As many of you know by now, I am a cradle Catholic. To be a cradle Catholic means I did not convert to the faith, but was born to the faith, having been baptized as a baby. As Catholics, we believe our faith is handed down not only through Sacred Scripture (the Holy Bible) but also through Sacred Traditions. One such tradition is the Assumption of Mary.
What is the Assumption of Mary? The Catholic Church teaches as dogma that the Virgin “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory“. While there is some debate as to whether our Blessed Mother first suffered a physical death or was simply taken up in that twilight moment between life and death, her assumption is accepted as truth.
The Church leaves open both possibilities. However, the majority of theologians and saints throughout the centuries have concluded that Mary did experience death. This was not as a penalty for sin, we know Mary was without sin, but in conformity to her son, who willingly experienced death on our behalf. In support of this latter view, Pope John Paul II said, “The Mother is not superior to the Son who underwent death, giving it a new meaning and changing it into a means of salvation.”
For the faithful, her death is irrelevant. What does matter is the belief in the resurrection of her earthly body. It is the promise that one day we will all be united in Heaven, the promise of life beyond death. We believe in the blessings promised to all faithful disciples. One such blessing is victory over death. It stands to reason that Mary would be the first to receive this blessing in a unique way. Hail Mary, full of grace in life and in death.
On a personal note, it brings me great comfort that today is the Assumption of our Blessed Mother. One year ago today, my beautiful daughter was called home. She now rests in peace until the coming of the Lord. And I know that Mary watches over her as only a mother could.
Today is also the birthday of a famous chef who brought French cooking into the homes of American cooks – Julia Child. Happy Birthday Julia! She would have been 109 today. It’s only fitting that today is also National Lemon Meringue Pie Day. I don’t know if Julia had a favorite Lemon Meringue recipe – but what I do know is this ain’t it. Julia would never use packages of lemon gelatin or Marshmallow Crème from a jar. But we will. Enjoy!
Lemon Meringue Tart
1 Refrigerated Pie Crust Dough (for single crust)
1 Lemon, zest and juice
1/4 cup Butter
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
3/4 cup Sugar, divided
1 cup Water
1 (3 oz) package Lemon Flavor Gelatin
4 egg Whites
1/2 cup Marshmallow Crème
Let single pie dough come to room temperature as directed on the package. Once ready, open, unroll. Fold in half, then half again.
Spray 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray; line with pie crust, centering point and unfolding for an even crust. Press into place. Prick bottom of crust with fork. Place in the refrigerator to chill well.
Heat oven to 450-degrees. Bake crust for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned; cool.
Meanwhile, zest lemon, set zest aside. Cut lemon in half, juice and set fresh lemon juice aside. Dice cold butter into small pieces. Keep chilled until ready to use.
Combine cornstarch and 1/2 cup sugar in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in water until blended. Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring constantly; cook 8 minutes, continuing to stir constantly. Remove from heat. Add dry lemon gelatin mix, butter, lemon zest and juice; stir for 2 minutes or until gelatin is completely dissolved. Refrigerate lemon filling for 30 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
Pour filling into pie crust. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm.
Heat oven to 450-degrees.
Separate egg whites from yolks. Reserve yolks for another use or discard. Place whites in a medium mixing bowl, let whites reach room temperature.
Beat egg whites with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining sugar. Add marshmallow crème; continue to beat on high speed for 2 minutes or until meringue is thick and shiny. Spread over lemon filling, sealing meringue to edge of crust.
Bake 3 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Cool completely.