Monday, July 11, 2011

Proving That You Can't Judge a Book (or Pie) By It's Cover

" Eat dessert first, so you'll be sure to have room for it"
~ Mildred Rowe
While planning our recent getaway to Virginia, I noticed a restaurant that sounded familiar to me.  When I started to read about the down home cooking and home baked pies that were offered there, I remembered why it rang a bell.
Sure enough it was the same place I had read about in this cookbook recently purchased at the thrift shop.
As long as we were in the area, we made it a point to have lunch at Mrs. Rowe's Family Restaurant.  We also made it a point to save enough room for a piece of pie.  As my husband was eating his slice of lemon meringue he told me about how he used to help his great Aunt Mabel make them when he was a little boy.  His job was to whip the egg whites into that fluffy meringue.  After finishing the pie at Mrs. Rowe's, he said it was one of the best pieces he'd ever tasted.

Lemon meringue pie is something I'd never attempted before.  But when I saw that Mrs. Rowe's delicious recipe was included in the cookbook I thought it was time to give it a try. 
I followed the recipe closely and found an unexpected surprise near the end.

While the recipe said to bake for 30 minutes, it didn't say what temperature to bake it at.  I read and re-read and nope, that little piece of information was missing.  After consulting another recipe for lemon meringue pie, I settled on 325 degrees and cautiously watched it to make sure it wouldn't burn.

Fresh from the oven it was looking good.
I asked Brett to critique the meringue.
Because I chose the "weepless" recipe for meringue, I knew it wasn't going to be as fluffy as some meringues.  Knowing that humidity is the enemy of meringue and we have a preponderance of humidity at the moment, I though this was the best choice. 
The resident meringue critiquer pronounced the meringue looked as it should.  Nice and lightly browned.

The recipe said to allow it to cool and then serve at room temperature or chilled.
As we ate dinner, the pie was cooling.
When the time came to serve this long anticipated pie, we put our forks away and had to decide which of the following would work best:

It seems a better name for my pie might be "Lake Lemon Meringue Pie".  The meringue and crust were fine and the flavor of the lemon filling was excellent, but shall we say it was a bit ... runny. 

The guys in my family didn't seem to mind and practically inhaled their pieces. 

In the end, if life gives you lemons, I think I'd stick with the lemonade.


  1. Awww, shoot! It looks so beautiful that I'm having trouble believing it turned into Lake Lemon. I mean it looks good enough for a recipe book cover.

    Course if you'd baked a perfect pie, you'd not have such fun, very fun, hahahahhaha memories just now. Right?

    (Don't hit me, I'm hobbling away as fast as I can. ☺)

  2. I'm laughing right along with you Vee. No need to hobble, just grab a straw and join me for a piece. You're right it will be memorable. Hee hee.

  3. Kim, I'm sorry about your pie. I too, have not tried a lemon pie, but my daughter has and hers was just like yours, runny. We have no clue what went wrong. She followed the Betty Crocker recipe. Kathi

  4. Ah it sure looked good! Sorry it didn't turn out as expected.
    I've made lemon meringue pie and I have trouble with the meringue shrinking.
    I loved my gramma's lemon meringue pies.
    I'll have to try making one again soon.

  5. Oh no, that's too bad the pie didn't thicken. At least it was good! It looks good too! I used to make lemon meringue pies all the time, but I haven't made any in years. (I might have to make one now, you made me hungry!)


  6. Lake Lemon... LOL! I don't know what went wrong... unless they forgot ingredients in that recipe book, just like they forgot the temperature. I bet it tasted good even if it didn't hold it shape very well.

  7. Don't give up though....
    give it another try.
    One of my favorites to make!
    A summer pie!
    xoxo~kathy @
    Sweet Up-North Mornings...

  8. Hi Kim...your lemon meringue pie looks absolutely beautiful! This reminds me of my first homemade biscuits that I made many years ago. As we sat down at the dinner table...we tried the beautiful biscuits...they were so hard! My hubby and son still tease me about the "bear killers"...sweet memories! Hugs ♥ Teri

  9. That was such a sad ending... It looked wonderful!!

    Blessings, Debbie

  10. I love, love, love lemon meringue pie but have never attempted to make one myself because I was afraid of the meringue part. My mom always made the best when we were growing up. Who knew the inside wouldn't cook properly ??? I'm sure it tasted great anyways. My cousin made key lime pie for me last summer as a surprise as she knew I liked them so much -- it was her first time, and they turned out fabulously! I even ate some for breakfast! :) Have a terrific Tuesday! Tammy

  11. It looks delicious - never mind the consistency:-)

  12. It does not matter to me how your pies taste, when you can post and picture pies that look so perfect. Just like everything in life, things are not always as they appear. What I do know, is that you add beauty to everything you share on your blog, and it is fun to visit here. The blues, yellows and white look so good together.

    My sister-in-law makes the best Lemon Merinque pie with vanilla ice cream in the middle. I personally have never attempted to bake one. Congratulations to you for your efforts!

  13. I have had exactly the same problem with the last few lemon pies I've made. It just won't set up tight like it used to. I so seldom make a meringue pie, perhaps I've just lost the touch. A lemon meringue pie properly turned out is a work of art and a rarity. My friends have the same complaints! But we don't mind going the 'spoon' route :D.

  14. loos really beautiful! My mom made the best pies like this, I miss that! :D

  15. It looks beautiful even it is runny. Lemon pie used to be my favorite, but I got burnt out on them. My hubby's fav is pecan pie and once in a while the filling will not set up like it should. I don't know why these things happen!

  16. That is a gorgeous pie! Wow...wonderful job! I can almost taste it!

  17. Ah ..such a fun post. I love lemon meringue pie and make it often.
    We are going to be touring through that area this summer so we'll keep our eye out for that fantastic Mrs. Rowes restaraunt.

  18. I've made "one" lemon meringue pie in my lifetime. Mine turned out just as yours did. Mine didn't look as beautiful as yours though.

    For sure, you won't forget this lemon pie.......I'm hobbling away too!

    That sure is a pretty hot pad laying next to the pie.

  19. It looks fabulous...your lemon meringue pie! Great photos.

    And I really like your recipe book stand...just what I need.

  20. Oh I love meringue pies! My mom is an expert at meringues. She always made chocolare and butterscoth. No one liked lemon. But I do now that I'm an older gal.
    Yours look fluffy and beautiful. And really, I don't care if they weep a bit-they still taste good!

  21. Oh Kim, We have all been there at one time or another. You just have to chuckle and then dig in. lol
    I bet it still tasted great.

  22. About a year ago I checked out pies and tarts from Martha and I tried her Lemon Merigue recipe. My Merigue turned out perfect but the inside never set up...I can relate to your post. Sometime I'm going to try again. I really like Lemon :)

  23. Oh I have had my fair share of mishaps!
    Sure did look good~ tee hee!

  24. Wow - such a surprise ending! Never expected it after looking at the gorgeous pic. Reminds me of my first Butternut Squash Custard Pie when I was first married. Never should have diluted the evaporated milk. :)


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