Sunday, August 31, 2008

Don't Rain On My Meringue

In the beginning, I imagined making a different pot of soup each and every week, then posting about it here. The options would be limitless - cream soups, vegetable soups, tortilla, hearty stews and chili's - and my daughter the 'chief taste tester' would think she was in heaven with all these different wonderful soups to eat.

But what I never imagined was my daughter the soup fiend requesting the same soup over and over again. Tasty, but a bit boring. Fortunately soup isn't the only thing I've been cooking lately.

Dorrie Greenspan's recipe for Florida Pie is the perfect late summer dessert. Cool, creamy, not too sweet, I couldn't wait to try it this Labor Day weekend. Dorrie's recipes are simple to follow. And I enjoy her tips and stories that are included along with the recipes. I also appreciate the fact that she admits to using a store bought crust. Gotta love a gal like that(!). Which is what I did as well, because for me, when it comes to desserts, simplicity is key. The base of this pie turned out perfect, a delectable pale, tart, lemony yellow. The meringue, however, was another story. 

Meringue and I aren't the best of friends. Similar to Hillary and Bill, we don't always get along, but sometimes we make the perfect couple. And other times, well, Mr. Meringue decides to do his own thing, like slide off the pie, or worse yet, weep all over the plate.

It happened to be raining the day I made this pie and the meringue was a bit sticky and developed droplets of sugar syrup on the surface. I was just about to give up and never bake another meringue again, when a friend wisely advised, it wasn't me, it was the weather. Meringue's do not like humidity. I guess I should have known that. It does make sense. And I do like being able to blame culinary catastrophes on the weather. Biscuits don't rise, must have been the humidity. Cookies burnt to a crisp, that darn barometric pressure. I'm beginning to think they should include a Cooking Report on the nightly news: Tomorrow a seventy percent chance of rain, a good day for soup, not for meringue. Sorry about the rhyme.

Soup was to be the main focus of this blog. And it still is. But for now, with Autumn coming, I am on a quest for the perfect pie. And in the next couple months I will be baking some test pies in preparation for Thanksgiving. I am searching for the best pumpkin and pecan pie recipes. So if anyone has any suggestions, or wants to pass a recipe along, please feel free to do so, for my culinary repertoire is sadly lacking in this department. I look forward to posting my results here, and hopefully, will have found a couple winners by then. In the mean time, if anyone is interested in this recipe for Florida Pie, it can be found in Dorrie Greenspan's cookbook, Baking, From My Home To Yours. I am looking forward to baking many more recipes from this book. And the next time I make meringue, I'll pray that it doesn't rain.


Proud Italian Cook said...

Hi Michelle, I would have never thought Dorrie would admit to using a store bought pie, good for her! Some of them are really good.
I made my first lemon merinque pie as a Daring Baker, and I had trouble with the merinque too, but I'm sure it was the weather!(cough, cough!) Soups, pies, or whatever road your blog takes I'm sure it will be all good, I'll be looking forward to it!

Michelle said...

Hi Proud Italian Cook -
As always, thanks for stopping by.
That gang of Daring Baker's is an impressive bunch. I'm going to have to keep working on this pie thing. For me, they just aren't that easy. Some co-workers of mine were in a deep talk, and one of them asked the prophetic question, "What's missing from your life?" And I responded
"Pie!" I guess it was just inevitable that I began making them.

Rowena said...

When I lived/work in Hawaii (at a bakery), I hated whenever there was a request for meringue pie. The extra steps that I needed to do just to make sure that the end product was worthy of walking out the door!

I'm looking forward to T-day as I'll be spending it back "home" but I think I'll simply seek out a bakery that does pies right. All I'll be geared for is eating!

Michelle said...

Hi Rowena-
Yes, that pie sure is a lot of work. Guess that's why I only make 'em a few times a year. Glad to hear you are "home" today. Hope you enjoyed.

Cynthia said...

I'm here for it all so keep on cooking and baking my friend.

Michelle said...

Cynthia -
Thanks for being there. You're a true pal. By the way, loved your post on the green seasoning. Looking forward to trying that!

dorie said...

Your pie looks great -- and slipped inside your beautiful green pottery pie dish, no one would know the crust was storebought.

Michelle said...

Dorie -
Thank you, for stopping by. I feel so honored. Your Florida Pie was a big hit with my family this past Labor Day weekend. I liked the tang of the lime mixed with the cool, creaminess of the coconut filling. Very satisfying. I look forward to trying more of your recipes this fall and winter. As the days get colder, there's something so comforting about having the oven on. In the mean time, I'll keep looking for more of your cookbooks and listening for you on The Splendid Table. Thanks for the inspiration!