Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pie, Pie, Pie, Try Again—den Boer

There wasn’t a dish I wouldn’t attempt at least once as a young ambitious newlywed in my first kitchen. My motto: if it’s in a cookbook, I can make it. On my more generous days, I even accepted suggestions from my spouse.

“Honey, you should make lemon meringue pie.”

Marty’s mom made delicious lemon meringue pie from scratch, except the crust which she bought, frozen. My mom rolled out her own perfected crust, but used a pudding and pie filling mix.

By combining their perfections, I could outdo them both.

This was less simple than anticipated. “Not as good as mom’s,” Marty pronounced as he crunched into or spooned out each of my first 29 attempts.

Finally, one lucky day—like drawing a perfect hand in cards—I made a pie with a tender flaky crust, a sweet, tangy filling of exactly the right texture topped with a mountainous meringue.

“This is better than mom’s,” Marty raved.

Goal accomplished.

Barring luck, I knew within my soul, I wouldn’t be able to repeat my success. So, for the next 17 years my kitchen turned out apple pies, strawberry rhubarb pies, peach pie, a few meat pies and even a green tomato pie (yuck), but not another lemon meringue.

I was well into my 40’s when I renounced luck and revisited the lemon meringue pie. Why should I deny my husband his favourite pie just because I feared pie imperfection?

How childish. Once more my kitchen began turning out variations of lemon meringue pie—paltry pies—until I stumbled across a flawless recipe. It worked every time. Well, almost every time. Talking on the phone, answering the door or writing down story ideas while baking, jeopardized the results.

This Thanksgiving, I gave lemon meringue pie-making my full attention. I didn’t answer the phone, the door or even my daughter’s question. Crust, filling, and meringue all appeared superior when I tucked the pie into a Tupperware container Saturday evening.

Sunday afternoon I opened the container to behold shrunken meringue and a separated filling. Family members—the ones who appreciate lemon meringue pie—were completely understanding. They drank it without a complaint.

I’ve decided to blame the no-name lemon juice which lists water as the main ingredient. And, I should have remembered meringue doesn’t do well in closed containers.

Next time…

Marian den Boer
author of Blooming, This Pilgrim's Progress


Christine Faour said...

Ha! I can SO relate....for me it was scalloped potatoes for a gourmet dinner club evening...they just wouldn't cook; so we ate them raw.

Peter Black said...

I love the title, Marian - it's so fun!
And hey, despite your watery-pie woes, your post has all the ingredients to raise the spirits and feed the chuckleberries of laughter.

Glynis said...

So funny...they drank it without complaint...
Lemon pie is my all time favourite. I even squeezed my own lemons (once!) Thanks for the tickle, Marian. :)

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