LEMON MERINGUE PIE

Reeves Restaurant and Bakery is known for its desserts. Not surprisingly, Frank Carcamo would not part with the recipe for strawberry pie (cooked or open-faced). The lemon-meringue pie recipe that he did provide, cut down from bakery-style weight measurements, included such ungainly items as '5 and 1/3 oz. egg white.'

Instead, we present a classic recipe for lemon meringue pie from 'Joy of Cooking' by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc.). Try it. And imagine yourself atop an antique stool at Reeves. FOR FILLING: 1 1/2 cups sugar 6 tablespoons cornstarch 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 3 well-beaten egg yolks 2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel 9-inch baked pie crust shell FOR MERINGUE: 2 egg whites 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 3 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In 2 or 3-quart saucepan, sift in sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually blend in 1/2 cup cold water and lemon juice. When smooth, thoroughly blend in egg yolks and butter. Stirring constantly, add 1 1/2 cups boiling water.

Over medium high heat bring mixture to full boil, stirring gently. As mixture begins to thicken, reduce heat and allow to simmer slowly 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon peel. Pour into baked pie shell.

For meringue: Preheat oven to 325 to 350 degrees F. Whip egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar. Whip until stiff but not dry, until they stand in peaks that lean over slightly when beater is removed. Beat in sugar one tablespoon at a time. Do not overbeat. Beat in vanilla. Spread on pie and bake 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of meringue. Serve cool. Makes one nine-inch pie.

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