The mister has had to listen to me moan and groan for weeks...ever since I started CrossShit, (my apologies, I must get that "S" key looked at, it always wants to replace the "F"). Last night, as I hobbled across the bedroom and eased my way into bed, looking every bit like some sort of wounded animal, the mister questioned why I have continued to torture myself. He thought he was funny and he started to laugh and then cough and then he went into full hacking mode. I waited until he was through with his spasm before I told him I'm going to Crossfit to build up my upper body strength so I will be able to lift him and change his diaper in his old age. And then I laughed. But it hurt my sides so I had to stop.
Really though, why am I enduring this torture?!? The only benefit I've seen is I can lift my fork a bit faster to my face! Every time I go they have me do more painful things. I tell them I can't do it, I whine and complain and I get no sympathy whatsoever...I hear, "You CAN do it, give it a try." So I try and so far I've been able to do everything ONCE...but once is not enough when it comes to Crossfit. No...they lull you into thinking it's just a few minutes of work for massive benefits. My trainer is so sweet and nice and little but I know she can pick me up, spin me around and throw me across the gym without batting an eye. So I don't object out loud but in my head I'm screaming at her!!! I'M OLD!! MY FAT HAS HIGH-JACKED MY MUSCLES! I WAS BORN WITHOUT QUADS!! And she smiles at me and happily says: "You're going to do FIVE squats and then FIVE rows and then FIVE lifts and then FIVE burpees..." and then I stop listening. I mean, who in their right mind even understands that kind of language?!? Once again, in my head, I begin to add up all of those FIVES up and I tell myself I'm only doing half, no matter what, I'm in charge of myself and they can't make me do 20 things, and I'm old and there's just no way...I calm down, I reassure myself I'm only going to do 10...and then I hear, "THREE sets of FIVES. They want me to do 20 things THREE TIMES!!!! That's 60 things!!!
My neighbors, (I refuse to call them friends any more because they MAKE ME GO TO CROSSFIT) insist I show up and they act sympathic but then they say things like, "Only five? Wow, you're going easy on us!" or "I wasn't sore at all!" or "This isn't hard enough for me!" I have NO idea what's wrong with them...if you tell a Crossfit Trainer that something is easy, know what she does?!?! She makes it HARDER!!
So.So.So. Why do I continue to go?!? Well, you're looking at one of the reasons. This Lemon Meringue Pie was the reason I went to Crossfit last Friday. Because last Thursday I may have eaten TWO pieces of pie in one sitting. And I'm not even a fan of Lemon Meringue Pie!!! But this pie...manomanalive...it's so rich, creamy and decidedly lemon-y, it seduces your taste buds and before you know it, you're a fan...the Number One Fan of Lemon Meringue Pie in all the WORLD!
Wow - those pie crusts look bad...but ignore them, they shrunk so much it was almost like an introduction to crust on the plate! Now, look at that custard...really look at it...it's a thing of beauty, no? Let me tell you why this pie is different...and why it's better than any other Lemon Meringue Pie you've ever had...one word...ready? Limoncello. Cue the choir!! Let the Fat Lady out of her spandex and have her sing!!! Limoncello, an Italian liqueur, sends this pie into the stratosphere. Really. I kid you not. But let's say you are squeamish about using a liqueur...well, squeam not, because it only takes 1 1/2 tablespoons of Limoncello, so think of it as an extract, because really, it has as much alcohol in it as a good Vanilla extract does. And if you still don't want to use Limoncello, then skip it, the custard is good enough to stand on it's own...still plenty of lemon-y flavor, but don't tell me you did because I won't want to think ill of you.
Lemon Meringue Pie - Adapted From Emeril Lagasse, from his cookbook, "Emeril's Delmonico: A New Orleans Restaurant with a Past"
(This recipe makes a 9-inch regular pie. To make a deep dish pie, double the recipe. You will have about a cup of custard left over...cook's bonus!)
1 recipe of this pie crust, or you can use store bought crust
1 1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cold water
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons Limoncello lemon liqueur
2 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into pieces\
For the Meringue:
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
pinch of salt
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out into a 12-inch circle on a lightly-floured surface. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan, pressing gently to fit, trim the edge to within 1/2 inch of the pan, turn under and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375. Line the pie shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dry beans or rice. Bake until the crust is set, about 12 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and weights and bake until lightly colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before filling.
Combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, milk, water and a pinch of salt in a large non-reactive saucepan, whisk to combine, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. As the mixture reaches a simmer and begins to thicken and turn clear (4 to 5 minutes), whisk in the egg yolks, two at a time. Slowly add the lemon juice, whisking constantly, and add the zest and liqueur. Add the butter 1 piece at a time and, whisking constantly, return to a simmer. Remove from the heat and pour immediately into the prepared pie crust.
To make the Meringue: Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and remaining pinch of salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beating constantly, gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until glossy stiff peaks form, being careful not to overbeat, as this will make the meringue difficult to spread.
Using a spatula, cover the pie filling completely with the meringue, going out of the pastry edges, so the meringue does not draw up or weep during baking. Make decorative peaks in the meringue using a dull knife or the back of the spoon.
To quickly cook the meringue, preheat the broiler with the rack in the highest position. Place the pie under the broiler and cook until the meringue is set and golden brown (1 to 2 minutes), watching carefully to avoid burning.
Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Serves 8. Sorry, no pictures of the pie sliced because it didn't stay on the plates long enough for me to get a shot!