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Lunches with Mom

Bea Louis

 I hate to admit it, but I’m at the age where I’ve now become a mother to my mother.  She doesn’t take me to the doctor – I take her.  She doesn’t help me figure out my bank balance – I help her figure out hers.  She no longer out-walks me – we walk together.  We were leaving a meeting the other day and I told her I would follow her to her house.  She started driving the wrong way.  I had to quickly catch up and get in front of her cause I had no idea where we would end up.  She just laughed.  She laughs at herself all the time when she can’t remember or messes up.  So, I’m learning to laugh, too.  

I’ve learned to appreciate the extra time that I spend with my mom.  We get to have lunch together all the time now because I drive her most places.  I never had time for lunch before.  We get to talk about all my relatives that I never got to know and reminisce about my grandparents who I still miss after decades.  I also get to know her wishes and plans.  I have learned details about her such as she’d rather have pie than cake any day.  Her favorite pie was my grandmother’s coconut meringue pie.  She said she tried to make it, but she could never quite get the meringue right.  So, I decided I’d give it a go.  

As usual, I bought the crust.  I baked it and allowed it to cool completely.

The filling was easy:

  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup cornstarch

Separate the 4 eggs.  Set aside the egg whites.  Whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch together.  Mix the coconut milk, half and half, sugar and salt together in a pan over medium heat, whisking occasionally.  Bring it to a boil and boil for two minutes.  Temper the egg yolk mixture by slowly adding half of the milk mixture so the eggs don’t scramble.  Slowly pour and whisk the egg yolk mixture into the pot.  Whisk and cook for about a minute and a half until thickened.  Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut, butter and vanilla.  Set aside.

(Meringue)

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 6 tablespoons sugar for meringue
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut

For the meringue, in a small bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy.  Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved.  Continue beating until soft peaks form.

Transfer the hot filling to the crust.  Spread the meringue evenly over the filling.  Sprinkle with flaked coconut.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the meringue is golden.  Cool 1 hour.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

I don’t know if it was as good as my grandmother’s Coconut Meringue Pie, but it made my mother happy.  It was a great dessert to have after my lunch with Mom.

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