In retrospect, I should have just used my grandmother’s trusted family recipe for lemon meringue pie. It works, it’s delicious, and there’s no roll of the dice involved. Instead, I used Martha’s recipe from September Martha Stewart Everyday Food. For a dinner with my in-laws. Oh dear.
It started innocently enough. I bought refrigerated pie crust. I know, it’s not Martha, but I was under a time crunch as well as some health issues, so I needed to simplify.
This lemon meringue pie recipe is part of an entire section of recipes predicated on a lemon curd recipe. I get the concept of this (three desserts based on one basic recipe), but it was really quite annoying to flip back and forth between two pages to make this (“follow the recipe on page XX up to step one, then add X, Y and Z and then continue with the recipe”).
This is basically egg yolks, lemon juice, zest, sugar and cornstarch. I think this recipe is written wrong however. You are referred to the lemon curd recipe which says to cook until it coats the back of a spoon. It needs to cook longer and become much thicker in my opinion to become pie filling.
I poured the lemon into the pie crust and refrigerated. Then we packed it in a cooler the next day to take to the lake house. On the way there, it shifted and part of the lemon filling slopped out all over the cooler. This was the first sign I should have abandoned this and just served store bought cookies.
I made the meringue topping and popped it in the oven. It came out looking beautiful, with no hint of the disaster that lay beneath. I went to serve this pie and all the lemon ran out. It did not set up at all. It was a plate of crust, covered in soup with a floating meringue top. It all tasted ok, but it looked awful. Everyone was very nice about it of course and we ate it with spoons, but it was truly an unmitigated disaster. Sigh. I only make dinner for my in-laws once or twice a year and I try to make lovely food they will enjoy. What a disappointment this was.