Saturday, July 7, 2012

Elusive Lemon Meringue

My grandfather was amazing in so many different ways. 
One of his talents was pie making.
Pop was more than well known for his Apple Pie, and his Lemon Meringue happened to be my all time favorite.
Unfortunately, none of us ensured he wrote his recipes down and his pie making and recipe remembering days had been gone for at least the last decade he was with us.

I posted the pictures of that Blueberry Crumb Pie on my Facebook page and a distant cousin wrote asking me if I had inherited "Uncle Erle's talent for pie making?"
I was flattered at the sheer thought that anyone would compare my pies to Pop's!

Our family has happily learned that that cousins brother (that's a mouthful!) has the recipe for the Apple Pie!
The Lemon Meringue still remains a mystery.
Knowing that the one recipe lives on set my wheels turning on how to figure out the secret to the Lemon Meringue.
I remembered a cookbook I found while cleaning out Pop's home in NJ back in 2006 after he had moved to North Carolina with my mom.
It was a Williams Sonoma Pie & Tart book....surely that must be where he got it from! 

I pulled it down lovingly from it's perch in my cookbook collection and started thumbing through.

The pages were worn and splattered. 
I took this as a sign that it had been well used and my heart thumped with excitement.
I found a recipe for meringue topping, but unfortunately, no recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie.
I was devastated but undeterred.
I decided to use the Meringue recipe for another Williams Sonoma recipe for Lemon meringue.

I assembled my ingredients.

I cooked the filling.

I prepared the meringue ~ a glorious, silky meringue.

I sealed the filling with meringue piled nearly sky high and baked it to absolute perfection.

After dinner was long finished, I cut a generous slice for husband and one for me.

The meringue was amazing ~ the filling was not.
The whole pie went into the garbage that same night.

The search continues....but here is the recipe for that fabulous meringue:
(taken from Williams Sonoma Pie and Tart book)
2/3 cup of egg whites (about 5)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp of cream of tartar
1/4 tsp of salt

Combine egg whites and sugar in a large mixing bowl and set the bowl in a pan of simmering water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm.
Remove and add cream of tartar and salt.
Beat egg whites at high speed until they stand in peaks. Gently spread egg whites over the pie filling completely covering the filling to the edges of the crust.
Broil for 1~2 minutes until peaks are brown.

Pop would have been 91 on the 4th of July.
As I stood with the kids watching the fireworks that night, I think he sent a few brilliant bursts down himself so we would know that he was watching too.


  1. Hi Eleanor! My daughter is actually looking for the perfect lemon meringue pie recipe also! We cut one out of a magazine to use and it has gone missing:( Hopefully I will come across another one soon!

  2. I’m inspired with the surpassing and preachy listing that you furnish in such little timing.

    crystal awards and trophies

  3. That pie looks yummy...Ill have to give it a whirl!! only bad thing is, when I make something yummy...then I want to eat it all and my rear-end grows! thats why I make chocolate...I hate chocolate!

    thanks again


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