Lemon Meringue Pie

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I love making pie, any kind of pie although apple is my favourite pie to make.  I am proud of the fact that I can turn out an apple pie in about half an hour.  I actually managed to make one in the fall, when my girls were only about 3 months old (how I managed that, however, I’m still not sure!).  I also love eating pie…  especially pie for breakfast… with a good cup of coffee, there is nothing better!  I’m partial to apple pie (as I said) but will eat just about any kind.  Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie is another one of my favourites (although meringue is a word I always have trouble spelling!)DSC_0527  I love the tartness of the lemons & the bright yellow colour.  Usually my lemon pies turn out great, but I once made a lemon pie that was green!  Everyone asked if I had used limes  but there had been a reaction between the pot I used & the lemon juice.  I now understood why my Mom had always used a glass pot to make the lemon filling!  I have never ended up with a green pie since then though!  Below you will find the recipe we have used for years for homemade lemon meringue pie… I think the recipe originally came from a Company’s Coming cookbook.

For the crust, I use a recipe I found in an old cookbook my Nannie gave me & it’s now my go-to pie crust recipe.  It’s quick, it’s easy & I have it memorized.  Most pie crust recipes call for the shortening/butter to be cold & to use cold water.  I believe this original recipe called for the shortening at room temperature & warm water.  I always use room temperature shortening & it turns out great.  Feel free to use whatever crust recipe works for you… this just happens to be mine.

Crust

2 cups flour

2/3 cup shortening

6 tbsp. water (give or take)

Pinch of salt

Combine flour, salt & shortening with a pastry cutter (if you don’t have one, two knives will work just as well). Once shortening is broken up into small pieces begin adding the water, a tablespoon at a time, stirring with a fork, until a dough ball starts to form.  Continue to add water until all of the flour/shortening mixture is incorporated into the ball. If you need more than 6 tablespoons of water, add more.  If you add too much & the pastry is too sticky to knead, add a little more flour.

Once you have your dough ball formed, knead until all of the lumps are worked out (start kneading in the bowl & then move to a floured surface).  The trick with pie crust is not to over knead it or your pastry will become tough but you can safely knead for 5 minutes or so.  Divide the pastry into two (typically a bottom crust & top crust).  Roll out bottom crust (I usually use a 9 inch pie plate) slightly larger than your pie plate. Since lemon pie has no top crust, reserve other crust for later (freeze if you are not going to use right away for another pie). Place bottom crust in pie plate, trim the edges & scallop, poke with a fork & bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until crust is golden.  Cover top edges with tinfoil if they begin to get too brown.  When crust is baked, remove from oven & cool.

Lemon Filling Ingredients 

2 cups waterDSC_0513

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 lemon juice (fresh is best)

1 tbsp. butter or margarine

1/4 cup sugar

6 tbsp. cornstarch (sifted to remove lumps)DSC_0516

1/4 cup water

3 egg yolks

1/4 tsp. salt

 

Place first four ingredients (water, sugar, lemon juice, butter) in medium saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until boiling.  Stir often to dissolve sugar.

DSC_0519Combine remaining sugar, water & cornstarch in a bowl (I once used cornstarch I had bought in bulk & it was very lumpy, causing lumps in my filling – sift the cornstarch to avoid any lumps).  Add egg yolks & salt.  Mix well.  Slowly pour egg yolk mixture, while stirring, into the boiling water/lemon juice.  (Be sure to stir continuously & pour slowly so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs!)  Keep stirring until it boils & thickens.  Continue to simmer for 1 or 2 minutes to allow starchy taste to disappear.  Remove from heat.  Let stand while making meringue.

Meringue IngredientsDSC_0521

3 egg whites (room temperature)

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar (helps form stiff peaks)

4 tbsp. sugar

Beat egg whites & cream of tartar in small mixing bowl (not plastic) until stiff peaks form.  I often don’t have cream of tartar in the house so I make the meringue without it & the meringue turns out fine (if you don’t have it either, not to worry!).  Add sugar gradually while beating.  No granules should be felt when rubbing a bit of meringue between fingers.

DSC_0523Pour lemon filling into baked pie shell.  Pile meringue on top of filling.  Push around edges to seal to crust.  Bake in 350F oven until meringue is golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool at room temperature for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting.  Enjoy!

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Homemade Waffles

I love breakfast.  It is one of my favourite meals of the day…. I love it so much that I often make breakfast for dinner when it is just me at home.  I don’t make breakfast for dinner that often when Honey is home… I am more motivated to cook for two people than for one… but when it’s just me, there is nothing better (or quicker) than whipping up an omelet, adding a salad & voila, breakfast….er, dinner!

Growing up, weekend breakfasts were always something to look forward to.  Pancakes, waffles, omelets, French toast, eggs sunny side up, soft boiled eggs with toast fingers (this was a favourite at our grandparents) & as we got older eggs Benedict also grew on us.  We even cooked breakfast like this while we were camping… maybe not waffles, but definitely pancakes… pancakes the size of a frying pan, usually with fresh blueberries that we had picked somewhere near the campground… mmmm… I making myself smile (at the memories) & hungry at the same time!

My Dad used to be the omelet guy… getting out the griddle & making a whole batch of omelets at once.  Now, I  say he used to be as I haven’t seen him make omelets of this kind for a few years… but, come to think of it, I think my youngest brother has picked up the torch… making a big batch of omelets like this at my house just last year!  Nellie was & still is the main breakfast maker in the house though, a trait I suppose I have picked up on as well.  It was Nellie who thought me how to make pancakes & waffles from scratch… & really, once you’ve had them made from scratch there is no going back to Aunt Jemima or frozen toaster waffles!

Breakfast in our house now is always a combined effort.  Colin & I work well as a team in the kitchen, whether we are making breakfast or anything else.  I have always found cooking to be relaxing & it is even more enjoyable cooking with my husband.  When it comes to breakfast Colin is the bacon cooker (or sausages or whatever it is we might be having).  He has much more patience for cooking bacon then I do (which is really quite funny because he usually has no patience at all)…. or it seems that way.  I think I never seem to have as much success with bacon as I am also trying to make eggs, toast & possibly potatoes at the same time.  Whereas when he cooks bacon he has only the bacon to focus on.  Having said that, you probably guessed that I am in charge of the eggs, toast & sometimes potatoes.  It is a good system that works well for us.

I don’t make pancakes & waffles all the time… they are better when cooking breakfast for a group as the recipes make a lot.  Pancakes & waffles are also fun to make with little ones… I have often made one or the other when we’ve had the kids over, letting them help stir the ingredients.  Miss Lily, in fact, loves to help Auntie B make pancakes.

Waffles, I think require even less effort than pancakes.  You mix up the batter, pour it into the waffle maker & then wait… there is not even any guessing if the waffles are done, at least not for me.

My waffle maker makes a little beeping noise every time a waffle is ready.  At first (& most times) I found the beeping annoying…. but it does come in handy.  I usually get a few waffles ready & then we sit down to eat.  I continue to make the waffles while we are eating & if it weren’t for the little beeper I would have probably burned hundreds of waffles by now!   But enough rambling… time for the recipe.  I don’t even know where this came from originally, it’s just the one my family has used for years.  I use a Belgian waffle maker but the recipe works for regular waffle makers as well.   I usually make a double batch & freeze the leftovers…

Basic Waffles

2 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together (I usually mix the dry ingredients in one bowl & the wet in another before combining) & place on preheated waffle iron.  If your waffle maker doesn’t have a handy beeper like mine, the waffles are ready when they turn a nice golden colour & are crispy on the outside.  Top with fruit & maple syrup!  Enjoy!

Makes 6 Waffles