As Simple As Pie

Jennifer FlatenThis post by Jennifer Flaten

Last week I decided to make a Lemon Meringue pie. Since, it’s been a long time since I’ve made a lemon meringue pie; I pulled out one of my cookbooks and looked for a recipe.  file0001536293389

Feeling especially adventurous, I chose a recipe with instruction to make the filling from scratch. When I was little my grandfather loved Lemon Meringue Pie, so my grandma made it often, but she always used a cook and serve lemon pudding for the filling and that is how I usually made my Lemon Meringue pie, but today, I decided, it was time to make that filling from scratch.

Wisely, I chose to use a store made crust.

Following the instructions, I placed the filling over a double boiler to cook and thicken. I stood there stirring, stirring, stirring for what felt like forever and the filling still wasn’t thick.

While the filling languished on the stove, I put the piecrust in the oven to pre-bake. At the appointed time, I took the crust out of the oven and discovered a portion of it slumped over. Honestly, who messes up a store bought crust?

Great now I have misshaped pie crust. This doesn’t bode well.

Still, I was determined to put a pie on the table…well, actually I kinda had to, I’d been talking the pie up to the family and they were expecting a culinary masterpiece or at least something that would go good with a glass of icy cold milk.

I decided to go ahead with the unusually shaped crust. Hey, it will still taste good right?

I put the eggs on to whip. At this point, I should mention that up to this point, I’ve never made a satisfactory meringue, but really by now the meringue was the last of my worries.

Checking the filling one last time I saw it still looked more like lemon aide and less like pudding. Even though I knew better, I poured it into the crust and let it sit for a minute-while saying a quick prayer to the pie gods that it magically set up while I wasn’t looking.

Meanwhile my egg whites had whipped up into the most beautiful meringue I’ve ever seen. I just HAD to make this pie.

I glanced at my pie and gave it a jiggle, lemon filling sloshed over the sides. Not set at all. Time to throw in the towel-or pie in this case.

As my hand hovered over the garbage can within inches of scraping the whole sorry mess into the garbage can, I thought WWTDC–What Would They do on Chopped. Deconstructed! That’s right they would salvage this wreck of a pie and turn it into a deconstructed (which is fancy cooking talk for I made a boo-boo) dessert.

I scooped the filling out of the pie dumped it back into the pan and tossed the soggy crust into the garbage. I set the pot of filling on the stove, cranked up the heat and stirred within a few minutes I had a lovely thick filling.

I dropped spoonfuls of meringue on a cookie sheet and popped them in the oven. A few minutes later, I had beautifully browned meringue. I poured the filling in dessert dishes, plopped a meringue on top and voila a deconstructed lemon meringue pie.

My family loved the pie, but next time I think I will stick with the lemon pudding filling.

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12 thoughts on “As Simple As Pie

  1. Great story. I am getting braver in my old age to try things like that too. We now have cream of left-over soup at our house. Throw small amounts of left over meat and vegetables in the blender with some canned evaporated milk, add butter, salt and pepper and it’s usually quite good! Love your “save.” Inspirational.


  2. Jennifer, you gave me such a chuckle this morning. I’ve ventured into pie making and lemon is one of my favorites. Love baking the custard to that smooth perfection. It’s kind of like love on a spoon. Yum. I wanted to learn to bake pies, because my mom once told me that my grandmother made pies every day! My grandfather would eat a slice of pie every morning for breakfast! Thanks Jennifer for a lovely post.


  3. What a delightful post Jennifer. I was worried the whole thing would be a flop, but I admire your perseverance and quick thinking to use what you had to make a great dessert out of the pieces. Actually, Lemon Meringue Pie is one of my specialties and I always get asked for it at pot-lucks. Believe me, I’ve had my share of mishaps too. The worst is leaving the sugar out – makes the lips pucker! I love the way you rethought the incident and came up with an entirely different dessert that I’m sure your family loved. I am not a big fan of store-bought pie crusts as I always have trouble forming them. I make my own and have better luck. Thanks for a great learning post!


  4. It’s a long time since I made a lemon meringue pie, Jennifer but I do confess that when my kids were small it was definitely the ‘box’ variety- though I have tried, and also failed , to make the filling from scratch.


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