I guess that I am very, very spoiled. I am 35 years old and until very recently, I had all of my grandparents still alive and well. I am so lucky to have wonderful grandparents that I have such close relationships with. My grandfather, Buddy, passed away on Sunday. I know that it was his time, and that he is in a better place. He is no longer suffering, but that does not make me miss him any less. Buddy had a generous spirit, a kind heart, and a wicked sense of humor. He was one of those people that could make fun of me and I would not get it until 3 minutes later. He was too smart for his own good. He lived his life fully and filled with joy and that is all that you can ask of someone. He and my grandmother, were my favorite dinner dates. Whenever I would visit, the three of us would go to dinner and catch up on life. And laugh a lot. He told great dirty jokes and knew everyone. He loved his family more than anything and was always there for all of us. He gave great advice and a swift kick in the ass if you needed it. We need more people in this world like him.
I made this pie this morning to remember him by. His funeral is today and I could not be there. One of the of worst parts about living so far away from home. My family is Jewish and tonight they will begin to sit shiva. When you visit a home that is mourning or sitting shiva, you are supposed to bring food to the family. I have been told (I am not sure how true this part is) that you are supposed to bring the family something sweet, like cookies or cake, to remember the sweetness in the person’s life. I love that idea. Lemon meringue pie was his favorite. That is what I would have brought if I were there.
My message to you is this; if you have a grandparent still with you, do something nice for them and make them their favorite treat. Our days on Earth are numbered and we need to spend them with the people that we love and making memories. Take pictures. Ask them the stories of their life. In the end, those memories are what we have left to hold on to.
I love you Bud, and I will miss you.
Clay and Bud – June 2009
Lemon Meringue Pie
Single pie crust – baked and cooled
For the filling:
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 egg yolks (save 3 for for the meringue)
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
3 Tablespoons butter cut into pieces
For the meringue:
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
In a saucepan whisk together the sugar, lemon juice, water, cornstarch, and salt. Cook over medium heat until the mixtures starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. The mixture will also become transparent. Gradually whisk the eggs into the mixture. Add the butter. Cook until the mixture is thick and can coat the back of a spoon. Strain it through a strainer and stir in the lemon zest. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the lemon filling and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
In the bowl of a mixer, whisk the egg whites and salt until they form peaks. Turn the machine off and start making the syrup. Make the sugar syrup by combining the sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a saucepan and boiling over medium-high heat. When the mixture reaches 245 degrees, turn the mixer back on and mix on a slow speed. Slowly stream the sugar into the egg whites with the machine still running. Let the machine whisk until the bowl cools off and is room temperature, about 7 minutes. Add the vanilla. (This is exactly the same as fluffy boiled icing.)
Layer the lemon filling in the bottom of the baked pie crust. Top with the meringue layer. Spread evenly, but makes peaks with a spatula. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 4-6 minutes or until the top of the pie is a pale golden brown.
This pie is best served the day that it is made.