Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Great Lemon Meringue Fail

Emily is fond of Amelia Bedelia. Perhaps you remember this precious character from your own childhood?

And what should Amelia Bedelia be carrying but the lemon meringue pie that won over her irate employers Mr. and Mrs. Rogers. Amelia Bedelia messed up pretty bad on her first day of work for the Rogers so, to Emily, that pie must've been something spectacular. She had to have one.  Could I pretty please make her a lemon meringue pie?

I am actually really fond of LM pie myself, particularly my grandmother's. I wrote off asking for the recipe and my sweet-as-pie grandmother obliged:

Sugar, 1 1|2 cups
Cornstarch, 7 tablespoons
Salt, 1|4 teaspoon
Water, 2 cups
Eggs,separated, 3
Butter, 2 tablespoons
Grated lemon rind, 2 teaspoons
Lemon juice,1|3 cup
Reserve 6 tablespoons of the sugar for the meringue. Combine remaining sugar, cornstarch and salt in top of a double boiler. Stir in water. Cook over boiling water until thickened, stirring constantly. Cover and cook for 15 minutes longer . Stir a little of the hot mixture into slightly beaten egg yolks; add to remaining hot mixture in top of double boiler and cook for 2 minutes over hot water. Add butter; cool add lemon ring and juice. Pour into baked shell. Cover with meringue made from egg whites and reserved sugar plus 1|4 teaspoon of cream of tarter. Bake in 325 oven about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
This is from my old cookbook, however I usually buy Jello Lemon Pudding Mix following directions on box adding a little lemon juice to the required water plus some butter. I usually grate the lemon rind and add it to the meringue instead of putting it in the filling. Good luck on whatever you try. Love you, Grandmother 
(I had to leave her "Love you" in the recipe because you need that to really make the pie.)
I ended up using the "scratch" version because I think I got the wrong kind of pudding. After A LOT of stirring and some other baking moves I got this:
Sadly, my meringue overflowed all into the bottom of the oven and wasn't so much fluffy as flat. I had to all but beat Emily's little fingers away from that pie while it cooled enough for me to cut it.
 Despite the flat meringue, Emily's slice looked pretty tasty to me.
 After days of begging me to make this pie and hours of begging to eat the pie, Emily was approaching it rather absently.

Ad then it hit Em.

She looks like I just played the dirtiest trick on her! Jolted from her TV-watching, she very slowly pulled the fork out of her mouth. "Does this have lemons in in?!"

Yes, Em, Amelia Bedelia's delicious confection contains lemons. That is why they call it lemon meringue pie. 


  1. Wish I had some...looks delicious! And I LOVE Amelia...

  2. I remember Amelia Bedelia. Janice loved those books. Poor Emily! It is always a shock when you expect one thing and get another.