A single slice of cloud-swirled lemon chiffon pie can tell so many stories.
Of a young girl and her longed-for Girl Scout cooking badge, learning to carefully separate yolks from whites without getting bits of shell in the ribbony bubbling mix.
Stirring a large wooden spoon… constantly… oh so constantly… to keep the curd from scorching… or curdling…
Tempering the buttery lemon goodness with egg yolk so as not to end up with scrambled bits.
Beating whites to silky-fluffed peaks and gently folding in until the color turned pastel-pillowy soft and luscious.
Shaping crushed graham crackers and melted butter into a delectable crust, pre-baking so ready to fill, chill and set. Or other times, rolling pastry (and cinnamon sugar pinwheels from leftovers) instead…
Carrying the proud result to the table hours later, like a trophy on a scalloped platter, and meeting Mom’s smile. accomplishment beaming as my banner.
Of the 100 degree summer day the electricity went out with a sudden click… AT THE VERY MOMENT… two of these pie beauties were sliding into the no longer working fridge… and the roast of our company dinner hadn’t even gone beyond the browning stage.
Frantic calls to Mom’s best friend now moved two miles away from our neighborhood, up on the hill…Tennis shoes running, car doors slamming and all of us scurrying, hands hurrying to carry everything to this other house to ready for this night.
Melted faces and frazzled hair. Standing fans blowing the warm air around, and setting the table with candlelight.
Greeting old friends over a dinner made possible by the open-armed, willingly-shared stove and refrigerator of newer friends… and laughter and remember-whens and pass-me-another-piece-of that-scrumptilious pie… to Mom’s rosy smile!
Watching years melt away along with dinner as the adults played cards and the kids settled into old camaraderie that sometimes took an hour or two to begin and then… Aw, do they HAVE to leave nows… coming…much…too…fast.
Hearing Mom’s gladness that we had a little leftover for tomorrow savor…because she never could seem to enjoy a meal like that in the moments after working all day to prepare… too jumbled up with making things special…
Or on rare occasion, listening, dreaming, from our cooped up bedroom, feeling so shut away from the grownup party, wanting and wishing we could hide beneath the table…snitch a piece of mouthwatering dessert… Of making mom promise promise promise to save us a piece… a BIG one… while laughter and silliness and fun danced around the dining room and taunted us… as the clock ticked away to midnight…
And… of still more…
Coming home from school to find not pie, but the nearly good as lush filling poured like lemon froth into nubby crystal parfait glasses as a refreshing treat… just because.
And as I think of all of these…our long ago stories… I remember…
Our cups… or pie plates… running over with love and friendships old and new, people we knew we could count on, pray with, cry and laugh with…
Taking brave new steps and mastering new badges of honor…
Knowing the joy of creating with our hands and hearts…
Discovering God’s smile in harried moments and serene…
Learning to laugh at circumstances seemingly going awry…
How just a fragrance of a memory can bring a loved one close again, right there with you.
So many stories sing… in… one...slice…of…lemon heaven on a plate.
© Pam Depoyan
And because one of you asked…
Here is my mom’s delectable recipe… for Lemon CHIFFON Pie
(written in her you know how to make this style)
MIX: 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, 5 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
POUR: Over the above, whisking in a little at a time till smooth, 2 1/2 cups of hot water – then stirring continually over med low heat until thick.
BEAT: 4 egg yolks and set aside.
ADD: 1/2 cube of butter till incorporated through. Remove from heat. Take a spoonful of the mixture and stir slowly into the beaten egg yolks to temper them. Then stir the tempered egg yolks into the entire mixture, slowly, cooking 1/2 minute longer on low heat. (If you should see any eggy bits in it, or to be on the ‘safe’ side, you can strain it.)
ADD: Grated lemon zest of one lemon, 8 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, cook and stir 1 1/2 minutes longer. Take off heat and let it cool.
WHILE IT COOLS: Beat the 4 egg whites until peaks are stiff. Gently fold the lemon mixture into the whites until thoroughly mixed, but being careful to keep it fluffy and light.
POUR into a pre-baked pie shell (regular pastry or graham cracker crust, homemade if possible) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. When ready, it will be set, like a mousse, and not runny.
Linking with On Your Heart Tuesdays,
I will also be linking this up with Ann Kroeker for Food on Fridays.
* Close up of beautiful lemon chiffon orchids blooms, Credit: rakratchada torsap / Alamy / Imageselect