“You’ve got to make Grandma Blanche’s pie.”
It’s a request my dad has been making for almost as long as I’ve had this blog. And I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant at first. You see, I’m embarrassed to admit that up until a couple of weeks ago, I’d never had it. Not the legendary family recipe, or even a slice at a restaurant.
How was I supposed to create something delicious when I had no clue what it should taste like?
On the second day of our family vacation to see my grandparents on my mom’s side of the family in California, the weather wasn’t quite great. So, my dad pulled out his laptop and opened a file with old, incomplete notes about his grandma’s recipe. We huddled together, determining the ratios of sugar to corn starch and filling in some of the missing steps that had once been committed to memory rather than written down.
Then, we got to work.
I’ll admit, it was tough. We even went through multiple batches of meringue to reach the right consistency. But it felt like a labor of love from both sides of the family, the way we were able to use fresh lemons from a tree outside my grandparents’ house for this staple from my dad’s family.
And when everyone in California passed around plates with slices of the pie later that night, my dad immediately texted his mom and sister to proudly show them what we’d accomplished together.
I’m fortunate enough to have inherited a beautiful box of index cards with more recipes from my dad’s grandparents, who I never met. Going through them and seeing notes for everything from mandel bread to chili makes me feel in a way like I’m sitting down at the table with them and getting to know what made their stomachs and hearts full. With each card, I know I’ll learn something new, and I’m not just talking about the recipes themselves.
For example, I’ve now learned that an incredibly small slice of pie is a “Grandma Blanche-size piece,” as my dad calls it… and I’ve also learned he’d prefer me not to cut slices that small for future batches. 😊
I can’t wait to see what knowledge and joy the next recipe brings my family.
Grandma Blanche’s Lemon Meringue Pie
A delicious Lask family recipe
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups water divided
- 2 small lemons juiced and zested
- 2 tbs butter
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 egg whites
- 6 tbs granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 frozen pie crust
Follow frozen pie crust's instructions for preparation. Set aside to cool down once baked.
Bring 1 1/4 cups of water to a boil.
In a separate medium sauce pan, whisk sugar, corn starch and salt. Add 1/4 cup of cold water. Place on stove on medium heat.
Gradually add boiling water to the above mixture.
Cook until mixture thickens and turns opaque. Continuously beat to make it smooth.
Add rind and juice of two small lemons.
Melt and stir in butter.
Whisk in egg yolks.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until filling thickens.
Remove from heat and pour into baked pie shell.
Whip egg whites on medium speed with a pinch of salt until foamy.
Slowly add sugar to the mix. Do not stop mixing or lower the speed.
Whip until stiff peaks form.
Spread over the pie and make sure to seal the edges at the crust.
Bake in oven 15-20 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. NOTE: every oven is different, so keep an eye on the meringue.
Remove from oven, let it cool for a few minutes at room temperature, then place it in the fridge to continue cooling down until you're ready to serve it.
IMPORTANT: In order to make sure the filling and meringue seal together, it’s important to make the meringue as soon as the hot filling is poured into the pie, before it has too much time to cool down.