Lemon Meringue Pie, Family Stories and Meringue Tutorial

lemon meringue pie

For Christmas this year my mother gave me a cookbook.  This wasn’t one of the newest cookbooks on the bookstore shelves.  This cookbook was over 60 years old.  It was given to my mother when she was 20 years old by her grandmother –  my Great Grandmother Mary Calista Welles Schenck  (I love the fact that she spelled my mother’s name wrong.  There is an E on her Anne!)

lemon meringue pie

My memories of my Great Grandmother are faint and few.  She passed away when I was eight years old.  But I grew up hearing stories about Great Grandma Schenck, I have visited her home in Elmwood, Illinois,  stood by her grave and I have always had a bit of a connection to her.  I named my first daughter after her – Calista Mary Wilkes.

I was thrilled to receive this cookbook.  My mother had included a note in the cookbook that read:

 “The first thing I made from this cookbook was the butterscotch chiffon cake on page 159.  I t was delicious!  I baked it as dessert for the first meal I ever cooked – it was for a boyfriend.  I never made it again because my father had a heart attack later that night!    The most used recipe is the lemon meringue pie (most stained page in the book!) 

My grandmother was a woman ahead of her time.  She ruled her household, was very vocal about women’s rights and very active in her community.  She was certainly influential in my life!  I pass this book on to you with much love and pride of the woman you have become.  With much love – Mom

Not only will I treasure the cookbook but also the note from my mother.

So I knew immediately that I needed to try the lemon meringue pie.  I am still undecided on whether I should risk making the butterscotch chiffon cake though – is there such a thing as a cursed recipe!?!?

lemon meringue pie

This cookbook proves, like mother, like daughter.   First, it is obvious, like me, my mother loves lemon since the most used page in the cookbook is for lemon meringue pie. From the looks of the page, my mom is a messy cook just like me!

lemon meringue pie

That messy page #317 tells a story.   I know there are many stories between those pages.  Stories of family dinners, parties and holidays when she probably made and served that pie.

Have you ever wished that a cookbook could talk?   That it could tell the stories of the people that made the recipes, the people that enjoyed the food. Where they served it and to who. I do.  I wonder, if my recipes could talk, what would they say about me?  What stories would they have to tell.

I am grateful now that some of my spills are now part of her spills, part of those pages.  That my story is now between the pages of that cookbook along with my mothers.

lemon meringue pie

I love stories.  I love reading stories and telling stories.  That is probably why I love blogging so much.  I am also excited to be a part of the Story@Home conference hosted by Cherish Bound. I was also able to be a part of this conference last year where I met several of you!

I will be speaking on “Life is in the Details” – Like a good story – what makes a good life is the details. Details evoke emotions, memories and tell the story. Learn how we can focus on the detail, not only in our stories, but in our everyday life, parties, events and special occasions. Discover how when you connect the dots between all the joys, life seems fuller and more satisfying.

 The conference runs March 21-23, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. This yearStory@Home will be held in partnership with the RootsTech family history and technology conference at the Salt Palace. This is pretty exciting news for anyone fascinated with family history like I am.
How To Make a Perfect Meringue
I thought I’d share a little tutorial on meringue today too.  Don’t be afraid of it!
You will use your egg yolks in the pie and the leftover egg whites will make the meringue. Just be sure you don’t get any of the egg yolk into the egg white.  This can prevent them from whipping properly.  Also, make sure your bowl and beaters are clean also.

Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they are foamy.

lemon meringue pieAdd in your sugar a tablespoon at a time and then beat until it turns glossy and forms a stiff peak.
lemon meringue pie

Fill the pie crust with your filling and then spoon the meringue onto the top of the pie.

lemon meringue pieThen spread the meringue over the top of the filling, being sure to totally seal the edges.  You don’t want any holes or openings.  Be sure the meringue comes all the way to the edge of the pie crust.

TRUE CONFESSIONS:  I did not make this pie crust.  I figured by this time you were probably wondering how I got such a perfectly fluted edge.  I didn’t.  I had made a pie crust using my Perfect Pie Crust Tutorial but then I put it in the oven to bake and got distracted.  It burned.  I was out of time and fortunately had a store bought one in the freezer so that’s what you got!

Use the back of your spoon to form peaks across the top of the pie and to make sure the meringue covers the whole surface.  Be careful to seal the meringue onto the edge of the crust to prevent shrinkage.  If the filling is exposed to the heat it may “weep.”

lemon meringue pieIsn’t she pretty!?

lemon meringue pie

She is now ready for the oven where she will bake for about 10 minutes or until the meringue turns golden brown -just like this.  Allow to cool before serving.  Keep it away from drafts or the meringue can fall.

lemon meringue pie

Then she is ready – take a nice big slice and enjoy!!

lemon meringue pie

Leigh Anne

For other delicious pie recipes try:

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Lemon Sour Cream Pie

Strawberry Cream Pie

Chocolate Berry Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookie pie


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Lemon Meringue Pie
  • 1 9" baked pie crust
  • 1½ C sugar
  • ⅓ C cornstarch
  • 1½ C hot water
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • 1 1/1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  1. Mix together sugar and cornstarch.
  2. Add in water and stir until mixed.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils.
  4. Boil for one minute.
  5. Add a little of the hot mixture into your 3 egg yolks.
  6. Then pour that hot mixture into the pan with the rest of the hot mixture and stir.
  7. Boil one minute longer, stirring constantly.
  8. Remove from heat. Continue stirring until smooth.
  9. Add in butter, lemon juice and lemon rind.
  10. Pour into baked pie shell.
  11. Cover with meringue.
  12. Bake until a light golden brown at 400 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.
  13. Cool and serve.
  1. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.
  2. Add in sugar one tablespoon at a time until stiff and glossy
  3. Pile meringue onto pie filling
  4. Be sure and seal the meringue onto the edge of crust to prevent shrinking.
  5. if the filling is exposed to heat it will "weep"
  6. Swirl the meringue with the bottom of a spoon for a decorative top.
  7. Bake until lightly golden brown. Cool gradually, away from drafts
  8. A chill m ay make the meringue fall.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 9 inch pie

lemon meringue pie

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Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

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  1. Stephanie says

    Thanks for posting this. It’s funny, I just went to the grocery store yesterday and bought ingredients to make a lemon meringue pie. I haven’t made one in about 20 years, and it brought to mind a funny memory of what happened that last time. I made two pies–one to take to a family gathering and one to keep at home. I had them sitting on my kitchen table to cool, and they looked so pretty. The meringue had turned out perfectly. About an hour later, I came back into the kitchen only to discover my then 8 year old black lab, Sally, on her hind legs, and she had eaten almost all of one pie and licked most of the meringue off of the other! She certainly enjoyed the fruits of my labor.
    I love that your Mom passed down her cookbook, and love your story.

  2. Marnie says

    That’s the cookbook I grew up with! I pretty much learned how to cook with it. Lots of memories associated with that one. :)

  3. jamie says

    Fun stories! Whenever I get a recipe from someone I write on the recipe how I know them and something specific about them or the food. We have moved a lot while my husband has been in med school and I love pulling out recipes and being reminded of the people I have met along the way! I also noticed the recipe page you show has recipes for other flavors of meringue pie…orange, lime, strawberry etc. That sounds interesting and can you imagine how pretty all those colors would look!

    • says

      Jamie, I love the idea of recording the info about the person that shared the recipe with you on the card. What a fun thing to do. Yes, I am already thinking about an orange meringue pie…..

    • says

      Raquel – they are a treasure aren’t they. I even googled the value of my mom’s cookbook and it’s worth quite a lot but I assured her I would never sell it!!

  4. Valerie A. H. says

    I loved this post Leigh Anne! Thanks for sharing the family story and recipe. Lemon Meringue Pie is always so good! Your photos are really great too!

  5. says

    Lemon Meringue Pie was my first real dessert to make by myself. My grandmother loved to cook, but she was disabled and couldn’t stand a long time. So, we would sit and go through recipes together and she would tell me what she would tweak. I made the pie because I wanted to learn how to make meringue. Your story reminded me of that. Cookbooks passed down through generations are the best!!

  6. Julie says

    They haven’t called for volunteers yet, but perhaps I’ll be your room hostess again at the story@home conference this year! It was so much fun!

    We have some fabulous family stories about food- one ancestor tells the story about how she got married, and got a package from a VERY rich aunt overseas as a wedding present. Imagining fine expensive things, she opened the box to find only peach pits. She was angry, but read the letter, and the Aunt explained that she was sending her a peach orchard so that she would never want. She planted the pits, and the trees were large enough to start bearing fruit when the Great Depression hit.

  7. says

    Your lemon meringue pie caught my eye…I love it and can’t wait to try it…Do you have a good chocolate meringue pie recipe?????

    Found you over at Serenity Now Blog….My hutch was featured right above you….

  8. says

    What a beautiful photo and delicious recipe! Thanks so much for sharing this amazing pie at Super Saturday Show & Tell party today! Please come again next week! xoxo~ Ruthie

  9. Meghan says

    This was my first attempt at Lemon Meringue Pie and it turned out great. This recipe was easy to follow and delicious. I was a little concerned about taking on meringue, however, it was easier than I expected! Your Chocolate Meringue Pie is on the list for my next pie!


  1. […] recipes and cookbooks hold so many wonderful family stories!  I will always treasure my mother’s first cookbook which she gave me for Christmas and I love it even more that she shared some of the stories behind […]

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