You might wonder why I’m tagging marriage in this recipe post. It’s because “Speak your husband’s language” is one of Auntie Em’s rules. One of Mr X’s love languages is acts of service. And when I serve him by cooking, he has always been very appreciative. When I make his favorite pie, which is pretty easy to make now, but at first was time-consuming and complicated, it spells L-O-V-E to him! Be a student of your husband; find out how to speak his language, then speak often!
(You can see lots of trial and error here. One of my first times to make it was when we were visiting my brother- and sister-in-law; I made it without the recipe. He spent most of the night sick, and the whole family jokes about my bad pie…. however, when the truth came out, he ate most of it in one sitting, and I think THAT is why he was sick !)
- Preheat your oven to 400 so you can bake the meringue when you’re all done.
- Get out your food you’ll need: Flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, cream of tartar, a cooked pie shell
- Get out your dishes you’ll need: A heavy pan for mixing the dry ingredients and cooking the custard, a heavy skillet for caramelizing the sugar; a bowl for mixing the eggs and milk, and a bowl for beating the egg whites. Plus a whisk for stirring the custard, a knife to cut the butter, measuring spoons and cups, and a spatula for applying the meringue.
Start with a baked pie shell. (Video instructions for a homemade one are here. It’s not as hard as you think!)
Now mix your wet ingredients together and your dry ingredients together
- 2 3/4 C milk and 4 egg yolks. You’ll have to separate your eggs; put the whites in another bowl so you can beat them.
- 1 C sugar and 1/2 C flour. The recipe says “4 heaping TBS but I hate the vagueness of “heaping,” so I measured. (Believe it or not.) I mix this in the pan I cook the custard in. Mix together well so you won’t get blobs of flour. (So says the voice of experience)
Now stir the milk and egg mixture into the dry mixture in the heavy pan. Mix together with a whisk till it’s smooth. This is the custard mixture. Heat it over medium heat. You can take a shortcut and heat it on higher heat till it begins to get warm, but watch and stir! It can burn and curdle quickly.
Then put 1 C of sugar into a heavy skillet; shake it to spread it around evenly. Heat over medium heat. Same as with the custard, you can start the heat higher but turn it down for more control.
Now you wait. And stir the custard. And stir the custard. And wait. Don’t stir the sugar. Just wait. After 10 minutes it looked like this, just barely beginning to melt.
After another 10 it looked like this. All this time I’ve been stirring the custard. If it has thickened or begun to bubble, I turn down the heat until the sugar is melted. (At this point you can add the vanilla and butter and use this custard for a wonderful banana pudding! No jello pudding at our house!) Granny says never stir the sugar, just shake it around, so that’s what I do.
Once all the sugar melts it’s time to be really careful. The custard has to be VERT hot, or else the caramelized sugar will cool and harden instead of blend in. When you pour it in, it will bubble up violently. Stir, stir, stir!
Till it looks like this.
At this point, remove it from the heat and stir in 1-2 TBS butter and 1 tsp vanilla till it’s all smooth.
Pour into your cooked pie shell. You’re almost done!
Now you have to make the meringue topping. A Kitchenaid stand mixer makes quick work! Add 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and mix the 4 egg whites on high. When “frothy” like the first picture, add 4-6 TBS sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Beat till stiff peaks form– that means when you lift the beater it sticks and the mixture in the bowl keeps its shape, like in the second picture.
Now gently place blobs of meringue onto the hot pie filling. You don’t want to do a lot of stirring because that will get the filling all over the meringue plus get the air out of the meringue, which will cause it to deflate. That’s bad. Gently connect the blobs to form a solid surface, and press to the sides of the pie crust to seal.
Now, cook the meringue till it’s as brown as you like, at 400 degrees. This was about 4 minutes.
Here’s what was left: (It will be a hit at your house or church too!)