Everyone has been talking about school starting unusually early this year. Even so, it was a major shock when the school bus showed up on Friday morning. It could only mean one thing – summer is rapidly coming to an end, even if most of the tomatoes aren't ripe yet.
It dawned on me that we never had our summertime favorite – lemon meringue pie. I knew why, though. While I love the sweet tartness of the lemon filling, it has become too sour or acidic for my mom. She looks forward to lemon meringue pie but then only eats a bite or two before pronouncing it too sour. So I switched up the recipe a little bit for her.
I reduced the amount of lemon by half and added orange juice to cut some of the sour flavor. Because orange juice is sweeter, I also reduced the amount of sugar by 1/4 cup. To thin it a little bit, I mixed 1 cup of the meringue into the filling, and I added 2 tablespoons of heavy cream to cut the acidity.
Did it work? It tastes great. It's not a lemon meringue pie but there's still a nice citrusy thing going on. I added a little orange juice to the graham cracker pie crust as well, a trick that worked out great. It doesn't taste very orangey but it made the crust nicely manageable.
Not too long ago, I read an old recipe that suggested spooning meringue in a circle around the edge for a fancier presentation. It's a nice change. I think we have to call this something like Citrus Cloud Pie.
Citrus Cloud Pie
10 sheets honey graham crackers
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons orange juice
Preheat oven to 350.
Place the graham crackers and the sugar in a food processor and chop until very fine. Add the oil and pulse until well mixed. Add the orange juice and pulse. It should stick together somewhat.
Press into a 9" pie pan and bake 10 minutes.
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
Mix the 1/3 cup water with the cornstarch until it's smooth. Add the sugar, 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil and add the cornstarch. Stir constantly until it becomes thick and clear. Remove from heat.
Whisk the eggs lightly, add the lemon juice and orange juice and mix well. Stirring, pour in a bit of the warm cornstarch mixture, then add the egg mixture to the pot. Stir while it comes to a boil again. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. When it has melted, add the cream and stir. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325.
Add the 1/4 teaspoon salt to the egg whites and beat. When it begins to froth, slowly add the sugar. Beat until the sugar has dissolved and it holds a peak. Add 1 cup of the meringue to the lemon filling and stir until completely combined. Pour into baked pie shell. Using a large cooking spoon, ladle the meringue around the edge of the pie in clouds. Smooth a bit with your finger. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow time to cool and set before serving.