Lemon meringue pie is a scrumptiously delicious, light dessert. It’s my father’s favorite pie. I should have made it for his birthday, but instead I made his favorite cake, an angel food cake. Big cooking failure! Why? No. 1: I didn’t pre-read the recipe. This particular angel food cake recipe called for 12 egg yolks. Yes, that’s right, yolks. Angel food cake is supposedly a dieter’s dream cake because it consists almost entirely of low-cal egg whites. But I did as the recipe instructed, separated the yolks from the whites and discarded the whites. Genius move. Had I pre-read the recipe, I would have realized this would not be God’s gift to angel food cakes.

Cooking Failure No. 2: I didn’t cut my losses and switch recipes. No, once again my alleged virtue of perseverance drove me to repeat the Concord fallacy and throw good ingredients after bad. Confused, but loyal to the instructions, I remained on this cardiologist’s hell ride. I baked the cake. The result? It was absolutely the worst cake, no, worst dessert, I had ever made. This angel food cake was the color of Spongebob Squarepants, had a similar number of holes throughout, and was as chewy, yes chewy, as I imagine Squidword to be.

Cooking Failure No. 3. I served it anyway. I had to. The children had already decorated it with birthday pictures. The plastic golfer had been stuck in the center hole. We’d twice already screamed when the plastic golf flags caught on fire from the lit candles. So when my cooking failure finally adorned our plates beside the melted ice cream, we had to eat it. We chewed, and chewed, and chewed. But Dad was characteristically sweet; he said it would make a good breakfast cake. I’m still trying to figure that out.

Determined to redeem myself, and give my father a befitting birthday dessert, this weekend I turned my lemons into lemon meringue pie. And this lemon meringue pie recipe worked! Now I hadn’t baked a lemon meringue pie since I was in high school, and I think for good reason, if my memory serves me right. But this weekend’s lemon meringue pie surprised us all. It was a grand cooking success. It wasn’t runny; it didn’t taste like gloppy corn syrup; the meringue was light, fluffy and tasty. Dad liked it so much he had a piece for breakfast the next day and then took the rest of the pie home. I guess it made a good breakfast pie; maybe flavor standards are lower for breakfast foods. Keep reading for this lemon meringue pie recipe: my cooking success story!

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