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Our Mouthwatering, Romantic Anniversary Dinner

March 31, 2011

Don's HOmemade Macaroni & Cheese
Tuesday marked 8 years I’ve been married to my best friend. Don wanted to do something special for me so he made my favorite dinner, homemade macaroni and cheese. He also had 5 cheese garlic bread and sparkling red grape juice. Wanting to make it more festive I pulled down the wine glasses that we’ve never used and decided to make his second favorite pie,lemon meringue.

Not feeling comfortable making pie crust from scratch and not wanting to roll it out I decided on the ready made crusts. Something in my gut said to get frozen crust in the pie tin but no, I needed to put a little work in it and went for the one you roll out and put in the pie pan yourself. I didn’t do too bad. I mean it looked like a pie crust BEFORE it went into the oven. I even used the fork and pricked the bottom and sides as the instructions said. What came out of the oven was misshapen, pulled, pulled down in various places and had some thick bulges in others. Knowing I was going to cover it with meringue I felt confident I could cover up any crust imperfections. I mean nobody was going to be looking at the crust anyway, they’d be admiring my beautiful meringue.

Next step, lemon filling. I’ve never made a lemon meringue pie before but knew my mom use to make them all the time so it couldn’t be that hard. Or could it? I first looked through numerous cookbooks and found several variations on the filling but most said you could also use lemon pudding. I went for that option because how can you mess up Jello Pudding? I was soon to find out.

I followed the directions on the box for pie filling and it seemed simple enough. Egg yolks, sugar and water. One of the recipes I found said to also add lemon zest or peel to the pudding. Not being able to find either I did get some lemon extract and the box did say 1 tsp of extract = 1 tsp of lemon peel so I felt safe. When I was done with the filling it looked and tasted great. The instructions on the box said to let the filling cool for 5 minutes before pouring into the COOLED crust so that’s what I did.

Next came the meringue. Egg whites, check; cream of tartar, check; sugar, check; I beat the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks then S L O W L Y added the sugar and continued beating until stiff peaks formed. I made sure I didn’t over beat the meringue and also tested a small amount between my finger and thumb to make sure it wasn’t grainy (got that from one recipe book).

When I put the meringue on the pie it looked great. I baked it as directed and when the peaks got a nice golden brown I removed it from the oven. When the pie had cooled I put it in the refrigerator. Everything was perfect for our romantic home cooked dinner.

Lemon Meringue Pie

The macaroni and cheese was to die for. Don did everything perfect and I had 2 HUGE helpings. The 5 cheese garlic bread was excellent and the sparkling red grape juice was just the perfect touch. Then it was time for dessert. I sliced the pie and everything was still so good until I tried to remove that first slice. The filling oozed out and stayed in the pan in a puddle. I ended up putting the crust with “perfect” meringue in a bowl and spooning the pie filling in next to it. The filling had the was slightly thinner than set pudding. It still tasted great and my meringue was excellent. I just don’t know what happened to my filling.

Where’s Paula Deen when you need her.

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