My dearly beloved loves nothing more than a good pie. His mother was a champion pie baker, and he holds her pies amongst his fondest memories. I don't even pretend to be worthy of mention in pie world, but I do put forth effort now and again.
Hubby's favorite pie is most likely Lemon Meringue (although he does love apple pie, which I very rarely make, because I hate the apple preparation rigamarole). So for a while now I've been striving to make a lemon filling worthy of my dearly beloved's attention, while not loaded with cholesterol and sugar (3 egg yolks in a pie make for a lot of cholesterol in every bite, after all). And I've finally done it! The menfolk raved! And cheered! And ate! A lot!
LEMON MERINGUE PIE, GUILT FREE (Almost)
1 baked pie crust
1-1/2 cups sugar
6 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp lemon extract
2 tbsp egg beaters
4 drops yellow food coloring
6 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp margarine
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
Use whatever kind of pie crust pleases you - store bought, your favorite, or my Best Pie Crust Ever. I used that because, while it has butter, it is a relatively small amount of cholesterol, and I don't see the point of wasting my time on a crust no one wants to eat. Use a 10" pie plate, and bake your pie crust at 350F for about 10 minutes, until it's just lightly browned.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, salt and sugar. Stir in the water and lemon extract, and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the hot sugar mixture from the heat, and drizzle in the egg beaters, stirring vigorously. Return to the heat and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat again, and drizzle in the lemon juice, stirring constantly. Add the food coloring and margarine and stir until well combined. Pour into the pie crust.
Put the egg whites in a mixing bowl with the cream of tartar, and beat until frothy. Add the 1/8tsp lemon extract and vanilla extract, and beat until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over the top of the hot lemon filling. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned. Cool before serving.
I tried this lemon filling 3 or 4 times before I got it right. Even when I had the flavor and consistency right, it was "not that good" without the yellow food coloring, because it was a rather tan color. So you can eliminate the food coloring if you wish, but it won't look quite as good. I'm afraid that appearance really does affect flavor, at least in my little corner of the world. I also tried replacing some of the sugar with stevia, but the filling never set up right, so I was serving "pile" instead of "pie".
So there you have it! 15 mg of cholesterol per (pretty big) slice of pie, and all the flavor of the original 120-mg-per-slice goodness! How's that for a great dessert, almost guilt free? And my dearly beloved was fretting that he would never get anything good to eat again. Ha.
Happy Monday, everyone!