One thing I know for sure: Dads love lemon meringue pie.
And lemon tarts, and lemon squares… a friend who used to own a dessert shop told me that delicate pavlovas filled with lemon curd were her biggest sellers among men. Which I find mildly amusing – doesn’t chocolate come across as more manly? Lemon as more dainty and baby shower-ish?
I have been wrong before… maybe dudes appreciate a good pucker? I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, but in my world, the guys dig lemon. And so I made a pie – from scratch, not a pouch – for father’s day dinner. A super easy process wherein you whisk sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks and lemon just as you might whisk a mix and water, then pour it into a baked pie shell (which must also be made of graham crumbs in my world). Dinner was braised bison short ribs with espresso and balsamic (a longer story I’ll save for later), and as plates were being cleared, I was mixing up meringue. (I didn’t say I was on the ball about all this.) There is something about successfully beating egg whites into a massive mound of shaving foam that makes one feel all pastry cheffy.
The biggest issue home bakers seem to have with the meringue that tops pies is its tendency toward weepiness and sliding around; you can solve this (or at least minimize it) by piling on the meringue while the filling is hot; the theory is (or fact?) that the steam then travels through the meringue, kickstarting the cooking process while getting rid of all that moisture (rather than let it stop and hang out on the surface of the filling). Make sure you spread it right to the edge, too, so it can grip the crust and not shrink. Shrinkage is not as popular as lemon meringue pie.