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Making pies

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I have made pies since I was a teen....in other words a LONG time.  


Tonight, we're having a bake sale auction and I was asked to make a lemon and a butterscotch pie.  No problem, I thought!


Here are the results.  I'm hoping and think they'll taste fine but look at the meringue.  I didn't do anything different, one from the other, and yet they don't look at all alike.


So, I'm here to tell you, even if you've baked more for 1/2 a century things are seldom perfect.  Just jump into it and give it a try. If you make a mistake, you can only get better. :) 


With today's prices homemade of almost everything is so much cheaper, and usually better, than mass produced.



Try it!  You just might like it!3 11-5-22.jpg

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Those look so tasty and amazing! 


I don't usually do meringue much since I'm the only one who likes lemon, but those make me want to bake pies! MMMM butterscotch.   I'm also the only one who likes that.  I'm going to try one of those hacks with foil that make half lemon/ half chocolate and do that this year.  You have inspired me.  

Edited by euphrasyne
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Those pies look great.


I used to make a meringue pie every Thanksgiving and Christmas It was a tradition around here. But as family got smaller due to family deaths and then the kids growing up and moving away, I stopped making them as there were some diabetics in family with no will power. Might make one this Christmas though as DD and SIL will be coming here for Christmas. We are all trying to figure out new traditions now with all the kids grown and living in other states and with DH no longer with us. Sad times indeed. But new traditions and memories to work on and treasure. 

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By the time I got the pies to the auction the meringue on both was close to flat. I didn't even take them in.  I gave them to the 2 friends who had asked that I make butterscotch and lemon because it was their favorite.  They were happy and donated to the sale.  Can't ask for better friends than that.


Never had such a thing happen.  Hope it doesn't happen again.  No idea what happened.


P.S. In church this morning they told me they were delicious......what else could they say? :D

Edited by Dee
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The most common reason meringues fall is usually either older eggs or overbeating them at a high speed.  Use room temperature eggs and start on a low speed, gradually going higher and don't overbeat for best results.   You want them to hold the air bubbles and not pop and this will help insure that.   Also avoid making on humid days and let cool on the counter to avoid cracking.  Also bowl and beaters need to be 100% fat free so make sure you use soap on them if you just used it to make something with fat in it.  


Another thing that will make them fall is adding the sugar too much at a time.   Add 1/2 while beating and rest after.   Regardless, you should only incorporate about 1T at a time to avoid it falling.  


If it is weeping, then you overmixed it or undercooked it.  Turn up the temp or cook it longer.  

Cracked, you cooked it too high a temp.

Tough meringue usually needs more sugar or a less humid day.  

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@euphrasyne I found this recipe a while back. Any comments???



To Make The Meringue:

In a small saucepan add 1 Tbsp of cornstarch, 2 Tbsp sugar, and ½ cup water.
Mix the three ingredients well and on the stovetop heat over medium heat, stirring until the mixture thickens and clears slightly.
Set saucepan aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat the (4) egg whites until frothy.  My mom uses a plain old hand held electric mixer. 

Add in vanilla and a pinch of salt and beat again to mix.
Gradually beat in 4 Tbsp of sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time.
Then beat in the cooled cornstarch mixture.
Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

lemon-pie-6.JPG.c2d88f4e66760c7dbfa20174230b4658.JPG   lemon-pie-7.JPG.eb8cf92dc8867432a509934febee9e54.JPG








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Cornstarch will help with weeping or humidity issues.  The sugar absorbs so much liquid and the cornstarch will help prevent that.  Making the sugar syrup also helps the sugar to dissolve properly.   That would probably make a nice soft meringue and be very tasty.   I usually make crispy meringues for myself because that is what I like.   


I generally use the recipe from my General Foods Cookbook copyright 1932.

"Successful meringue are fluffy, tender, and fine-textured.  They do not separate from the pie filling, become watery, or shrink.  For a 9 inch pie, allow 4 Tablespoons sugar to 2 egg whites.  Beat egg whites until foamy throughout.  Add sugar, 2 Tablespoons at a time , and beat after each addition until the sugar is thoroughly blended.  When all sugar is added, continue beating until the mixture will stand in peaks.  Pile lightly on filled pie and bake in a moderate oven (350F) 15 minutes.  The foamy stage to which the whites are beaten, the thorough beating, and the moderate temperature are essential to a successful meringue."


The other recipe I use most often doesn't get baked (I always disclose that this may have semi-raw eggs and raw eggs may not be considered safe.)

2 egg whites,

1/2 c sugar

2 T water

few drops vanilla

Make eggs, sugar and water.  Put on a double boiler over boiling water and beat 1 minute.  Remove from heat, beat 2 minutes.  Add flavoring and spread over fruit pie.   Sprinkle coconut if desired.  




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I use a Betty Crocker cookbook recipe for my meringue.  The mother of an old boyfriend gave me the cookbook for Christmas in 1965 telling me, "If you're going to marry my son (yes, we were engaged at the time) you better learn to cook."  Thankfully, I never married her son, but my husband has appreciated recipes from it for 56 years. :) 


I've been asked for a coconut pie next Wednesday so we'll see if I can do better with the meringue on it.  My fingers are crossed!

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