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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bringing in the Fall

Somehow at the beginning of our marriage I started the tradition of inaugurating fall with Pumpkin Pies. It always happens in October, but it is always a surprise to Murray.  He never knows when it is going to happen.  One evening he walks in the door and is greeted by one of his favorite smells, pumpkin pies cooking in the oven.  It is not something that Murray would want to eat every night, but there is something so comforting about that first pumpkin on a cool crisp October evening!

I say that it somehow became a tradition because it was not something that I started intentionally.  Pumpkin Pie holds a very special place in my heart.  I love Pumpkin Pie and I especially loved my Granny's Pumpkin Pie!  Every time I went see my grandparents, Granny always had a Pumpkin Pie waiting on me.  We would walk in the door and I would see it cooling on the kitchen counter.  My whole life I knew she made it for me, but I also thought it was just one of those desserts that she always had on hand (just like you could always count on a a sour cream pound cake in the cake holder on the counter in her kitchen).  It was not until her funeral this past January that I realized how special that Pumpkin Pie was.  As the grandchildren were talking we realized that it was something different for each grandchild.  For my brother and cousin it was a chocolate torte, for another cousin it was chocolate cake.  And for me, it was my Pumpkin Pie.  And that is what she called it, she would pull it out and say, "Kimberly's Pumpkin Pie."  She never made a big deal about it, she just always had it waiting for me when I arrived.

As I have said before, when it comes to dessert, Murray prefers chocolate.  So, when we first got married, I did not know how Murray would feel about Pumpkin Pie.  But I knew I wanted Pumpkin Pie!  I knew if there was going to be a chance of Murray being somewhat excited about having Pumpkin Pie instead of something chocolate (we were so poor in seminary that we rarely had dessert, so to have dessert and it not be chocolate was a big risk!) it would have to be in the right season.  When I heard Murray pull in from work that evening I was a little nervous about his reaction to smelling those very aromatic Pumpkin Pies cooking away in the oven.

To my great surprise, he was thrilled.  And from that night on, it has been one of our favorite fall traditions!

This year, after 9 years, I decided to take a bit of a risk.  When it comes to Pumpkin Pie, our favorite way is with a big dollop (ok, maybe 2) of cool whip.  I know to some people it is almost sinful to prefer cool whip over whipped cream, but we do.  No apologies about it.  We love cool whip.

In the move(s) a lot of old magazines resurfaced.  For the past 2 months last year's Thanksgiving issue from Southern Living has been sitting on the side table in our kitchen.  It has a beautiful Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue on the cover.  I could take it no longer.  I just had to make that meringue.

And that is where the risk came in.  Changing up the thing that Murray looks forward to every year is a big risk.  Luckily when you make Pumpkin Pies you make two.  So, I made one with meringue and one without, just in case Murray was not on board with the change.  As I guessed would happen, Murray went for his usual Pumpkin Pie with Cool Whip the first night.  But finally last night he broke down and had a piece with meringue (you can only look at beautiful meringue for so long without giving into temptation!).

And he really liked it!  Now I don't know that he is giving up his Cool Whip, but he did love the meringue.  I, of course, loved it!  I thought I would share the recipe of the meringue with you if you are looking to kick up your Pumpkin Pie up a notch this year.

Marshmallow Meringue 

3 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme

Let your pumpkin pie cool completely.

Beat egg whites, vanilla and salt on high with heavy duty mixer until foamy.  Gradually add in sugar 1 Tbsp at a time (4 Tbsp), beating until stiff peaks form.

The meringue should stand up like this in the mixer.  If it peaks and then falls, you need to mix longer.

Beat 1/4 of marshmallow creme into egg white mixture; repeat 3 times with remaining marshmallow creme.  Beat until the mixture is smooth.

Spread over pie.

Bake at 400 for 6 or 7 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned (it may actually need to be a little bit more brown than this picture.  When I cut into mine the meringue was not cooked all the way and I had to put it back in the oven for a few minutes.  That is what happens when you do not pay attention to the clock!)

Enjoy!  It is delicious!!!

Happy Fall!

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