28 May 2014

Hallelujah! The Welcome Table

Maya Angelou died today.  She left us with many great stories, a few life lessons, and a song or two. (Check them out at Lucindaville.)  She also shared some of her favorite recipes with us in her book, Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes

For Maya Angelou, everything had a story.  Her recipes were no exception.  In an interview with NPR she said:

"Food served is always more than just food served. That is to say, it is more than just fuel for the body. Depending upon who has prepared the food and who has served it and with what spirit, it can uplift the--and around the world, in every culture, food is used to flirt, to be coy, a raise in the employment or to search for employment. It can bring warring factions together. Food can be used to apologize. So I use it with my respect for the ingredients and I love that it is--there's a science in cooking. I love knowing what heat under certain circumstances will do to certain foods. And then I love preparing it carefully and presenting it beautifully and sharing it generously with my table mates."

This recipe came from her grandmother, a pie filled with lemon and a long story.  Read her story and then, bake this pie.  Somewhere she will be smiling.

Lemon Meringue Pie

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups hot water

1 1/2 cups crumbs from soft-type bread (no crusts)

4 egg yolks (reserve whites for Meringue)

1 tablespoon butter

Grated rind of 1 medium lemon

Juice of 2 medium lemons

One 9-inch pie shell, baked

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In top part of double boiler, mix well sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in hot water and combine until smooth. Add bread crumbs and cook over boiling water, stirring until smooth and thickened.

In small mixing bowl, beat egg yolks, and stir in a small amount of mixture. Then combine the two mixtures in boiler, and cook over low to medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add butter, lemon rind, and lemon juice. Cool slightly.

Pour mixture into baked shell. Pile Meringue lightly on top, covering filling completely.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.


4 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

4 tablespoons sugar

Beat egg whites with salt until frothy. Gradually add cream of tartar and sugar. Beat until stiff but not dry.

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