Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Lemon Meringue Pie. I haven't made this for years, but David and Thom took me up on my offer to do it for one of our meals together. First, I couldn't fine my pie plates. I have used a cast iron pan in the past, so I substituted that. I had recently burned two different pans of muffins, so I was obsessed with the progress of the crust in the oven. I rescued it in time, though it still was done several minutes before it should have been. The oven is too hot, yet I can't figure out how to change that or accurately re-adjust the time. The filling was easy enough, though complicated and time-consuming. The meringue seemed to take forever. My mixer is to slow as my oven is to hot. Vigilence barely kept the meringue form burning, and voila!.....a masterpiece.
If only the taste had lived up to its beauty. I found it too sweet with a somewhat less than flaky crust. When I used to bake all the time, the results seemed much better. Making this pie would have been something I could do effortlessly. Of course I turned out three meals a day, 365 days a year, for many, many years. Perfecting recipes was my passion. I remember making batch after batch of doughnuts until I had the temperature perfect and the thickness of the dough just right. I cooked fudge constantly for two weeks trying to learn the precise moment to pour it into the pan after beating it "until it lost its gloss." Pork Chops were still juicy, roast beef was perfectly pink in the middle. Spaghetti (the word pasta became popular later) was al dente (also a recent word) and the homemade sauce had just the right spices. Bread was tall with a lovely light brown crust. My spanakopeta was legendary, as was my baklava. Arroz con Cerdo, empanadas, boef bourgignon, quiche, veal birds, ginger beef, lemongrass chicken soup, pad tai......all daily fare at our house. My three and five year old kids ate as easily with chopsticks as they did with forks and spoons.
Well, those days are gone, and with them my skill and desire to be a gourmet chef. Let me say, however, that ready-made meals in cardboard boxes and grocery store pastry are still far from acceptable. That leaves me with my diet of microwave popcorn and Klondike Bars.