After my complete and total failure at Lemon Ginger Bread I though I would give baking from my Civil War Recipes Cookbook another try. I thought I would stick with the lemon theme but, try a pie instead. I usually have better luck with pies. Also, I LOVE lemon desserts.
Overall this recipe was a success or would have been if I had followed my better judgement. But, before we move into choices I made against my better judgement, let’s start with the crust before moving on to the filling.
The original recipe for the crust reads as follows:
Pie Crust – For Fruit Pies
Take one pound of dried flour, and one pound of butter, well squeezed in a clean cloth, to get the salt out. Break the butter with your fingers amongst the flour, as fine as possible, and then with a little cold water mix into a tolerably stiff paste. Gently roll it, passing the roller in one direction only – from you. After this lightly fold it over, and set it aside from a quarter of an hour in a cool place; then repeat the rolling in the same manner, and let it stand another quarter of an hour. This is to be repeated once more. Be sure to handle it as little as possible, and to keep it cool. Bake in a quick oven.
I was a little taken back by the equal parts butter and flour. I have made many pie crust before, but never half butter half flour. However, I figure that you can’t really go wrong with more butter. Although you can do too much butter and end up with a greasy puddle crust. This crust was perfect! Crispy, buttery and light! Everything you want pie crust to be. It’s the kind of crust where you save and savor at the end.
Now let’s talk about the filling. It’s sweet, tart and gooey and would have been better if I hadn’t been a total dunder head and added the pith of the lemon to the pie. Before you exclaim, “Doofus! What where you thinking?!” let me explain what I was thinking. Which, really will not justify anything, but I feel compelled to defend myself.
The original recipe reads:
Take four lemons, grate the rind, squeeze the juice, chop the pulp very fine, four teacups of sugar, the yelks of six eggs, two teacups of milk, four tablespoons of cornstarch; beat well together and bake; beat with whites of the eggs with six tablespoonfuls of white sugar to a froth; when the pies are baked, put the froth over them, and set them in the oven for five minutes.
Note the part that says “grate the rind, squeeze the juice, chop the pulp very fine”. This kind of threw me for a loop. For some reason I read this to say to use the entire lemon. I was thinking that in 1863 they probably did not want to waste any food. I convinced myself that it would probably candy and I ‘ve enjoyed candied lemon rind in the past.
All of my rationalization was in vain. Adding rind to a pie was a bad and stupid idea. Some bites where perfectly sweet and tart, but then I get a bite of rind and it was like I was suckered punched by a bitter angry lemon. I am in idiot who sometimes talks myself into idiot moves. It’s ok I said it, you can too.
Idiocy aside, after I tediously picked the rind pieces out the pie was super yummy. The filling was sweet and tart, laid over a crisp buttery crust and topped with fluffy sweet meringue. Everything you would love in a lemon pie. Whom ever the lady is that submitted this lemon pie recipe in 1863 she knew how to make a good lemon pie. Although, her directions could have been a little more forthright, or I should have taken a super douse of brain vitamins.
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