This is what's left of the pie I baked using Martha Foose's Lemon Icebox Pie recipe found in Screen Doors and Sweet Tea. I found the recipe while reading a persuasive article by Francis Lam at Salon, and I bought the book soon after.
If the author of this book and creator of the recipe were to see my photo here, she'd say, "Why honey, bless your heart." If you're southern, you understand the tone and the sentiment of such a statement. It means, "You poor thing. You really did try hard, didn't you. It's OK. You'll do better next time, but we won't tell you that you've failed because we don't want to hurt your feelings."
There is a world of meaning in the phrase "bless your heart." Here's why I, and my pie, deserve it.
I was so eager to bake this pie because I haven't had one like it in years. It was like something brand new to me, even though I've baked similar pies many times. And I love lemon. I set out all of the ingredients in the order in which I would need them. I made the crust as instructed and put in the oven, and while it baked, I mixed the remaining ingredients in a big, plastic bowl. As instructed, I poured the filling into the crust and wondered why I had so much left over. I quickly determined my pie plate was not deep enough to hold it all, and I would simply have to pour the leftover stuff down the disposal. A more think-on-your-feet kind of person would have saved it and made another pie, but not me. Down it went.
As I went back to the recipe to confirm the baking time, I discovered my error. If you notice in my previous paragraph, I mixed "the remaining ingredients," when in actuality, I was not to mix the two cups of heavy cream with all the rest. You're supposed to whip that separately, and after the pie has cooled, you top it with the whipped cream and chill for an hour.
Well, what to do. I decided such a pie would not bake in 10 minutes and would need longer to set, so I doubled the baking time. That seemed to do the trick as far as creating proper consistency, but what about the flavor? And what about adding an additional pile of whipped cream to a pie that was already ridiculously rich? To heck with it, I decided, and left it as is.
As you can see, we ate the thing anyway. It had plenty of flavor, I think, and the consistency was firm enough to make each piece look like a slice of pie, instead of a pile of pudding, which is what I was afraid of.
The lesson here is to not let your enthusiasm get in the way of the task at hand, and if I bake this pie again, I'll be sure to follow the instructions to the letter.