Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Babette James' Lemon Meringue Pie



Babette James
Thanks so much to the Roses of Prose for letting me visit here today. I wish everyone a happy and blessed holiday season!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for cooking. Normally, I’m just cooking for two, but Thanksgiving lets me pull out the all stops and enjoy preparing a meal for a crowd, from the turkey with Grandma’s dressing recipe to all the fancy desserts, appetizers and snacks, and best of all, sharing with family and friends.

One of my favorite desserts to bake is pie. Everyone has their traditional Thanksgiving favorite: pumpkin, mince, apple, pecan… but, when I was growing up, the traditional holiday pie in my family beside pumpkin was lemon meringue. Lemon meringue pie was my dad’s favorite at any time of the year and I’ve always enjoyed it for a light, bright finish to a meal. Who doesn’t have at least a little room after a big meal for a bite of tart creamy filling and a cloud of sweet, airy meringue?

While my contemporary romance, Clear As Day, takes place in July at a backcountry campsite on the shore of Lake Mohave, a reservoir downstream from the Hoover Dam, one thing its characters and I share in common is a love of getting together with friends and enjoying good food. Pie isn’t normal camping fare, but a slice of lemon meringue does play its part in the romance between Kay and Nate.

What’s your favorite dessert for a holiday gathering of friends and family?
 
My Lemon Meringue Pie

Baked 9” pie shell:

Use your own favorite crust or-

1 1/3 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

3 to 4 tablespoon cold water

 
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in the shortening. Sprinkle with water 1 tablespoon at a time and toss with a fork until the dough holds together but not sticky. Press into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for a half hour. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Roll the crust out until it fits your pie plate, ease gently into the plate, press out air pockets and crimp the edge. Prick the entire surface with a fork. Bake 10-15 minutes. Cool.

Filling:

7 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup sugar (This is a tart recipe, if you like sweeter, add ¼ to ½ cup more sugar.)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup hot water

3 egg yolks, beaten

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

½ cup fresh lemon juice

Mix the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Gradually stir in the hot water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and clear. Remove from heat, turn heat to low. Stir about a 1/2 cup hot filling into the egg yolks, stirring briskly. Stir this mixture back into the hot filling. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Add the lemon juice and peel and stir until smooth.  Cool and pour into the baked pie shell.

 
Meringue:

3 egg whites, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

6 tablespoons sugar (superfine, if you have it)

Beat the eggs whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar. Beat until the meringue forms firm peaks. Spread the meringue on the filling and make sure the meringue touches the piecrust all around. Bake at 350 degrees 15 minutes or until a delicate brown. Cool, chill in the refrigerator, and enjoy!

 

Here’s an excerpt from Clear As Day sharing a little glimpse of suppertime at camp:

Dave frowned at the catch. “Got a lot of catfish in here. Knew I should have gone out with you three.”

Kay always wondered how an adrenaline junkie like Dave could hold still long enough for such a peaceful pastime as fishing, but he did. She’d done a portrait of him fly-fishing several years back for a birthday gift and the painting remained one of her favorite works.

Chuck whacked him with his Tigers cap. “Don’t complain to me, Mr. Fish Snob. Fish is fish. I’ll take anything legal that bites. I think we did damn good for the afternoon.”

Lloyd hoisted a catfish. “You want more bass, next time you come along and coax them.”
Margie grimaced, looking pale. “I didn’t know catfish were so big and ugly.”
“This one’s just a little baby.” Lloyd patted his “little baby.” The channel catfish weighed eight pounds, easy. “Have to be careful when you go swimming out in the deep water, Margie baby.” His voice dropped to a rolling old-pirate, tall-tale cadence. “They say there’s some out there a couple a hundred pounds, could just slurp a little thing like you right up.”
Margie looked wide-eyed at Christopher. 
Christopher was choking down a laugh and trying to look serious and supportive at the same time, and failing miserably.
JoAnn rolled her eyes and flicked the back of Lloyd’s head.
“Ouch! Damn it, Jo.” He rubbed his head. 
JoAnn grinned. “Margie, sweetie, don’t listen to Lloyd. He’s just pulling your leg.”
“Oh.” Doubts still flickered over her face. “What do you need pliers for?”
“You don’t scale a cat, hon. You got to skin them. Watch how Scott’s doing it.” Christopher dispatched his own bass.
“Oh, that’s the old way. Try it this way.” With a brisk, sure slip of his knife, a snap of the backbone, and a smooth pull head to tail, Dave had the smaller catfish in his hands neatly peeled and gutted.
A kittenish cry escaped Margie as she turned seriously green. Christopher quickly rinsed off his hands and hugged her close, murmuring something soothing. 
She hid her face in his chest, and a hiccupping sniffle squeaked from her. “But there it’s wrapped and everything.”
He smiled and patted her back as he whispered into her ear, his craggy, lined face transformed by tenderness into something exquisite.
Kay stared, transfixed.
Christopher whispered more. Margie’s gentle laughter rippled out, and she tipped her face to him. He kissed her and her smile bloomed.
Patti and Olivia deftly fileted and portioned the cleaned catch, and Dave and Rich manned the fry pans.
Food was served up, seats taken, and the lively banter, jokes, and catching-up conversation flew around Kay.
Lloyd handed Kay the tomato salad. “Kay, we put this trip together per Nate’s request so we could all get some serious fishing in, and what does he do on the first day? Deserts us!”
Nate laughed. “Hey, I caught four fish today. Tell them, Kay.”
Kay merely smiled as she scooped the savory tomatoes onto her plate and passed the bowl to Nate.
“Took you all afternoon to catch four fish? You said you’d be right back with Kay for lunch.” Dave rolled his eyes and gave Kay a friendly wink.
“Got sidetracked. The fish, lunch…you know.” Nate grinned smugly.
A flaming blush rushed over Kay.
JoAnn laughed dryly. “Uh huh. ‘You know’ always takes some time, when done right.” She leaned over to whisper in Lloyd’s ear and, as Lloyd choked and flushed, turned smoothly to Nate. “Nate, honey, pass that salad on down here.” 

Blurb:

What’s a girl to do when her summer lover wants forever? 

Haunted by dark memories of her parents’ volatile marriage, artist Kay Browning keeps her heart locked behind a free-spirit facade and contents herself with the comfortable affair she has every summer with easygoing photographer Nate Quinn.

The only trouble with her plan? This summer Nate’s come to Lake Mohave to claim the lover he can’t let go. He’s done with the endless traveling and settling for temporary homes and temporary loves. Kay’s always been more than just a vacation fling, and now he must convince this woman, who sees love as a course to certain heartbreak, to take that leap of faith and learn how safe love with the right man can be. 

Bio: Babette James writes contemporary and fantasy romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. A teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! She lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and three extremely spoiled cats.
You can find Babette at:

You can find Clear As Day at:
Amazon.com – Paperback & Kindle http://amzn.com/B007RN9STW
Come fall in love at the river.

10 comments:

Margo Hoornstra said...

Lemon pie is my favorite. Thanks for sharing. Nice give and go dialogue in the excerpt. Your gutting the fish sequence made me cringe. Yuck! Good job.

Vonnie Davis said...

Oh, I love lemon meringe pie, too, but for some reason I rarely make it. Thanks for sharing both your recipe and super excerpt.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Thanks for sharing and being with us today, Babette!

Jannine Gallant said...

Welcome to the Roses, Babette. I love lemon meringe, and this recipe doesn't even sound that fattening! Yum, will try it.

babettejames.com said...

Hi, Margo. Thanks! I had fun writing that scene. :D

Hi, Vonnie. I know, it's one of those pies that feels like it takes longer to make, but really fairly simple.

Hi, Brenda, glad to be here.

Hi, Janine. It does use a little less sugar, so that helps. :)

LisaRayns said...

Clear as Day looks great!

Jennifer Wilck said...

Yum! That sounds delicious! My favorite is apple pie for Thanksgiving, specifically my mom's. In fact, when she asks me to bring a dessert, I try to make one that will entice everyone else to eat mine, so that I can have as much of the pie as I want. :)

Barbara Edwards said...

I love lemon meringue pie. I don't make it too often since apple, pumpkin and mince get more votes from my family.
thanks for sharing

Betsy Ashton said...

What's my favorite holiday pie? Brandied pumpkin pie with brandied whipped cream. Double the amount of spices to produce a dark, rich pie.

babettejames.com said...

Thanks, Lisa!

Hi, Jennifer. lol Great idea!

Hi,, Barbara. Mince was always my grandpa's favorite.

Hi, Betsy. That sounds delicious!