written by Joy Paoletti & Judy Vig
-Hersam Acorn Publications
The inspiring warm weather is a great time to celebrate with family and friends, preferably outdoors! As we gather around any table, a picnic or kitchen table, we happily reminisce about our loved ones who are no longer with us, and this family gathering is no different. This time our Mom decides to tell the children a story about her father, their Great Grandfather, Papa Tony. He was so kind and jolly and wonderfully huggable! As a young man, he was handsome, tall and very thin, “quite dapper” actually! He always worked long, crazy hours at his grocery store and missed most meals with his family. Nana would always surprise him with her home cooked meals and fancy desserts. That is how he came to be the Papa Tony we all knew and loved, “chubby chubby” white hair, rosy cheeks and a big beautiful smile. Today’s recipe was one of his favorites and will soon become one of yours. The crust for this pie is absolutely amazing and surprisingly easy.
This Lemon Meringue Cream Pie is bright, fresh and powerfully puckery. Combined with Nana’s delicately sweet crust it will be a hit on your table also. The pie is best served chilled and in generous wedges. We suggest making the meringue the day you’re serving the pie but we did prepare the pie dough and lemon filling the day before. There is enough to do the day the guests are coming so preparing ahead of time is crucial!
Lemon Meringue Cream Pie
1 cup sugar
grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 1/2 sticks butter, sliced into tablespoon pieces
Have an instant read thermometer and a food processor ready. Place the sugar and the zest into a heat-proof bowl. Rub the lemon, with your fingers, into the sugar to release the oils. It smells wonderful! Now whisk in eggs, lemon juice and cornstarch. Set this bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. As soon as the mixture feels warm to your touch, start whisking and cook until mix reaches 180 degrees. Do not stop whisking or the eggs can scramble. The lemon mixture will go from foamy to thick, as it gets closer to 180 degrees. When it does, take off of the heat & pour into food processor. Let cool until 140 degrees, 5-8 minutes. Turn processor on high and add butter a few pieces at a time. When all is added continue beating for 3 minutes more. Pour into baked cookie crust, cover & chill.
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
In mixing bowl, whip whites at medium speed until opaque. With mixer running, add sugar in a slow stream and continue to beat until the whites are glossy and form firm peaks. Spread meringue over pie and swirl making it look pretty. Spread all the way to edge of the crust because it will shrink. Place under broiler until the meringue is golden and the tips/peaks are darker in color. Let cool 15 minutes and enjoy!
Nana’s Cookie Crust
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
3 tsp. baking powder
4 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix baking powder and flour together and add to creamed mixture along with the milk. Mix and chill 1 hr. Cut in half or use as much as u need for the pie crust rolling to about 1/8 inch thickness and save the rest for cookies. Rolling between 2 sheets of wax paper is neat and quick, no need to flour anything! Bake crust at 350 degrees until golden. After 15 minutes, check the edges of the crust and cover with foil. The crust can burn on the edges!