For some reason the letter L (our Alphabe-Thursday target of the week) made me think of Lemon Pie. Maybe its because our Lemon tree has a Large crop of itty-bitty Lemons just waiting for me to pick them and use them up. It stirs up Lots of fond memories.
I first discovered this recipe in the pages of a children's cookbook that my mom handed down to me. I don't think we ever made this recipe when my brother and I were growing up, but just handling the book brings back memories of the days when Mom decided to let us take turns cooking things each week. Pocket sandwiches, frosted meatloaf, and cornflake chicken I know we tried, among others. When I discovered the lemon pie recipe I was looking for something simple that I could prepare with the child. She was a little over five at the time, and we were smack in the middle of the most challenging time that we had ever experienced with her. Her language was at 2-3 year old level, as were her fine motor skills and attention span. The twins were a year old - less physically needy, but demanding their own share of attention. The child was still pretty angry at me for disappearing on her at the time of the twins' birth, and I was having a hard time reconnecting with her because of her aggressive behavior toward me and her siblings. It was a mess, and we were desperate for help. In answer to my prayers (yes, really) God brought us under the teaching of two extremely talented and service-hearted women who helped us learn so much about how to reconnect our fragmented family, and support the child's behavior better at home, and then in every other environment we took her to. One of the keys was finding ways to meaningfully engage her in activities, especially with me. So I was trying to find an easy recipe that we could do together from beginning to end.
We started by picking lemons from the tree. Then hand over hand she helped me zest and squeeze out the juice. Together we whisked the ingredients together and poured them into a prepared crust. Throughout the experience she let me touch her, help her, encourage her, and enjoy her. All of these had been difficult for many months on end. I was anxious the whole time, just waiting for her to get frustrated or bored and explode, but she stuck with it the whole time. Something so simple, but to me a precious touchstone anytime things start getting hard again. I now trust that we'll be able to work it out. Every time I make this recipe I remember that day almost three years ago, and I smile. Here's hoping it brings you some smiles, too:
Creamy Lemon Pie
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
frozen whipped topping, thawed
9 inch graham cracker crust
1. Prepare 1 teaspoon lemon zest.
2. Prepare 1/2 cup of lemon juice.
3. Beat egg in a medium sized mixing bowl.
4. Add sweetened condensed milk to egg.
5. Add lemon zest and juice.
6. Stir until the mixture starts to thicken.
7. Fold in half of the frozen whipped topping.
8. Pour the filling into the graham cracker crust.
9. Cover filling with remaining whipped topping.
10. Freeze the pie until firm.
11. Garnish with extra zest or a slice of lemon.
Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens "New Junior Cook Book" (1979) page 92. [This is probably the Old Junior Cook Book by now...]
Amazing that something so sour can make such a sweet memory. When life gives you lemons...