WHAT’S COOKING? Desserts can be ‘easy as pie’


Although it can be a messy endeavor, teaching your kids to cook is definitely worth the time. As well as helping them develop skills in the kitchen, cooking can also teach reading, math, science and problem solving.

The Times and Democrat to launch Best of What’s Cooking? by columnist Teresa Hatchell. This column originally appeared on May 6, 2015.

Among several e-mails from readers I received this past week was one requesting the recipe for the Lemon Meringue Cream Pie that was served at a civic club meeting that I mentioned in last week’s column.

“That pie sounds good. Would the club ladies give this recipe? I am a lemon pie lover! Take care and keep up the good work,” wrote the kind reader.

Upon enquiry, I found out that the pie that was brought to the meeting was actually store bought. This week, however, I’m featuring the absolute best Lemon Meringue Cream Pie recipe I’ve had in my files. It takes a little work, but I know you’ll love it. Please note that I will be looking at some other readers’ comments next week.

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Lemon meringue cream pie

1 9-inch pie plate or pan

1-1/2 cups vanilla wafers (made from 3 cups vanilla wafers)

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1 can (14 oz) + 2/3 cup low-fat sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)

3 egg yolks (reserve the whites)

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. To make the crust, combine the breadcrumbs, water and oil in a small bowl. Tap the sides and bottom of the pie pan. To make the filling, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and egg yolks until well combined. Let sit for 10 minutes until thickened. Pour into the pie tin and bake for 20 minutes or until just set.

Meanwhile, make the meringue. Combine the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and water in a clean bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on high for about 6 to 8 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Spread over the lemon filling. Increase the oven temperature to 375 and bake for 10 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned. Cool until cold and cut into 14 small slices.

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Chilly and delicious lemonade pie

2 graham cracker crusts

1 large can of frozen lemonade

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

In a large bowl, whisk together the Cool Whip, half of the can of frozen lemonade, and the condensed milk until very smooth. Pour half into each of the crusts; cover and refrigerate overnight. Refrigerate until ready to serve. These pies can be frozen and taken out to thaw in minutes.

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Easy to make chocolate eclair

1 large box of vanilla pudding

1 tub of chocolate frosting.

In a large bowl, make the vanilla pudding according to the directions on the box. Stir in Cool Whip until smooth.

Use a 9-by-13-inch glass dish to make the eclairs. Place a layer of graham cracker squares in the bottom of the dish and a layer of the pudding mixture on top. Place another layer of graham cracker squares and top with a layer of pudding mix. Place another layer of graham cracker squares on top of the pudding mixture.

Remove the foil from the tub of chocolate frosting and heat the frosting in the microwave for about 30 seconds on HIGH. Stir to make sure the frosting is quite melted. Pour the frosting over the top layer of graham crackers and smooth it down to cover evenly. Refrigerate for a few hours. This recipe makes a lot for serving a crowd.

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