Yes, it’s March 13 and the countdown to Pi Day has begun! While people gather round and sing Pi Day Songs, you can make Aunt Mattie’s Lemon Pie. Aunt Mattie worked for my grandmother’s family, and was known for her pies: chocolate, butterscotch, and lemon. My grandmother once carefully measured and wrote down the ingredients that Aunt Mattie used, giving the recipe shown here. (Hmmm. It looks like this card could well be that original recipe. I am, perhaps, the messiest cook I know.)
Ready to start cooking? Gather your ingredients:
One lemon, sugar (1 cup plus another 1/3 cup for the meringue), flour (2 Tablespoons), salt (a pinch), two eggs, and 1/2 cup of water. Anyone want to guess which store we usually shop at?
Now prepare everything. Grate the lemon
and also squeeze out the juice. You’ll also need to separate the eggs, saving the egg whites for the meringue.
Mix the lemon juice and rind, the cup of sugar, the flour, the egg yolks, the pinch of salt, and the water in a bowl and put them into the top of a double boiler.
You’re supposed to stir until it “holds its form”. So keep stirring and watching.
(And if you’re like me, this is about the time you decide that it’s never going to thicken on its own and you scrap the whole double boiler thing and put it directly over a flame so that it will thicken.)
Eventually, by chemistry or proclamation, it will be done. Put it aside while you make the meringue. Beat two egg white with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar.
[There’s a lot of white in this picture isn’t there? But it could be worse. Underneath that radiator cover the radiator is Avocado Green. Weren’t the 70s special?]
Keep mixing until the egg whites get stiff. Then pour the lemon filling into a (cooked or bought) pie crust.
Carefully put the meringue on top, making sure that it touches all the edges of the crust because, well, because that’s what my mom told me to be careful of.
Bake it at about 350° for about 15 minutes, checking to make sure that the top doesn’t burn. And it’s done! Enjoy!
Happy Pi Day!