Let Them Eat… Pie?



I’m at the end of birthday week. All three of my children were born in February. Brian (17th), Michelle (19th), and Matt (22nd). First one in 1980, the last in 1996.

Brian visited a week before his birthday with the request of yellow cake and chocolate frosting. Done!

Michelle lives in Portland, so I lost out on making her a birthday treat.

And then there’s Matt.

“What kind of cake do you want?” I asked.

“No cake. Lemon meringue pie. But no topping,” he said.

Uggg. It has been years since I’ve made a lemon pie. Not a feat for the faint of heart as I make the whole thing from scratch, including the crust, filling, and topping. (Yes, if I was going to the trouble of separating eggs, he was going to get meringue too.)

I picked the lemons yesterday. Juiced them and zested the rind. Make the crust, baked it to a toasty perfection. Then made the filling. Stirred until bubbling and well, you get the idea.

A few hours later as I whipped up the meringue, my thoughts drifted back to when my mom made a lemon meringue pie for a church bake sale. After she spent hours on it, flipping the meringue peaks just so with a spoon, she baked it until they were golden brown.

On the way to the church, she sat me in the back seat and gave me the honor of holding her prized pie. I was so proud.

As she drove, I was intrigued by the little golden peaks. I figured no one would notice if I picked off just one. So, I did. And it was tasty.

It took us a while to get to the church. By the time we got there I’d picked off each of the meringue peaks. When my mom saw her peak-less pie, she scowled. While I don’t remember exactly what punishment I received, I do know I never picked the peaks off of any of her pies again.

Now as I stare at this perfectly baked, full-of-peaks pie, I wonder… would anyone notice if I tried just one??!!

Happy 22nd Birthday Matt a day early.


6 thoughts on “Let Them Eat… Pie?

  1. I started reading this, and immediately went back to the beginning and read it aloud to Sharon. She was giggling before I was finished. Your delightful story of Meringue Peak consumption prompted her to tell me of one of her first efforts at baking (for the boyfriend before me) was a two-layer cake complete with frosting between the halves. She was so proud of how it looked and sent him into the kitchen to look at her marvelous creation. “Oh, Sharon. I think your cake slid.” The top had indeed slid off to the side and was sitting at an angle, frosting all over the place. Thanks Joan. I hadn’t heard that one before. Nice job on this one. Great ending, by the way.

  2. My brother’s favorite is lemon meringue as well. It must be tart though, very tart. Not for the weak. If I had ever picked off the peaks my mother placed on her pies, I don’t know what would have happened. I do know you can put a pie back in for a few minutes and get the white areas with color and caramelize the rest a little more. Hmmm. Where did I learn that trick, and most importantly, why?

    Cute story.

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