simple and good.
There are certain foods that are perfect for certain moods.
If I am deeply overtired in a physical way, I need to have a grilled cheese, fries with mayo, or pancakes and bacon (yes, I have discovered that hangover foods are also a great balm for the overtired body); but when I am feeling world-weary, I turn to smooth, soothing pureed soups.
When I am bleating and blue and the weather is not doing what I'd like, it's a lemon square and some Earl Grey tea with amaretto.
When funds are plentiful and I am grateful for all that life has to offer, I roast a duck and insist on really good wine with it.
And when everything just feels simple and good, nothing is more perfect to eat than my mother's lemon pie.
My mom was here visiting last week, and we had the best time.
It's nearly impossible these days to have an uneventful week at our house, but last week we came pretty close - no birth, no insanely prolonged labour (or preparations for either event), no - well, not too many - raging hormones or eviction notices or husband travelling; and on the home front, no kitchen cupboards needing painting or garden needing planting.
My mom hadn't been here in eight months, so we spent our week enjoying her company and planning for her next visit, which will happen in our new house.
Oh, and we drank and ate indulgently all week.
The last day my mom was here, she and my daughter made this lemon pie, and its billowy brightness kept me going through what might otherwise have been several days of moping in her absence.
Simple and Good Lemon Pie
I usually buy three lemons for this, but often I only need two.
3c boiling water
4 eggs, separated
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2c lemon juice
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Use your favourite pie crust recipe to line an 8- or 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Cool completely.
Reduce oven heat to 400 degrees.
Prepare filling while crust is cooling: In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch and 1 cup sugar. Place saucepan over medium heat, and gradually add boiling water, stirring constantly until thickened.
Lightly beat egg yolks in a small bowl. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into eggs yolks, then beat egg yolk mixture back into saucepan. Cook a further minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter vanilla, lemon zest and juice.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape filling into prepared pie crust.
Make meringue: Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium high speed about 30 seconds to combine, then add cream of tartar. With the mixer running, gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Top pie with meringue, using a spatula to ensure that filling is completely covered with meringue.
Place in 400 degree oven for 5 minutes or so, until meringue is golden.
Cool to room temperature before serving.