Dotti’s recipes Lemon Meringue PieFood & Drink, Recipes | May 28, 2015
By Caitlin McMullen Edited by Jake Watson
Dotti is a 92 year-old woman who loves to cook sweet treats. For the past 2 years she has been coming into my workplace every Saturday, making me try some of her inventions or her traditional recipes, which have been passed on for generations.
Some of these recipes shared have been within her family for 70 years. She told me that she hasn’t shared her recipes with anyone before, so I’m privileged not just to eat them, but to find out how she does it. Dotti doesn’t go by exact measurements or steps; it comes naturally to her, something that I aspire to at her age. Going strong for a 92 year-old, she loves having friends over, insists on making me a cake every time I go over (even though she is cooking something else for me), and has two chickens which she hasn’t named.
Lemon Meringue Pie
You will need:
Nearly two cups of white flour
Less than a teaspoon of salt
Cup of very cold water
2 large lemons
3 egg yolks
6 tablespoons of sugar
Pinch of salt
3 egg whites
1. Mix the flour and a tiny bit of salt.
2. Melt some butter over a stove, enough to fill half a cup. “You don’t want to burn it or change its colour, just enough so it becomes a liquid”
3. Put the melted butter into the bowl with the flour etc. “You’re going to need to get your hands dirty. As I mix this with my hands so it becomes little crumbs I guess, the flour will turn into little lumps.
4. It should look like this:
5. Pour some cold water into the bowl, little by little. There should be no dry flour left. Use your hands to pat the dough. “Roll it up into a ball, then on a chopping board filled with flour roll out the ball of dough-like making cookies”
6. Roll it flat so that the dough becomes flat.
7. With two hands, gently move the dough from the chopping board to the pan. Lay it over the top.
8. Pat down the dough in the pan slowly, so it doesn’t break.
“If it does start to break, get some butter and water to try to make the dough moist. If the dough is breaking it means it’s too dry”
9. The pan should look like this once all the dough is patted down:
10. Once the crust is in the pan, freeze that for about 30 minutes
11. Start grating the lemons and squeezing all the juice out of them into a bowl. Try and get some of the pulp in the bowl as well.
12. In a saucepan, beat the eggs, the yolks and some sugar together, while over the stove.
13. Pour in the lemon mixture with six or more tablespoons of butter.
“Make sure you are always stirring the mixture in the saucepan. A meringue is always worth the effort it takes. If you can make a meringue you can make anything”
14. Wait till the mixture thickens on the stove.
15. Once done, remove that from the stove and let it cool for 5 minutes.
16. Remove the crust from the freezer and put it in the oven on 190 degrees for 20 minutes.
17. Leave the oven on, but remove the crust so that it can be filled with the lemon mixture.
18. Put that in the oven for about 15 minutes.
“It’s not about the time you leave it in for but how cooked and ready the pastry looks. It takes practice to know when it looks right, especially for meringues”
19. To make the meringue for the top, beat the egg whites until frothy, then add cream and continue beating.
“The chickens have given me three eggs in the last week. Don’t ever get chickens. They are a waste of time. I had to go out and buy eggs this morning!”
20. With a beater, mix in some sugar and vanilla extract.
21. Spread the meringue over the top of the pie. “Make sure you get everywhere there should be no cracks or the meringue won’t work. This is probably the step where everyone goes wrong”
22. Put it in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.
“Keep double-checking on it. The top should be lightly golden-brown, and the meringue should be hard. If the pie is doing that, then take it out; you don’t want to overcook it. Meringue burns easy”
On a side note from myself, I asked Dotti to do this recipe for me. My great-grandmother use to cook lemon meringue pie every Sunday when we went over to visit her. It has hit 10 years of her passing and I have never eaten lemon meringue pie since the last one she made for me. In many ways Dotti reminds me of my great-grandmother, so I thought why not try Dotti’s. It tasted as good as I remember it being 10 years ago.