My dad’s all-time favorite pie was a lemon meringue pie. It’s funny how growing up I really never remember my dad requesting one. But if you ask my mom, she will happily confirm that it was indeed, his all-time favorite pie.
Such an American pie to love for a Sicilian immigrant that grew up eating cannoli and other treats home-made by his mom and sisters. Treats usually made with their own homemade ricotta. In recent years it became a tradition at Thanksgiving for one of my best friends to make my dad “his pie”. He would start to ask me about it right after Halloween. He would remind me, “Tell Valerie I’m waiting for my pie. Tell her not to forget to make one this year.” I would feel a little embarrassed to tell her his message but she didn’t seem to mind one bit. She had a special bond with my dad and it was definitely created over her spoiling him every year with “his pie”. So there was never a need for me to bake his pie.
These past weeks leading up to his birthday, I find myself baking a lemon meringue pie over and over again. Now that my dad has passed away, I find myself regretting never having baked one myself for him. Don’t get me wrong. I baked for him. I baked for him almost every day. It seems I lived these last few years for baking for my dad. I longed to see his eyes light up with each new bread and cake. I dreamed of fattening him up a little and having him feel better. I secretly wished my baking would keep him around a just a little longer.
He would love this pie. I could just see his eyes brighten and hear him say with feigned incredulity, “You made this?” I know he knew just well that I made what I was sharing with him. But it would make me feel like a kid again for a moment. Making him feeling proud over something I accomplished made me feel good. Seeing my dad gush over my baking…I lived for those moments these last few years. Because my dad was the ultimate foodie. He loved good food and he loved great baking. Even though these last years were hell for him and he wasn’t supposed to eat what he did. He took risks and he lived as he wanted to live.
As I approached my 3rd year blogging, I had doubts if I wanted to continue to post here. After my dad passed, those doubts increased. I wondered what was the point to keep sharing here. Without my dad as my biggest fan, what was this baking and blogging really for? But I knew I couldn’t give up my blog. I love the friendships I’ve made through this baking journey. I love trying new recipes and my kids would be pretty upset if I hung up my apron strings.
It’s also been a while that I’ve debated back and forth over having my blog redesigned. Should I switch to Wordpress from Blogger? I spoke with my dear friend Heather at Farmgirl Gourmet. She had some ideas for me. She understood what I was looking for and the decision was made to freshen things up here a bit. I hope you like what Heather created. I just love it!
I’m thinking of my dad today and wish he was still here with us to enjoy his birthday with his favorite pie. Happy Birthday, daddy. This pie is for you!
My son was disappointed I was baking Lemon Meringue’s these days. Here’s what he said when he saw this photo today while I was putting together this post. “Why did you make another lemon pie, mommy? You should bake a Key Lime Pie!”
My cousin Alessio called me the other day from Sicily. He told me he went artichoke picking with his friend. He said he picked 100’s of them. So many different types. He gave them away to everyone he knows. He gave some to his neighbors, his mom, some friends. He sent me the photos because he said I wouldn’t believe how many there were at the farm. I was immediately taken back to Sicily when I saw these rows of artichokes. I have been reading letter after letters my nonna wrote my dad after he left Sicily for America. She often wrote about the artichokes that were growing splendidly on their farms.
Last week was a very difficult week and time for all of us. My heart aches for those that suffered from the Boston bombings. I am keeping everyone in the Boston area affected by this horror in my thoughts and prayers.
some notes on this pie: It’s hard to believe that I was never a big lemon meringue pie fan. I would taste a bite and would prefer usually any thing else that was available. This pie is wonderful and one I can’t pass up. I slightly adapted a recipe that I found in our paper from the Star Tribune. It was adapted from the Joy of Cooking. I used my favorite pie crust. You can use whatever pie crust recipe you love the most or use a ready made crust. This pie is best served the day it’s made. Keep the pie in the refrigerator after you cool it completely on the rack. To help get nice clean slices, dip your very sharp knife in hot water before slicing. Making this pie takes a little organization and patience. You can’t dump all the egg yolks into the filling or you’ll have one curdled mess. Also when you make the meringue, a little patience is necessary. Don’t rush and dump all the sugar in the mixer. It’s essential to slowly add the sugar bit by bit so it will dissolve all the way. A little planning and patience is all you need to bake the most incredible Lemon Meringue Pie.