Dear Barbara: Our hospital auxiliary is having a luncheon next month and I am in charge of the pies. Can you make the crust ahead of time? How far ahead? — Peggy from Stockton
Dear Peggy: Yes, Peggy, you certainly can. According to “The New Food Lover’s Tiptionary,” roll out the bottom crust and place it in the pie pan. Wrap it snuggly in plastic wrap and you can refrigerate the dough up to four days. If you need to keep the dough longer, I would suggest you freeze it. You can freeze the pie crust for about six months. Be sure and thaw them completely before filling and baking.
Dear Barbara: I want to grill some lemons to use for garnish and to squeeze over the dish. Is there anything you have to do in order to grill them? — Jami from Lodi
Dear Jami: If you are going to grill lemon (halves), be sure your grill grate is clean. Put just a little oil on a clean cloth and wipe the grate with it. Having cut the lemon in half, you can then grill it cut side down until you have some nice grill marks, or you can lightly dip the cut side in sugar before putting them on the grill. The sugar will caramelize and you should get some beautiful grill marks. This should give your dish another layer of flavor. If you grill enough lemons, you could put a half lemon on each plate so they can see the beautiful grill marks and each person can squeeze their lemon juice over their own plate.
Dear Barbara: I have a dilemma. Whenever I cut a lemon meringue pie, the knife drags the meringue. There have been times that I pulled the whole meringue off the pie. How do I stop this from happening? — Haley from Lodi
Dear Haley: Meringue seems to have a mind of its own! If you keep a pan of hot water on the stove and dip your knife between each cut, it should make a nice clean cut.