Lemon Merginue Pie

THE MOST DELICIOUS OF THE PIES!  Seriously, I’m not a big fan of pie, usually too much dry crust and mushy fruits.  But lemon meringue, there’s something about the sourness of the lemon and the airiness of the meringue that just gets me.  This is from Fine Cooking and they have a good video showing some of the tips here.  I will warn you this takes like four hours from start to finish with a fair amount of attention required, so make it when you have a free afternoon.
Note: The original recipe has you use some gingersnap cookies below the custard to keep the pie crust crisp.  I didn’t do this because I didn’t have gingersnap cookies and I didn’t want to go to the store, and my pie turned out just fine without them.

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Sorry the picture’s a little dark.  It took so long to make the pie it was dark out by the time we were able to eat it.

Serves 1 Pie Lover (1 Pie)
Lemon Meringue Pie
1 Pie Crust

For the Custard
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
5 large egg yolks (keep the whites for the meringue)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
1 1/2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (about 3 medium lemons)
1/3 cup lemon juice (from those very same lemons)

For the Meringue
5 large egg whites, room temperature (I told you to keep them)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1.Somehow make yourself a cooked pie crust in a buttered 9 inch glass pie plate.

2. In a 3 quart saucepan mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.

3. Whisk in 1/4 cup cold water until the mixture is smooth, then mix in another 1 1/4 cups cold water until combined.

4. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and the constantly as it starts to boil (a couple large bubbles will form and pop).  The mixture should turn into a semi-translucent gel, total cook time 4-6 minutes.

5. At this point whisk briefly and then mix with a spatula pulling the sides towards the center.  After doing this for one minute, remove the pot from the heat.

6. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks lightly.

7. Gently whisk in 1/2 cup of the sugar gel and repeat with another 1/2 cup.

8. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the remaining sugar gel and cook just as before. (4-6 minutes over medium-low until boiling then one minute more).

9. Remove the pot from heat and dot the filling with butter, pushing it below the surface.  Let it stand for a minute to allow the butter to melt.

10. Gently whisk in the lemon juice and zest until smooth.

11. Pour the filling into the pie crust and smooth with a spatula.  Let it cool for at least 30 minutes before making the meringue.

Meringue Time!  This is a Swiss meringue which means we are going to cook the egg whites and get a fluffy marshmallow like meringue, but you can feel free to do a classic French meringue by just whipping the hell out of some egg whites and sugar.  Also, to save time and your wrist, this assumes you have a stand mixer.

12. Bring 1/2 inch of water to simmer in a pot that you can makeshift into a double boiler with the mixing bowl of your stand mixer (but don’t put the mixing bowl over the hot water yet).  Turn the burner to low after it starts simmering.

13. In your mixing bowl (off the heat) whisk the egg whites by hand until frothy.

14. Add the sugar 2 Tbsp at a time, whisking for a couple of seconds between each addition.

15. Put the mixing bowl over the hot water and slowly whisk.  You’re not trying to add air yet, just dissolve the sugar and keep the eggs from cooking.

16. After 2-4 minutes the eggs should be warm to the touch and you should not be able to feel any sugar grit in the mixture.

17. Add the vanilla and cream of tartar and take the mixing bowl off the heat and put it in your stand mixer.

18. Beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment.  Slowly increase the speed from low to high over about a minute.  Beat to stiff peaks (3-5 minutes).

19. Spread all of the meringue over the pie with spoon, make sure it anchors to the pie crust the whole way around the pie.  Press down as you go to make sure there are no air pockets.

20. Make fun spiky curls by touching the back of the spoon to the meringue and pulling away.

21. Brown the meringue either in your ovens broiler or with a kitchen torch.  If you broil make sure to rotate it to get the whole thing.

22. Let the whole shabang rest for about an hour to setup and then enjoy.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and Oregano

Nothing’s more American than grilling on the Fourth of July.  But we wanted to mix it up a bit and not just do the regular burgers and hot dogs so Lynn found this recipe for grilled chicken on Epicurious and it was delicious.  Though it takes quite a while to cook on the grill, the low and slow method leaves you with delicious, tender piece of chicken.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and OreganoSadly, I didn’t get to take a picture so here’s one from the original recipe.

Serves 4
Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and Oregano
4 lemons, juiced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
8 chicken legs (drumsticks) with skin (that’s the most delicious part)

1. Whisk everything but the olive oil together (don’t whisk the chicken either).

2. Keep whisking and slowly pour in the olive oil to make an emulsion.

3. Marinate the chicken legs in this for a couple of hours in the fridge.

4. Preheat your grill.

5. Make one side of your grill hot and the other not by either turning one burner on high and the other on low or pushing all your coals to one side.

6. Place the chicken on the cool side of the grill and let it cook for about an hour, flipping it every 15-20 minutes.
Note: If you’re using charcoal you may need to add some briquettes during the hour to keep them going, you’re charcoal bag should tell you how many and how often.

Blueberry and Peach Crumble

Summer means blueberry time and here in Texas it also means Fredricksburg peaches.  This recipe puts them both together with a delicious brown sugar crumble topping for a delicious dessert best served with Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.  Make sure to use room temperature fruit so that it bakes evenly.

Serves 6
Blueberry and Peach Crumble
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 cups (1 lb) blueberries, room temperature
3 medium peaches (1 lb), halved, pitted, and sliced 1/2 in thick
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and lightly butter a 9 inch square baking pan.

2. Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp of the salt.

3. Work the butter into the flour mixture until it readily clumps when pressed together.

4. In a large bowl combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, and the remaining 1/8 tsp salt.

5. Add the blueberries and peaches to the sugar mixture and toss to coat.

6. Spread the fruit mixture into the butter baking pan and cover with the brown sugar crumble.

7. Bake until the fruit is bubbling in the center and the top is crisp and well browned.  It should take about 45 minutes.

8. Cool slightly and serve warm with some ice cream.