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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons...

The lemon tree on our front porch is still too tiny to be fruitful.  Luckily for us, I found a Meyer lemon tree around the corner from our house that was heavy with ripe, fragrant lemons.  Our neighborhood is rich with citrus, so during the winter I feel like a jewel thief.  I ride around on my bicycle and when those bright orange or yellow orbs call out to be plucked from their perches,  I do.   I always ask first if the fruit tree is in someone's yard- more often than not I've asked for a few lemons and ended up with bags full of fruit from a neighbor's backyard. 

In this fashion, I often end up with surplus foraged lemons.  As the old adage goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemon meringue pie. 

Lemon meringue pie was one of the first pies I successfully made over and over again. It was one of my mom's favorites, and one of her father's favorites too.  It is a classic dessert, simple enough for a home cook, and a mile-high meringue is sure to impress the guests.  

You can find a lemon meringue recipe in just about any decent cookbook.  For this pie, we made an Italian meringue, which uses boiled sugar-water rather than granulated sugar.  This creates a meringue that doesn't deflate as quickly and will not sweat.

The lemons gleaned from our neighbor's tree were delicious in pie-filling form.  The lemon pie was so good, it could've been served all by itself.  It was tart and lively, a lovely yellow hue.

Our lemon meringue pie was not long for this world.  I ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Something so light isn't meant to last.

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