The Magic of Lemon Meringue Pie 

LemonSome say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and after learning about the magic of a lemon meringue pie, I would have to agree. My mom has a famous lemon meringue pie recipe she calls the “bachelor trap” because it was that very pie that won my dad over 34 years ago. My mom moved to San Francisco from Kansas, and met my dad a couple of years later. They knew they had something special cooking when they started dating, and when my mom added this little dish for dessert, my dad was hooked. Yes, there is something to be said for a woman who can bake. Or a man!

Why is this important? Because baking is one of the most vulnerable forms of an expression for love, gratitude, and appreciation. Think about it: You work hard for a couple of hours in the kitchen, measuring things out just right, getting the temperature and timing in line with every step you make in this “chemistry experiment,” in hopes it will turn out well. Then you serve your hard work on a plate to some of your most beloved critics in hopes they will enjoy every bite. You are essentially saying with your food, “I have worked hard, I care about you, and this is what that tastes like.” You want it to be good right?! You want it to be MAGIC!

While there are many dessert options to express yourself to others, the lemon meringue pie takes the cake, pun intended. It is sweet but tart, light but dense, and can be a little tough to put together, requiring some risks, but when done right, it is worth all the effort! (Kind of like relationships, right?!)

Below is a picture of the lemon meringue pie I baked tonight for a friend who is coming to visit me this weekend. I am so anxious and excited for their arrival and wanted to show my appreciation, so what better way than with a delicious pie!

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There are a lot of different recipes out there, but I will share my mom’s recipe with you as long as you PROMISE to use the magic wisely. You don’t have to just make this pie for a bachelor who catches your eye either. Make it for a family member in need of something sweet, a co-worker who does so much to help you out, a friend who you haven’t seen in ages, or even yourself! Below is the recipe, along with some tips I have found to make the baking process easier.

Tip #1: When life gives you (or someone you love) lemons, make lemon meringue pie. Now get to it!


Bachelor Trap Lemon Meringue Pie

Filling:

(Use double boiler)

Cook and stir the following together in order until the mixture is clear and all the sugar is dissolved:

-1 stick butter (put in first, when upper pan is hot)
-1 cup sugar (add when butter is melted)
-Juice and grated rind of 2 lemons

Then beat lightly:

-2 whole eggs
-4 egg yolks

-Add eggs to hot lemon mixture while stirring over heat
-Continue to stir constantly until mixture is thick (5 minutes or so)
-Cool and pour into baked pie crust

Meringue:

(Beat at highest speed on electric mixer, scraping sides occasionally)

-4 egg whites
add gradually while beating:
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Beat until foamy.
Then add gradually:
-3 tablespoons sugar
Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread over cooled filling in pie shell.

Make sure meringue seals the edges of crust and filling, otherwise pie will weep.

Bake in bottom of 350-degree oven until meringue is slightly browned, (about 10-20 minutes)

Pie Crust:

Tip #2: If having a bad hair day, purchase high quality pre-made crust. Otherwise use the recipe below.
*Note: My mom always uses the traditional flour crust, but I really like using a graham cracker crust for this pie. I have included a recipe for both types if you care to make this pie completely from scratch!

Graham Cracker Crust from Taste of Home:

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs (24 squares)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  1. In a small bowl, combine the crumbs and sugar; add butter and blend well. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-in. pie plate.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before filling, or bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack before filling. Yield: 1 pie crust (9 inches).

Traditional Crust from my Mama:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 tablespoons ICE water

Chill a bowl, flour, butter and vegetable shortening in the refrigerator.

Sift Together:
-1.5 cups unbleached flour
-1/4 rounded teaspoon salt

Cut into chunks and add to flour mixture:
-1/4 cup chilled butter
-1/4 cup vegetable shortening

Use a pastry blender or 2 knives in a criss-cross fashion to blend butter and shortening into flour until mixture resembles small crumbly clusters.

-3 tablespoons ice water
Add water gradually and toss lightly with a fork until dough begins to stick together.
Form into ball and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until chilled.
Roll out dough on floured board and drape into pie pan. Gently smoothing down to conform to shape.


Best cocktails to go with Lemon Meringue Pie: Whiskey Sour (A little rich, but bourbon and lemon are a great pair. Sometimes you have to go big or go home!)
Best Wine: Chardonnay
Best Music: Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey… anything with a variety of sounds/textures… kind of like this pie, it has to have variety!

Enjoy!

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