Pie Therapy

Recipes and ruminations on pie.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Lime Angel Pie

After I got home from my friends, and put my daughter down to sleep, I decided to make my second pie of the day, Lime Angel Pie. Hmm, Friday night for the apres 30 set with young children.

"The most frequently printed of all the pie recipes in sectional cookbooks of the last 60 years."wrote Mr. Beard. Interesting comment; as for me in 2005, I have never heard of an Angel pie.


  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 t cream of tartar
  • 1 c sugar


  • 4 egg yloks
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon / lime juice
  • 2 T grated rind

  • 1 cup of heavy cream whipped.

You make the meringue and then bake it for an hour in a 300 degree oven. Before you put the meringue in the pie plate, grease it with some Pam or oil. Mr. Beard said to heat up the pie plate in the oven and then dribble some oil and wipe it out. I did all this, and the meringue still stuck. The recipe also said to beat the whites to form stiff peaks. And, begin adding the sugar after the cream of tartar and gradually after soft peaks have begun forming To be honest, I couldn't really remember what egg white stiff peaks looked like. I contemplated calling my mother, but decided just to wing it. It was around midnight. After you bake it for an hour (and be sure NOT to open the oven or it will fall) leave the oven door slightly ajar and turn off the oven to let it cool for 30min.

Meanwhile you can make the custard. I chose to use key limes, you can use regular limes (and do half lemon to temper the astringency) or lemons, just double the amount of rind with the lemons. Prep was interesting. If you have ever worked with key limes you will understand what I mean. Grating the rind was nearly impossible, as the little slippery nubules kept slipping out of my hands. And the skin is so thin that it took around 10 limes to get 1 T of rind, and a good portion of that was likely knuckle skin. Then I tried to juice them on my electric citrus juicer. They kept trying to escape so I ended up just squeezing them beneath my fingers.

Add all the remaining ingredients together (except the whipping cream), beat lightly and then cook over a double boiler until it thickens. I don't have a double boiler. Does anyone? I just put a metal bowl over a saucepan filled with boiling water. Then chill to thicken. By this point it was about 1:30am. I was getting tired, but perservered. Then whip the cream fairly stiffly. The meringue will have sunken in the middle by this point. Spread half the cream over bottom then put a layer of the custard, then the remaining cream. I also put a dollop of the custard on top to give it some color. Otherwise it looked really beige. Then it is suppose to chill overnight, but I think it could've been served right away.

By 2am I was exhausted but finished.

The next day I plied the pie off on my mother-in-law (and caterer by trade)but kept a piece for my soon returning husband. She was having my daughter over in the evening to play with her cousins, and to allow me a little RnR with some friends. Thank god, or I might have made another pie.

But I stole a small bite at that point. I understand why it is called Angel. It is super light and airy and it really just melts away in your mouth. The key limes made it special. But I might have prefered the custard folded in with the cream (one option from Beard). It was good but sweet, I think I prefer my pies more substantial.

My M-I-L tried the lemon slice when she came over. She liked it; in fact could barely put it down. "Sophisticated," she said. That was the clear winner. The Angel was just fluff.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Lemon Slice Pie

I had a lot of citrus in my fridge - around 8 lemons, 12 key limes, and 10 regular limes. Why so much citrus? I habitually buy limes because my husband cooks Thai food. And my mother-in-law habitually shops at Costco for 'deals'; and since she is on her own we end up with the extras.

Whenever I am in a situation where things are starting eek past their prime in the fridge, I find it a personal challenge to find some new wacko way to use them.

So, today I made Lemon Slice Pie (or Fresh Lemon Pie). The recipe is from James Beard's "American Cookery," published in 1972. Said mother-in-law has also provided for a bounty of eclectic cookbooks. I particularly like this one, because the deserts (all I really ever look at) provide a picture of American Life in the past century.

Enough rambling, more pie. Here is the recipe:
  • 1 cup of this slices of unpeeled lemon, or put whole unpeeled lemons throughout the coarse blade of a food processor
  • 1 1/2 c of water
  • 2 c sugar or 1 cup sugar and molasses
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 7 T flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 T butter
  • Baked pastry shell or crumb crust for 9 inch pie

Mr. Beard provides a lot of interesting background which I won't go into, and options for making this pie. Basically you simmer the lemons, which I sliced in the food processor in circles, in the water for 10 minutes. Then you add 1 cup of the sugar and keep simmering until the rinds become soft. While this is going on you mix all the other ingredients except the butter. I chose to use Sorghum because I had it, and only a cup of it in place of the molasses.

Then you add some of the hot lemon mixture to the egg mixture and then add it all back into the lemon mixture. Then Mr. Beard says stir it over low heat until clear, and not too long. Well mine never became clear, perhaps because of the sorghum. But once it was thickened quite a bit I turned it off.

Then you add the butter and pour it into the crust. I had made a crust earlier. I don't believe in store bought crusts, there always greasy and why not just make that too. Its not that hard. That being said, it wasn't one of my best crusts. Mr. Beard then says you can either top it with meringue made with three eggs or whipped cream.

I took the pie over to my friends and finished it off with whipped cream (with some sugar). It is a very tart pie, and not too sweet. My friend said it was an adult pie. I agree. It was tasty, but I am not too sure I am so fond of the big pieces of rind throughout.

We were having a mom / baby night with the kids. We dug into the pie and discussed how our dads were jerks, our ridiculously bad educational system, men's faults in general, and just generally caught up. Sliced lemon pie was a perfect accompaniment.

(the pic is a pieced I salvaged and brought home)