Today, January 6, 2010, is the occasion of two very special things. One is that my brother, Tom, celebrates his birthday! And it's a BIG one … (Shhh…don't tell, but it's Double 20!) Happy Birthday, Tom!
And secondly, it's also Three Kings' Day, or All Kings' Day, Epiphany, or even Theophany! It seems that the religious denomination or culture celebrating it determines its title. It's also known as the 12th Day of Christmas, marking the end of the holiday. It's called Three Kings' Day or All Kings' Day if you celebrate it as the time that the three kings brought gold, frankincense, and myrhh as gifts for Baby Jesus and seems to be the most common observance. In many cultures, kids leave their shoes under the Christmas Tree the night before in hopes of finding them filled the next morning. In France and much of Europe, I think, they bake Kings' Cakes with a small prize inside. The one who finds it in their piece gets to wear the "couronne", or the crown for the day and be the King. It's a big visiting day, too, when family members go to each other's houses, eat lots, drink lots, and all the kids come home with lots of coins!
I usually take down my Christmas decorations before the 6th because I like to get it finished before the kids go back to school, and although it isn't a large part of our celebrations, I've often tried to commemorate the day in some way. I find it to be a great way to extend the holiday season, a great way to teach our "American" kids what other cultures do to celebrate, and … Shoot, why NOT celebrate something else!! I love celebrating!
In my attempts to commemorate the day, I've made Kings' Cakes, but we haven't found one that was memorable enough to make again. (I'm still taking suggestions, though!) So as I considered what to do for today, for some inexplicable reason, I thought about my mom's Chocolate Meringue Pie.
I know! Weird, huh?
Nothing about that Pie says, "I'm suitable for Three Kings' Day", but I suggest that the Three Kings would've loved my mama's pie! So, I called Mom and got the recipe. She uses the recipe from her ancient Betty Crocker Cookbook … the one that is falling apart, even after Daddy duct-taped it years ago. That cookbook looks kind of like the notes I took while writing it down! Something for you to be grateful for today is the fact that I transcribed them for you to download! Scribbles and markings!!
I made a spelt flour crust so that Emily could eat it if she chose to and prebaked it for 7 minutes.
Then, I made a homemade pudding, which for as scary as it sounds is really simple to do. You just mix flour, cornstarch, and salt together. Then you mix egg yolks with milk. Mix the dry and wet, bring to a low boil over medium heat, et voila! Pudding! (Hint: You could eat it just like that, no crust, no meringue! IDEA: put it in small plastic containers for kid snacks!)
Poured it into the crust …
(I almost missed getting that photo before I spreaded the meringue all over it!)
Topped it with meringue …
… and baked it for 10 minutes. Couldn't have been easier!
I must now find a couronne to put on top of it …