma and my husband's grandma. Such fun. I heard about National Pie Day on the radio, but didn't get a chance to make a pie. Will have to put that on my calendar for next year! Thanks for such a fun blog.

  19. I think your lemon meringue pie looks excellent! Congrats on your first one!
    You might like a graham crust better if you try it again, might be a little lighter. All recipes are different, play around!

  20. What a wonderful pie for National Pie Day!

  21. I'll save you a slice of pie, Sire. You better hurry though, it's almost gone.

    Thanks Selba. I think everyday should be pie day!!!

    If your son isn't into the "classics" Sweet & Savory, why not try to use a graham crust as someone suggested & lemon curd; another offered suggestion. That's what I would do if I baked it again. The goodness was truly in the meringue. Good Luck!!!

    Oh so comforting, Rosa

    Why thank you T.W. I really appreciate your kind words. Perhaps, it's time for you to bake up some mini pies. I love you minis:)

    Hi Cynthia! I'm not sure you would call my first attempt a success but it sure was FUN!!!

    I'll share Sidney!!!!

    Welcome Lynn. Thank you so much for dropping by. I',m delighted you enjoyed getting a peek at the cookbooks. I've been slacking off Library Thing. I should add a few more. I do go to old book sales and when in PA, auctions. I've been collecting for a very long time. It sounds like your amassing a nice collection too!!! Let me know if you put them on Library Thing. I'd love to see them. Yes, indeed, mark your calendar. National Pie Day gets more fun each year. You can check my calendar for more "foodie" days to celebrate. I plan on making a new and more useful one in the near future. Do drop by anytime. I took a quick "jump" over to your place, nice, very nice. Those bananas look yummy!!!

    Thanks for the kinds words, Natashya. Now why didn't I think of graham cracker crust? Next time maybe:)

    Your pies were quite tempting too, duckie.

  22. Your lemon meringue pie looks perfect! Yum!

  23. I love pies of any kind, only problem is I can't stop eating when i started one ;-)

  24. Not a bad looking pie actually...and you've inspired me...I wanna bake a pie now - lol

  25. Thank you so much for visiting Natasha (5 Star Foodie:) I know you must be busy getting ready for your vacation. Enjoy!

    That seems to be my problem too Crystal Admiral. Not long after I made the Lemon Meringue Pie, I baked up a Chocolate Pie too!!! I must hurry and give them away!!!

    Hi there Darius, thank you for dropping by. And bake a pie you did. That "pie" you created from leftover veggies was indescribably delicious looking:) Now, I'm inspired. lol

  26. So much yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipes.

  27. Hi Jennifer and Welcome. I'm delighted you enjoyed this post. Pop by anytime. The door is always open:)

  28. Excellent post. This is soooo Much Yummy. Love it.

  29. Excellent entry. Food month is awesome thought.

  30. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own BlogEngine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.

  31. i never knew about this before read your post

  32. I really like your post.thanks for sharing with us.
    Bridal show nyc

  33. I certainly enjoyed the way you explore your experience and knowledge of the subject! Keep up on it. Thanks for sharing the info
    African Mango Scam

  34. A very good and informative article indeed . It helps me a lot to enhance my knowledge, I really like the way the writer presented his views.

  35. I was truly reluctant to check out your article the first time I saw the page layout of your blog. But I was greatly amazed on the post you have written.

  36. You are focused on realizing all you possibly can about this. We're completely satisfied you discovered us.

    On this site, we have introduced collectively an unlimited array of data and sources on this.

    Accountants in London

  37. Thanks new visitors, so glad you enjoyed this post.

  38. A lot of the information in this post has been very useful. I can definitely agree there are great needs for having or developing organizational, writing, and marketing skills.

  39. thanks for posting, delicious looking desserts and lemon meringue is my absolute favorites.

  40. Mine too, fix credit! So glad you enjoyed it:)

  41. Happy Pie day everyone! Who among you here knows how to make a PIE?

  42. oh great that it's a national pie day. Happy pie day everyone.

  43. hi, i'm jennifer bernbaum :-) i was goofing around and googled my name and came across your blog. so happy you tried my recipe. just to let you know and i dont really know why, but trying this recipe on an electric stove was hit and miss for me...mostly, miss. try it again if you ever have a chance on a gas stove and i guarantee it will come out perfect! i had to use an electric stove for the crisco contest and my filling just never thickened enough. had i been able to use a gas stove, i bet i could have done better in the national level contest. anyway, happy to see you tried my recipe

  44. Hi Jennifer, nice to "meet" you. I can't believe I didn't leave you a message letting you know.

    You are so right about the differences in stoves. I haven't been able to make chocolate pudding (which I adore) since I moved here two years ago. Electric is just so tricky. If ever I get the chance, my daughter has gas, I will try again. Thanks for popping in...

  45. Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.

    Affordable Pay Per Click Services

  46. So glad you enjoyed it Bob. Thanks for visiting and good luck on your presentation!!!

  47. I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work and
    coverage! Keep up the very good works guys I've added you
    gus to my own blogroll.


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise