Once upon a time I made lemon meringue pie with my grandmother. I remember making meringue was the most fascinating thing and a complete mystery as to how gooey egg whites turned into white fluffy clouds and peaks.
What I did not know about lemon meringue pie is the great divide between the custard and the meringue. I have made great meringue
and decent lemon curd
But two well researched experiments in I am perplexed as I cannot find the most perfect union between the two.
Either the meringue egg whites run or the curd does not set. It is a soupy result in each scenario.
As we move toward this most American of holidays where we blow things up in celebration of our rejection of taxation and tyrannical rule from overseas powers...I ponder the origin of this alchemical pie that is on so many picnic tables of the past and present.
Apparently a one Elizabeth Coane Goodfellow (1767-1851) of Philadelphia can be is credited for introducing lemon meringue pie to then young United States of America in her shop. However the books from Mrs. Goodfellow's cooking school only mention lemon pudding in pastry, and meringue only as an accent or small topping - not for a whole pie. So apparently lemon meringue pie's origins are a mystery. See foodtimeline.org for citations to this historical aside.
What I do know is that Lemon Meringue has been the favorite pie of presidents, everyone's grandma made a famous one, and Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook is not the road for me to find redemption in the meringue custard divide.
This angel is a little stuck but I will try again after more internet research of what makes a more perfect union of egg yolk custard and egg white meringue. Meanwhile, enjoy this celebration of independence with gratitude.