OK, so. If you’re going to make a lemon meringue pie from scratch … give yourself the entire day.
This is the lesson of summer so far.
On our vacation to Florida, Emmeline was kind enough to humor me in my quest for the perfect key lime pie. Everywhere we stopped — restaurants, diners, crackwhore alleys — we asked everyone and anyone for key lime pie. We ate so much key lime pie we practically turned acidic, and I could have sworn I started to see sugar-induced visions of Jillian Michaels at one point, shout-mouthing, “Do some burpees, you tub of he goo!”
Emme, for her part, kept wondering when we were going to run across her favorite: lemon meringue. We never did, and frankly, even if we had, I would have probably bypassed it for key lime anyway because I’m a selfish SOB when it comes to regional pie snobbery.
With Emme out of school for the summer and our lazy days turning to downright sloth, I said we would make her favorite.
Seriously, it took all day. Not even joking.
If you want to get answers from a terrorist, tell them to make a pie from scratch and they’ll be all, “Here are the plans! Please, make it stop!”
Mostly, this was caused by the dough-making process. We laughed and laughed as we thumbed through the Joy of Cooking, because when you go to it to make dough, it keeps telling you to flip to a different page. For dough, go to 598. Now go to 582. Now go to 543. Fuck you, Irma Rombauer. I just want some pie!
Then we went to Smitten Kitchen instead and found a great recipe and it all turned out fine and dandy. Once we had the crust ready, the filling and the meringue were pretty easy.
But by this point, it had already been something like 5 hours of prep and cooling time (and making tin foil Quaker hats to kill the wait time), and we were starving!
In the end, after it was done, we took a moment to relish in the fact that we made a pretty good lemon meringue pie for a first attempt. And then we ate the shit out of that thing.
I don’t even want to think of how long I did dishes for afterward. It was insane, the kitchen and floor and pots and pans all a whirl of flour and salt and butter. Facebook friends bragged they could whip together a lemon meringue pie in an hour or so, and I thought about calling the police on them, because after our hours-long debacle, the only way I could imagine doing it so quickly was to keep June Cleaver in your basement sex/pastry dungeon as a pie slave. My Facebook friends are perverts.
But whatever. It was worth it. We are still savoring that miracle of citrus and sugar.
Tomorrow, it’s key lime pie day! But we’re totally going with a graham cracker crust …