Take one recipe from my great-grandmother, one foolproof pie crust recipe thanks to cooks illustrated and two moments of distraction, and voila - a very tasty, yet not quite perfect lemon meringue pie.
When you look at the pictures you will notice that I have no pictures of cooking the custard, nor of whipping the meringue. As luck would have it the last of three eggs I was separating broke the yolk when it cracked, and that tiniest little bit of yolk landed in the whites. As my custard is needing stirring so it doesn't clump, I am frantically trying get the yolk out of the whites, but I know once it is there, my stiff peaks are doomed. So yes my meringue is a little flat, but it still tasted like marshmallows and no I did not have time to grab the camera during all of it and I was too ashamed to take a picture of the firm but not fluffy meringue.
And then there is the pie crust. Now my husband actually made the dough as I was bathing the kids (hence no pictures either), but please someone tell me the secret. I have yet to pre-bake a pie crust without it falling on itself. My unbaked crust turn out fantastic as long as I am using a recipe that doesn't call for pre-baked. I prick, I poke, I use weights, I use beans, I use parchment, I even used a huge bowl of water that came right up to the edge of the crust and still it fell in.
Lastly, the beautiful shade of dark brown on the meringue. As I am standing in front of the oven talking to my husband I burnt the top of the pie. No, not like my sister's black cookie recipe where you leave the kitchen and forget you have something in the oven, I am standing there at the oven door, mitten on my hand telling my husband something and sniff, sniff, umm yeah smoke. It still tastes yummy, but it doesn't look as beautiful.
|the nicely chilled dough|
|mise en place|
|my sad eggs|
|note the small peaks|
|and the lovely shade of brown|
|And now I know why all the recipes made two pies|