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Painless Cooking, Issue #002 --A DESERT RECIPES COSTLY MISTAKE
June 24, 2009
A DESERT RECIPES COSTLY MISTAKE
Issue#002 June 24, 2009
Through this letter, I want you to meet two of my wonderful friends, Don and Anita. They are a beautiful couple, originally from Britain. Recently Don celebrated a birthday and I asked Anita what I could give him for this special occasion. Anita suggested that I could give him something home baked. She said that Don enjoys homemade food.
After some thought, I decided to prepare my favorite lemon meringue pie. I have made this recipe for over thirty years, and it always turned out delicious. Like I have told you before, on my website, I always us fresh, quality ingredients. Anything less is not worth spending your time on.
This day I started working on Don’s pie. Normally, I can whip up a meringue pie in an hour. I started to cook the filling, but it wouldn’t thicken. I cooked and cooked, but it was still too thin. I decided to dump the mixture and start again. Maybe I measured incorrectly!
I started again, carefully measuring each ingredient. Again on the heat, I began to cook the filling. I cooked and cooked. Again, it was not getting thicker. Why? The only reason had to be the thickening agent. It had to be the cornstarch. It had to be bad for some reason. Why would it be bad? The only reason had to be the age! I had been using from the same box for some time, but in all my years doing cooking, I have never had bad cornstarch!
I got a new box from my pantry, and set out to start again. Carefully, I measured each ingredient and put it into the saucepan. I was ready to try again! As soon as the pudding mixture started to get hot, I knew I had solved the problem.
Think about what this mistake cost me, doing two batches and dumping. In two recipes there were 2 ½ cups of sugar, 6 egg yolks, 2/3 cup of lemon juice, and 6 tablespoons of butter, vinegar and lemon extract. This lesson added up to dollars, plus 2 hours of my time, energy and frustration. Could I have prevented this mistake? YES! I should have told myself, “This box has been opened too long and is too close to empty to take a chance.”
The little bit of cornstarch that I threw out was nothing compared to the expense of the other ingredients that were lost. If this pie was a cream pie recipe with milk, the loss would have been greater. This proved that one is never too old or too experience to make a mistake. Keep my valuable lesson in mind, if you try my favorite lemon pie recipe below.
LEMON MERANGUE PIE
Mix the sugar, cornstarch and water in a heavy saucepan. Combine egg yolks with the juice and beat. Add the juice and yolk mixture to the sugar and water mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, STIRRING CONSTANTLY, until thickened. (About 25 minutes). When at pudding consistency, add lemon extract, butter, and vinegar. Stir to blend in and pour into baked pie shell.
When my friend returned my pie plate, it was not empty! It was filled, or I should say “ HALF FILLED” with delicious cookies. They gave the plate of cookies to my son, Jonny, to return to me. He ate half of the cookies on the way over. I can’t blame him because they were delicious! Anita has agreed for me to share the recipe with you. The recipe is below. I know you will enjoy.
4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Pack dry yeast
1 ½ Cups butter
3 Egg yolks
½ Pint sour cream
1 Teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients together, no water. When blended, divide into 7 balls. Wrap in plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent drying. Leave in refrigerate for 12 hours before rolling out.
Before rolling dough, mix filling. Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Mix ground walnuts and Sugar together. Fold nut mixture into egg whites.
Roll ball of dough with rolling pin in powder sugar, making circle. Cut each circle into 12 pie shaped pieces. Spoon a teaspoon of nut mixture onto each triangle and roll up to shape a horn. Repeat until all dough is used.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until lightly brown. Sprinkle with lots of powder sugar.
I have also added below, my favorite pie crust recipe and meringue to use with the lemon pie.
PIE CRUST (makes 5 shells- I will make all 5, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Unbaked, the pie plates stack nicely.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Very lightly grease bottom of pie plates (not sides) with a fork, place holes all over dough, bottom and sides. (This keeps dough from bubbling up while baking) Next, mix 1 egg white with a little water and beat with a whisk. With a pastry brush, brush the entire pie shell. (This will seal the crust as it bakes, and the filling will not make the crust soggy.)
Blend the flour, shortening and salt. Put yolks and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add enough water to bring it to 1 cup. Mix well. Add liquid to the flour and shortening mixture. Mix well. Turn out on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide into s parts. Roll each out on floured surface and line each pie plate.
Combine sugar, water and cornstarch in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until slightly thickened. Beat egg whites and salt until foamy. Continue beating, while gradually spooning in hot mixture, Continue beating until peaks form.
Spoon onto top of pie filling. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees oven until lightly brown.
Until later, have a happy cooking experience!
Your friend, Frances
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