I have a true sense of accomplishment looking at the piece of gorgeousness which is this pie. That is the absolute best part of cooking. (Well, aside from the eating). Cooking exemplifies the adage “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”. Aside from the charming Meryl Streep/Julia Child combo I think the great success of Julie/Julia is exactly this. If you want to learn how to make something in the kitchen pretty much all you need to do is DO IT! And sometimes you have to make a dish more than once, or twice, or even thrice.
For this do-over pie I decided to turn to the crazed perfectionism of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Pie and Pastry Bible. When I don’t have an innate sense of what something should taste/feel/look like I need a very strict guide. And as I said in the previous pie post, Lemon Meringue is not in my intuitive zone. When I read her recipe I knew that I would have a nice thick layer of tart lemony filling. Who knew that the yellow color of the filling would come more from the 8 (count ‘em) egg yolks as much as from the lemon juice and zest.
As for the meringue, the previous recipe I made had me beating the eggs in a bowl over a pan of simmering water in order to bring the egg whites up to temperature and make them safe. It was awkward and took a long time. The Italian meringue I made from RLB’s book involved heating sugar with a bit of water to soft ball stage then pouring it into the already partially beaten whites. I loved watching the the foam of the whites change from big bubbles that were very foamy to tiny tiny bubbles that made up a pure white glossy fluffy mass – so beautiful.
All in all I loved the time I spent making this pie and acquireing a greater sense of mastery over meringue and custard.
If only I had made a killer crust! Oh well, tomorrow.