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FLS reporter Katie Thisdell serves up news on local food finds, tales from home cooks and inspiration to help you have fun in your own kitchen.

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Which is better: The number 3.14 or a slice of lemon meringue pie?

Happy Pi Day!

This morning, while my housemate (a middle school science teacher) recited many more decimal places past 3.14 than I’ll ever be able to remember, my mind focused on the other (and better) form of the word.

Pie. That’s right, I was ready for some early-morning pie-baking. I’m really not that obsessed–though, I should tell you, I come from a family that has been known to drive several hours across Michigan to eat the state’s best cherry pie, and I made a similar trip east of San Diego last week in search of apple pie. But had I not been asked to bring a dessert to a retirement dinner, I wouldn’t have bothered baking today. Since the party fell on the mathematical holiday celebrated in schools, pie was really the only fitting choice. (National Pie Day actually falls in January.)

As spring tempts us with blooming daffodils and flirting sunshine, lemon meringue pie also seemed appropriate to welcome the season. It’s too early for berries, too late for apples, and we’re far from pumpkin time. Lemon meringue is at once tart and sweet, light and buttery, and will hopefully help us make it the last few days until spring and its bounty are truly here.

By the way, you may be wondering about the new face at the top of the Front Burner page. Stafford government has been my primary beat for the past year and a half, and now I’m excited to say, I’ll be taking over this blog, as well as a chunk of healthcare. I’m looking forward to talking food with you all, and getting some discussions going about favorite recipes, ingredients, restaurants and trends, along with so much more. But more about my plans for this space another day, now it’s time for pie.

lemon meringue pie

Lemon Meringue Pie 

from Gorgeous Cakes by Annie Bell

  • Half a 16-ounce box of graham crackers (about 33 squares)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 4 lemons
  • 1 14-ounce can condensed milk
  • 4 eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar (the recipe called for superfine, but I used regular granulated sugar and it seemed to work just fine)

Whizz crackers to fine crumbs in a food processor. Put in bowl, add butter, toss until crumbs are evenly coated. Press onto sides and bottom of an 8″ springform pan (3″ sides). Start with sides, then do bottom, pressing down with fingers.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  After zesting and before juicing, roll lemons on counter to release the juice. Combine zest and juice with condensed milk in a bowl, beating until you have a smooth cream. Beat in egg yolks and pour on top of crust.

In a clean and dry bowl, with clean beaters, beat the whites until they rise to a froth. Sprinkle sugar over them, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well with each addition until you have a glossy stiff meringue.

Mound meringue on top of cream, taking it to the edge of the shell. Bake 30 minutes or until surface us lightly golden and crusty, and custard is set. Remove and cool. Run knife around the edge to loosen, then unhinge sides. Pie is best the day it’s made. If you refrigerate it, bring it up to room temperature before serving.

(Once in college, my roommates and I made this pie and didn’t let it cool down at all before digging in, straight from the pan. It tasted absolutely delicious warm, but the meringue promptly collapsed. I’d recommend at least letting it cool slightly before enjoying!)

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Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/frontburner/2013/03/14/2656/