Team Whipping Cream
For those of you who are long-term PJP fans, you know that we are OLD SCHOOL. Peg and Jeanne built their original concept and branding on the notion that the recipes used for the pie dough and all of the fillings are generations old. If you know Jeanne for two hot seconds, she will tell you that her grandmother developed her pie dough recipe based on what was easily available and low-cost during that particular era. This hardcore commitment to old school is one of our favorite things about PJP. In a world of the availability of scores of pies in your local grocer's freezer from Marie Callender and Sara Lee, holding tight to the idea of nothing-from-a-can-or-a-box-or-a-factory-in-Cleveland makes us both proud.
Except when it comes to meringue.
Meringue is sort of the Grand Marshal of the Old School parade. It is hard to find pie with traditional meringue now. Why? Honestly, because it doesn't taste that great. Like it's stepsister fondant icing, it is beautiful to look at but taste...well, not so much. Typically what happens is a person admires the tall peaks of meringue beauty on a pie and then they cut it and proceed to scrape off all the meringue with their fork before eating.
A little bit of my soul dies every time that happens.
Jeanne is the meringue expert around this show. You basically whip egg white, sugar, and cream of tartar until it forms stiff peaks. Then you make it all pretty on your pie and you bake it for 15 or 20 minutes until it browns nicely. And then you spend all of your time trying to not upset the meringue because any sort of temperature change or change in alignment of the stars can cause your meringue to fall flat or my personal favorite - weep.
So basically when Jeanne suggests I make the meringues, I react a little like this:
Fortunately for me, fate (in the form of Lucky's Market) intervened. Besides being fickle and weepy, meringue tends to be unstable and has a very limited shelf life. For a retail setting such as a grocery store, we need a meringue that can stand up proud and hold itself together for more than 42 minutes. This is my way of saying that Jeanne was finally forced into thinking outside the meringue box. FINALLY.
Starting this week at Lucky's with Coconut Cream and Chocolate Cream made us work quickly on an alternative that is fresh, consistent, and pretty. Welcome to the family, homemade whipped cream.
A cup of heavy whipping cream, a few tablespoons of sugar, and a bit of unflavored gelatin as your stabilizer is A WINNER. I'm fairly certain I made my prettiest Coconut Cream pie ever earlier this evening and it is covered in light, airy, and delicious homemade whipped cream and sprinkled with toasted coconut. I am tempted to go whip up a bowl right now and eat it while I type about it. I silently mourn all those tubs of Cool Whip I bought for personal baking in my past. Why, self, why? Homemade whipping cream is so much tastier.
I am vehemently TEAM WHIPPING CREAM.
What will happen when the shop opens and we don't necessarily need the retail stability given by the whipped cream? I don't know. I sorta of suggested to Jeanne that we just give the meringue a hero's burial and let it be, but her long pause let me know that she was dubious about that sudden move.
So, are you vehemently TEAM MERINGUE? Will not be able to carry forward if you can't enjoy a slice of pie topped with whipped egg whites like your grandma made? Speak now and leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.