I have become a fairly-decent cook in recent years (not to pat myself on the back too much). I have come along way in the baking department from when I was seven years old and baked a “cake” for my family. I say “cake” because that’s what I said it was…but in reality, it was a semi-liquid/semi-rubbery chocolate thing that I proudly served to them. (Even my dad didn’t eat it, and that says a lot.)
Like I said, I’ve come a long way. I made a batch of my Zucchini Muffins for my neighbors last month, and they are still raving about them when we see each other in the driveway.
All that back story and self-congratulating brings me to Father’s Day 2021 (last Sunday). I guess I was do for a kick in the teeth.
*Dad, if you read this, I’m sorry I did not go with a tried-and-true recipe. I’ll make it up to you.*
This story starts with a recipe box I discovered at an estate sale. Inside the box were a few recipes. One for “Lemonade Pie” caught my attention and I wanted to try it…so I did. And now I wish I hadn’t.
In all honesty I was going to act like this attempt never happened and swear my family to secrecy – it was that bad – but my sister convinced me that I ought to share this failure for authenticity sake/so my readers know what I saved them from, and that I don’t lie and say “Best Pie Ever” (when in reality it went into two grocery bags and into the dumpster before I sat down to write this).
It started out simple enough…a foolproof, easy-peasy four ingredient pie.
The index card called for a tub of Cool Whip, Frozen Pink Lemon-Ade, one can of Eagle Brand Milk [which is proudly made in the USA], and a graham cracker crust.
The rest of the index card read as follows:
Mix milk and lemonade together – spoon in whip cream. Mix until smooth. Spoon in graham cracker crust.
So, I did.
Then I set it in the refrigerator to be served after the fancy home-grown herb chicken and corn casserole entrée.
I got ambitious and decided it needed a fancy topper to posh up this simple (and rather pale pie), so I headed over to Pinterest and found a video pin about how to candy lemons. The guy made it look so easy…
1 C water, 1 C sugar in a skillet with a drop of yellow food coloring. Thinly slice lemons and add the slices to the boiling sugar water (a wink to all the MIB fans) and let them simmer on low heat for 45 minutes. I kept stirring the slices every once in a while. I would also run my finger along the spatula afterward and the lemony sugar syrup was tasty!
Something went wrong after about 35 minutes of simmering. It started to smell kind of burnt, despite not looking burned. I removed the slices and laid them on a sheet of foil. They were incredibly tacky and not at all like what the Pinterest guy’s lemon slices had looked like. I let them cool off at room temperature for almost two hours. They did not appear to be solidifying at all and were still very tacky, so I moved them to the freezer until it was time to serve my “Lemonade Pie”.
This tale of woe continues at the time of plating…
I retrieved the lemon slices from the freezer and the pie from the fridge. I grabbed the pie server and plunged it into the pie to cut the first slice. I knew right away that something had gone [terribly] wrong, seeing as how the pie seemed to heal itself after I cut the first slice. I went ahead and scooped it out. Which was easier said than done. It was a very runny pie. It had the texture of ice cream that has been left on the counter too long. My family encouraged me to keep going so I scooped out four “slices” and then set to topping them with the “candied lemon slices”. They stuck to the foil. They stuck to your fingers. After trying a bit that came off the foil, they stuck to your teeth – and tasted mostly of lemon rind.
Here is a photo of the plated monstrosity:
So, we sat at the table picking at the abomination and discussing what could have gone wrong.
The conclusion we came to was that there was no binder of any kind in the pie filling. No egg. No cream cheese. Just milk, Cool Whip and concentrated lemonade mix. And the candied lemon slices, well, I think they would have been a lot better had I left the water out, and simply coated them in the sugar in the skillet before laying them to cool on parchment paper.
Don’t worry, I intend to still supply you with a delicious recipe for a Lemonade Pie. It just won’t be this one, and it won’t be today.
After having thought about this all week, I think I am on to an idea that simply combines two other dessert recipes I have mastered to make a lemony treat. I will have to give it a try, then I will let y’all know.
What was the last recipe you tried that was an utter failure?
Fear not, you are not alone.