Meyer lemons make best meringue pie
by Linda Marrone
This being my first column of the new year, if I was going to make any resolutions, I’m sure the Appeal would like it if one of them would be to always have my column in on time. The recipe, baking and picture part is much easier for me than the sitting-down-writing part.
I saw Carolyn DeMar in the store the other day, and she told me that she and Maizie Harris Jesse turned in three columns of their Appeal all at once. I’ll put that on my list of things I’d like to do, but in the meantime I want to tie up a few loose ends from last year in regards to a few inquiries from some people who tried the recipes and had additional questions and comments.
Carson City still is a small town because you hear things through the grapevine, which is how I heard these comments about a couple of recipes. Mina Jaquette works with my friend Vicki O’Shaughnessy and told her she made the dressing for the Festive Winter Salad, but that it didn’t turn out that good. I didn’t give exact measurements in the paper because I don’t really measure when making salad dressings, but go more by taste. I wanted to let her know that I have been making that dressing a lot lately and have been adding the Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce (from Costco) in place of the raspberry vinegar. It really gives it a better taste and a little zip to boot, so try it, Mina, and let Vicki know if it’s better.
Another lady whose name I did not catch called me to say she made the Frosty Pumpkin Pie, and when it said “chill,” did I mean to say put it in the freezer and not the refrigerator? I should have said chill in freezer, but I assumed that was understood, which was a mistake. We are all cooks of different degrees, which brings me to my last cooking tale.
I’m not going to use any names in this telling because I want an invite back for Christmas dinners. I have lots of friends who are good cooks and some who don’t cook on a regular basis but always try their best and put a lot of effort into putting out a great meal. Ralph and I are always happy to get an invite to dinner – and try and keep our lips zipped if anything doesn’t seem quite kosher.
We were invited to a wonderful Christmas dinner, and the dinner truly was delicious. When the turkey was being carved, Ralph noticed a little faux-pas, but didn’t say a word. During the course of dinner conversation and talking about the giblets, my friend mentioned that this particular turkey had none, and that she really hadn’t relished sticking her hand up the cavity to get the neck out, to which Ralph replied, “Oh, it had giblets.”
He had witnessed them being pulled out of the neck cavity during the carving and a surprised carver saying, “What’s this?” then a quick toss in the trash. After lots of laughter and some kidding, because we didn’t really care about the giblets, I explained how when you are washing the turkey, you check both cavities because some people stuff both the neck and body cavity and some don’t stuff at all. Now a lot of people might think that you would already know this, but if this is only your second turkey you have ever cooked, you wouldn’t. We had a wonderful dinner and certainly one of the best laughs in a long time, but more important, we share a friendship that will continue through the years, giblets or no giblets.
n n n
I have the good fortune of knowing a few people who have Meyer lemon trees, and because they share their bounty with me, I consider myself lucky. Meyer lemons are not usually available in the market because the tree carries a disease that attacks other citrus. Meyers have a more delicate complex perfume and a sweeter flavor than the Eureka, the usual market variety.
I’m going to give you the recipe for a lemon curd filling which can be used in a pie or tart or as a filling between layers of cake. You can substitute fresh-squeezed juice from a regular lemon, but the bottled juice will not have near the flavor.
MEYER LEMON MERINGUE PIE
2 or 3 lemons (depending on taste and juice in lemons)
3 egg yolks
6 T. sugar
2 T. milk
3 T. unsalted butter
3 T. salted butter
Grate the peel from two lemons into a small bowl. Juice the lemons and strain it into the same bowl. Beat the eggs and egg yolks with the sugar in a heavy saucepan until just mixed. Gradually mix the milk into the egg mixture.
Next stir in the juice; it will look a bit curdled when the juice is added but will smooth out later. Cut the butter in small pieces and add to the mixture. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a spoon and is the thickness of creme anglaise (when in doubt, cook it longer). Let it stand 5 minutes to thicken, then whisk slightly until smooth. Makes enough for one 9-inch tart, or 9-inch pie shell or enough to serve as a filling for a three-layer cake.
At this point you can pour the filling into a container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. I always double this recipe because I make a 10-inch tart and a 10-inch pie.
You will need one 9-inch baked pie shell. Pour slightly cooled or cold filling into the crust and bake in preheated 375 oven for 15 minutes until filling is just set.
For the meringue:
3 room-temperature egg whites
1Ú2 T. cream of tartar
1Ú3 cup sugar
Beat the egg whites until frothy, add cream of tartar. Finish beating until they hold peaks then gradually beat in sugar.
Carefully spread the meringue over the lemon filling, pressing it against the edges to seal. Make a pretty design with your knife or spatula. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes, or until is lightly browned. Cool thoroughly, 1-2 hours, but do not refrigerate.
This is a delicious lemon pie.
If you prefer a cream topping, omit the meringue. Spread the lemon filling in the cooled, pre-baked shell. Bake as above and cool. Whip 1 cup whipping cream with sugar and vanilla to taste. Spread it on top of the lemon filling or make extra filling and mix a cup of it with the beaten cream and spread over pie. Then refrigerate.
One last note, this pie tastes great and looks great until you slice it, in which case it tends to spread. The reason is that is doesn’t have all the cornstarch that is in most lemon meringue pies to hold them together.
Linda Marrone has lived in Carson City since 1973, and with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone’s Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin’s Cookin’ Catering.