Wednesday, March 24, 2010

May All Your Days Be Filled With Pie

There is something about warm mid morning light that affects me like nothing else.  The second I sense it's presence my chin tilts upwards, my eyes start to close and the biggest most satisfied grin you could imagine begins to cross my face.  I can't help but feel a calm come over me in these moments.  I often have to fight the urge to curl up in a puddle of light and stay there until it fades (except for on weekends when I'm allowed to be a slacker).  I find that great food can have the same effect on me.  The moment a dish makes its appearance at the table the anticipation of flavor and texture can have the same effect on me as when the light slowly begins to sweep across my face.  When I take my first bite, it's like the sun hitting me full in the face with it's gentle, warming rays.  Calming, soothing, comforting, pure bliss.
One of the foods that can, without fail, turn any day into a sunny day for me is lemon meringue pie. It's one of my ultimate comfort foods.  My Bubbie (which is what I call my grandmother) is the queen of lemon meringue.  As a kid, she used to make it for my dad. Once my love of her pie, I think, exceeded his, she began making it for me.  Recently, a friend of mine commissioned me to make dessert for her boyfriend's birthday.  Now this, in itself, was an exciting moment.  My first commission!  Completely unprompted and unsolicited. AMAZING!  After some chatting and serious convincing on my behalf, that she had not asked for too much and that I would be thrilled to make something for her, we settled on lemon meringue pie.  That afternoon, at lunch with my mother, I proudly proclaimed that I had been commissioned to make my first pie.  I also may have kinda, sorta made it sound like it was no biggie and I could whip it together in ten minutes.  To which my mom replied: "great! then while you're at it you can make a second one for dinner at Bubbie's on friday."  Whoops... I had instantly doubled my work load.  For those of you who have not delved into the world of scratch pies, FYI, they do not take ten minutes.  I had a busy week ahead and two pies to bake.  One was for pay and the other would be judged by the high priestess of lemon meringue, my Bubbie.  The pressure was on.  Pie day finally arrived.  I had a few tense moments while working on the cooked sugar stabilizer for my meringue and assembling everything while still piping hot, and to my utter relief all went smoothly.  My friends were thrilled and said they loved the pie (thanks again guys!).  Then came my proudest moment.  After very thoughtfully tasting my pie, and questioning the authenticity of my filling, my Bubbie didn't have a single bit of "constructive criticism" for me.  Nothing.  Trust me she tried.  I had passed the test.  SUCCESS!

Here are the photos of my lemon meringue pie doused in some of the most beautiful light I have had the pleasure of playing in recently.  I wish I had some shots of the pie's golden insides to share with you, but I'm pretty sure people frown upon receiving a birthday pie that's missing a slice, and the second pie didn't stand a chance once it hit the table.