In her Christmas stocking this year, my daughter found a post-it note pad that says “If it weren’t for the last minute, I’d never get anything done.” She feigned offense, but she grudgingly admits it’s true. The rest of that truth is that she inherited the procrastination gene from her parents.
With my three previous Daring Bakers challenges, I’ve fought it off successfully. I’m on shaky ground with most non-yeast baking, so the threat of public humiliation has been enough to stir me to action plenty early in the month. I had time to re-make the Bostini Cream Pie when the chiffon cake didn’t cooperate. Made the Potato Bread three times. And although I had some decent beginner’s luck with the Yule Log, I made darn sure my schedule could accommodate a take-two before the deadline, if needed.
Well, my true nature was bound to catch up with me sooner or later. I waited until the last possible (for me) day to bake the lemon meringue pie that is the January challenge, hosted by Canadian Baker Jen. And it was a day we had company for dinner, proving that, in addition to the procrastination gene, the stupid gene was also at work here. (In my defense, it was an old friend, a good sport not likely to be easily fazed by scary pie. Also, I did have some nice pistachio gelato on standby, just in case.)
As usually happens when I tempt fate, I ran into trouble early and often. I swear I followed the recipe exactly. But I ask you, does this look like a) a pie crust or b) a pathetic little thing that melted butter all over my oven floor during baking, filling the oven with smoke and leaving me with a pie dish lined with the pastry equivalent of sedimentary rock? But no time for analysis or regrets, I was down to the wire here; I forged boldly ahead and hoped the filling and meringue would divert attention away from this unfortunate mess.
About that filling. Did you know that “constantly” (as in, “whisking constantly”) means “without interruption”? And did you know there’s a reason for that, when cooking a mixture of water, sugar, and cornstarch? I learned this. Last-minute or not, I was not about to forge boldly ahead with large chunks of Magic Rub eraser suspended in watery syrup. Luckily, doing this part over only cost me about 10 minutes.
Now for the meringue. It whipped up nicely. Going for that ever-popular hedgehog look, I piped it on top of the pie, being careful, as the recipe indicated, to make sure the meringue was well-connected to the crust so it wouldn’t pull away. Baked for 15 minutes. So far so good. Looks beautiful, no?
An hour or two later, I glanced at my cooled pie. Let’s just say I’ve had “Islands in the Stream” stuck in my head ever since (and now you do too, bwahahaa!).
It was edible. The filling was good, smooth as silk in the end, with that assertive-yet-delicate flavor only Meyer lemons can lend. The meringue was passable, if you didn’t spend too much time looking at it from above. The crust, well… no teeth were broken, but it’s a good thing our friend is, as I said, a good sport.
The picture at the top looks beautiful. I guess, all’s well that ends well.
I baked my crust in the morning and did the filling and meringue at night, because only then did I have the peace and quiet to concentrate, at 11 at night!
That was a first for me, cooking that late.
I think it is too much fat in the crust. Mine was tasteless. I didn’t like it. But what I like is your meringue dollops. Look awesome!
That pie looks almost psychedelic from above!
i love your meringue!! they look gorgeous!! it was indeed a challenging one for all of us..lets see whats up for us next month 🙂
Gretchen Noelle says
Very nice! Too bad the crust pooled. But the end result seems like you overcame the challenge. I am sure the taste was superb! I try to make the challenge early in the month and for some reason waited until the last minute also this time! That will teach us!
The runny bit was apparently a tough part for everyone. Great job on your completion though!
Susan, I don’t get that pool of butter thing with the crust! I got a pool of butter on mine in the first half of the baking but it came out fine when finished. Even with the “issues” this recipe had, I did like the pie.
I love your meringue!!
LOL I can’t get Islands in the Stream out of my head now! Still looks great, well done!
I will never hear “Islands in the Stream” the same way again! Luckily I never really liked that song. I wonder why my meringue didn’t run. Maybe because it didn’t sit around long enough? Or because I beat my meringue too much? Anyway, your pie LOOKED beautiful!
This was my first visit to your blog. It’s great! Maybe it will inspire me to do some more yeast baking.
I think it looks wonderful and tasty. The thing that matters most is that you and your guest enjoyed it!!
Big Boys Oven says
oh….. I am freaking out seeing your gorgoeus pie! I definitely want one!
Your LMP looks wonderful! Great dedication. Love your blog!
hey too bad about the butter, but it does look good… and guess even i made it on the last day.. but i was, well, slightly luckier 🙂
foodie froggy says
Absolutely gorgeous ! Félicitations !
looks great! i was actually thinking about you last night, because i think you probably have an answer to my question: if i only use half of one of those grocery-store packets of yeast, how do i store the other half, and how long will it last?
BAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA! Oh this was terrific! My God, Susan, we could be baking twins! I am so relating to the “last minute” what can go wrong WILL GO WRONG blues. And yeah, I’m fakkin hearing Kenny and Dolly inside my head right now. Thanks.
Well done! You made it through with true Daring Baker spirit! 🙂
That is one freaky-good looking meringue! Glad yours worked out. thanks for the comment on my pie too! 🙂
I actually love the way your meringue came out looking from above! And I definitely understand you on that procrastinating nature, but it looks like it ended up with a big success (don´t worry, no one cares about the crust, it´s all about the curd in any lemon pie).
Love the piped meringue! Such a great job on your pie 🙂
Love your story! I didn’t care for the crust either, but I guess it’s always a learning experience to try something new. I’m sure the final result was delicious. My ’round 2′ piping is just like yours.
Your pie looks lovely – it takes a true Daring Baker dedication to bake it twice!
Isn’t it cool to see how one recipe can turn out so differently for so many people. Your LMP looks great!
Your meringue looks awesome…and I hear you on the procrastination bit…I made it just the day before…was a teeny bit lucky though 🙂
Baking Soda says
Floating islands in the stream.. I think you managed to let several hundred DB sing this song now! Great write up and I really think it still looks so pretty!
Thanks! Nice piping job yourself!! This was just my first time and I was definitely nervous about experimenting, but it was totally fun. Happy almost-February!
Your piped meringue looks awesome, really! A great idea for next time (if I make this again). And, I am so, so glad I am not the only one that now needs to clean her oven!
I see you your non-yeast food looks lovely too!
I’m sure your friend loved it!
Islands in the Stream! teehee
Your pie looks good, even if it didn’t turn out as well as you hoped. I also went up to the 11th hour finishing mine. 🙂
I love your spiky piping, it looks great. I’m sorry you had trouble with the crust. In the past I have made lemon meringue pies with a cheesecake base (digestive biscuits and butter). It’s not totally authentic, but if you’ve got the filling and meringue sorted it might make a repeat a little less stressful!
Your meringue looks stunningly beautiful, Susan!
Wow, that seems like a lot of butter for that amount of flour. When I make pastry, I use 250ml of flour per 85ml lard (or butter) for a single crust pie and double that for a double crust pie.
Ha! As luck would have it, I don’t know “Islands in the Stream” and haven’t caught the audiovirus. (I do have the alternate audio virus of “Lemon Tree, very pretty and the lemon flower is….” though, if that’s any consolation.)
P.S. At least your pie tasted good. My husband takes great pride in his lemon meringue pie and made it especially for one of our friends who adored lemon meringue pie. When he made it for her though, he forgot to put any sugar in the lemon filling…. Whee!!! She NEVER let us forget about that pie!
Great job! Lovely meringue!
Well done! Looks pretty…even with random song swirling in my head as I read your post. I just started going through all the posts so its going to be like someone pushed the “repeat” button on the CD player (or IPod). I like the crust better in the free form than the pie.
I think it looks great!
I think it looks marvelous! Like a huge sea anenomea or something! And that’s hillarious about the song stuck in your head. I love the BeeGees!
i agree, the crust was definitely a butter bog. y our pie sure looks yummy though, and at least it tasted great.
i love the way your meringue looks!
WOW Susan…your LMP does look great. Read that you’re great with yeast & on shaky ground with bkng powder. I’m the very opposite…as Ben (whatscooking.us) & me rant…our strengths lie in baking powder!! Gotta lot to learn from you; my yeast always misbehaves. I’m still trying to get to the perfect pizza base!
Great picture & lovely write-up. Cheers
It looks good. Nothing like tempting fate with baking! Well done, I think it looks lovely and it taste great, so thats what matters.
Hey Susan, your pie looks great! Just goes to show that the sum of the parts is far greater than the individual components (in this case, the crust). I’d gladly have a piece any day.
Good looking pie! I had the same fear when I was making my pie but it turned out ok in the end.
Wonderful looking pie! Such even browning… lovely!
JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen says
What a cute pie you turned out! I love it – that meringue looks like spiky hair! So cute!
Looks great! How did you pipe the meringue? Wasn’t it too thick? Mine seemed too thick for that, but maybe I misjudged.
Yay! Another last minute baker 🙂
I’ve decided that adrenaline makes LMP taste better!
The topping looks really pretty, the curd filling perfect. Congratulations!
Andreia Sousa says
Thanks on your comment. Your pie is great, as the rest of your other recipes. I prepared mine on saturday. I bought cream of tartar online (din’t find anywhere) and it came right on time!
I, also, tend towards procrastination- but’I’ll get to that later… 🙂
Your swirly meringue is lovely.
Islands in the stream…ok- curses!- now it’s stuck in my head.
Your lemony “hedgehog” is absolutely beautiful! And just a tip for next time…place your pie on a jellyroll pan so your oven doesn’t get gunked up. Islands in the stream…Bwahahahahahaha! Now I’m going to be singing it the rest of the day.
Miss Ifi says
Oh!!! your story sounds soooo much like something I would do.. leaving things for the last minute or trying completely new recipes when I have people over for dinner, I don’t do the trying new recipes anymore, but OH boy do I leave things for the last minute. During our Yule Log challenge I actually promised someone that I would go over to their place and bring Yule log, well my buttercream decided to curd to I had to show up empty handed, apologize and do it the following day to take to my friends.
Enough of my chatter, I like the looks of you pie !! congratulations for daring!
Tempered Woman says
“Ever popular hedgehog look” you are too funny. Sorry to hear about the crust~ but the picture looks good. Glad your filling turned out- that seemed to give most peeps headaches. At least your pie was edible, really. Congrats on finishing your challenge!
Your pie looks wonderful! And thank you for the entertaining story. 🙂
On to the next challenge.
Glad that it still tasted good! I made english muffins this morning using your recipe–my husband was in heaven.
I’m glad you are facing your non-yeast baking fears in each challenge! And I’m also glad you followed your instinct of not using the erasers suspended in goo….
You are so funny! It is a joy to read your post ?
Unlike my runny one, your filling looks great!
Simply outrageous! It looks really fantastic and your post had me laughing till my sides ached!
Jen Yu says
Your pie is gorgeous! And you had pistachio gelato as backup?!? Oh man, I’m there 😉 Your post had me laughing so hard. You are such a trooper!
I loved this daring bakers challenge – lemon meringue pie is a favorite of mine! Gorgeous job!
The pie would be great with the pistachio gelato! I think you did a great job! Bravo!
Sheltie Girl says
Your pie turned out beautifully, even if the crust gave you trouble.
Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go
What a nice pie. There really is nothing “last-minute” about this recipe, though. It was all I could do to juggle all the steps, and I don’t think my timing was very good because the filling didn’t turn out nearly as nicely as yours. If I had waited until the end of the month, I would have been a basket case for sure! ;0)
Well, your pie looks awesome despite the runny filling! I love that you took the time to pipe the meringue–I’m far too lazy for that 🙂
I love Meyer lemons! And your pie looks just gorgeous!
I love the “hedgehog” look on your pie! Looks yummy!
“Baby, when I met you there was peace unknown
I set out to get you with a fine tooth comb
I was soft inside, there was somethin’ going on…”
And now I’ll never forget that “whisking constantly” really means “without interruption.
Thanks for sharing your story. I do so love the way you write. Procrastinators, unite!
Great job! Looks like it set up well. Isnt it nice to have friends to share with?
Large amounts of butter in pie crust causes nothing but trouble (butter has too much water and proteins that gum everything up)! Gotta do the crisco, or if you are a diehard nostalgic, try lard instead. Its seriously flaky and amazing. It doesnt taste “porky” at all… My aunts recipe used a lard base and the pie crust had a touch of vinegar in it. It always turns out perfect.