It was a rainy weekend in Negaunee, which means one thing in my house: the kitchen was humming!
The most fun I had was with the banana meringue pie cooked from scratch–pie crust, pudding, and meringue–all with my bare hands (and the help of a few friends of course).
It was quite a project, but the results were well worth it. Fresh ingredients can’t be beat, as any cook knows!
For the crust, the keys were real butter and dough mixed by hand. The crust was flaky, delicate and rich.
When mixed in a food processor, I’ve noticed the crust can be a little tough. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy it was to mix with a hand-held pastry blender, and how much I liked the results!
I’d never made vanilla pudding before, but I was amazed how simple the process proved to be, with results that far exceeded any store-bought or instant pudding mix. It was exploding with chemical-free, rich, fresh flavor, and it complemented the bananas I sliced at the bottom of the crust perfectly.
The meringue was my first attempt at this dessert, ever. The process is well-known for being finicky, but I felt confident… So i whipped those egg whites, and then my brother whipped them, and then I did, and then he did…for a very long time…After more than 25 minutes, it was looking stiff and sort of glossy (“stiff peaks” is the term used to describe the desired effect), but I wondered why it had taken so long??
We spread it on the pudding pie, and we baked it til browned, and we were very excited…
But ALAS, upon our first bites, I realized my confidence was misplaced. The meringue did not set up like the crispy-melty-heaven I had hoped for. It was more like whipped topping–soft, sweet, fine. But NOT meringue.
My theory for why it didn’t work was one of two things. I added the sugar too quickly. Also, there was a little bit of yolk that broke into my egg-whites. I feel sure that it was one of these faux pas that did my meringue in.
Leave a comment if you have any insight about meringue preparation!
In the end, great times had in the kitchen made everything worthwhile. YUM!