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Disaster Averted

February 10, 2012

For the beloved’s birthday yesterday, Arlo wanted to make a lemon meringue pie. We’ve never attempted this particular culinary feat before, but he had a recipe in a book he bought from a cheap shop. Should have been a clue we spotted, really (the photos were good though).  Anyway, the kitchen was fairly busy because in addition to lemon meringue pie, there was birthday cake,  parsnip mash, sweet potato wedges, lentils and two different salads being made at the same time.

Arlo often gets cross with me when we’re cooking – and rightly so – because I usually think I know better than the recipe and so I ignore the recipe and do it my way. “How am I ever going to learn? ” he wails.  Good point. This time I’d decided to follow the recipe without a murmur. Arlo read out the recipe, Poppy and Halo checked it, we followed it.

The lemon filling was OK, though there was too much liquid and it took a lot longer to thicken than indicated in the recipe. The suggested pie dish would have been too small – but we’d used a bigger size because that’s all I had. The recipe called for 6 eggs. That should have set alarm bells ringing because you can make an awful lot of meringue with 6 egg whites. The recipe told us to put all the egg whites and all the huge amount of sugar in a bowl (which was scrupulously clean although the recipe didn’t tell us it had to be) together and whisk until it formed stiff peaks. We did. We whisked. And whisked. Arlo whisked. Halo whisked. I whisked.

Then we used our secret weapon: Damon. Damon does body building every now and then and has a reasonable display of tattooed muscle.  He whisked. The mixture stubbornly refused to turn into peaks. “Do you think we’ve got the quantities right?” Damon ventured – rather bravely I thought, so we all tried to make him feel bad for not being able to whisk egg whites.

In the end we gave up and started from scratch using 3 egg whites and adding some sugar a little at a time. It worked.

Later on I added enough ground almonds to the failed meringue mix to make it spoonable, plonked it on a baking sheet lined with rice paper and cooked it til it looked done. A kind of macaroon, but a bit runnier. Nice. Disaster averted.


One Comment leave one →
  1. February 10, 2012 11:55 pm

    Well I was only too happy to be of service, albeit unsuccessfully. You nevertheless turned my whisking failure into success, and a delicious feast was had by all, making the trip from Southampton well worth it, as always. Anyway, enough blogging, i’d better get down the gym in case I’m required to whisk another vat of eggs any time soon.

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