A classic lemon meringue pie with a tart and smooth lemon filling topped with a light and fluffy meringue.
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!)
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. It was delicious! I baked it as dessert for the first meal I ever cooked – it was for a boyfriend but 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“
Old Family Recipes
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!?!?
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!
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.
How to Make Lemon Meringue Pie Filling
- Make pie crust using this tutorial and bake pie crust before filling.
- Mix together sugar and cornstarch in a sauce pan and add in water, stir until mixed.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil for one minute.
- Add a little of the hot mixture into your 3 egg yolks.
- Pour that hot mixture into the pan with the rest of the hot mixture and stir. This prevents the hot mixture from cooking the eggs.
- Boil one minute longer, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat. Continue stirring until smooth.
- Add in butter, lemon juice and lemon rind.
- Pour mixture into pie crust.
Tips for Perfect Meringue
For the meringue you will use the leftover egg whites from the pie filling.
- It is important that you don’t get any egg yolk into the egg white as this can prevent them from whipping properly.
- Eggs separate easier when chilled. Allow them to come to room temperature after separating as they will whip faster and with more volume than chilled egg whites.
- Make sure your bowl and beaters are clean.
- Using a chilled bowl and beaters will speed up the process.
How to Make Meringue
- Beat egg whites until foamy.
- Add in cream of tartar. This is a stabilizer.
- Pour in sugar a tablespoon at a time and then beat until it turns glossy and a stiff peak forms.
- Fill the pie crust with your filling and then spoon the meringue onto the top of the pie.
- 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.
- 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.”
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, just until the meringue begins to turn golden brown.
- Allow to cool. Keep pie away from drafts as it may cause the meringue to fall. Chill for 2-3 hours before serving.
- Cut pie with a wet knife to prevent the meringue from sticking to it.
Does Lemon Meringue Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?
Yes, keep leftover pie refrigerated and don’t let the pie sit out at room temperature for more than a couple of hours.
Why Is My Meringue “Weeping”
Little drops of moisture or condensation may form on your meringue and make it look like it’s crying. This is caused by touching the meringue. If you are covering the pie with plastic wrap be sure to insert some toothpicks into the pie to keep the plastic wrap from touching the meringue. The plastic wrap will cause the meringue to release moisture and look like it’s weeping.
TRUE CONFESSIONS: I did not make this pie crust. You may be wondering how I got such a perfectly fluted edge. Well, I didn’t. I had made a pie crust using my Perfect Pie Crust Recipe, but then I put it in the oven to bake and got distracted and it burned. I was out of time and fortunately had a store bought one in the freezer so that’s what you got!
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Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
Lemon Meringue Pie
- 1 pie crust 10″ baked pie crust
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cup hot water
- 3 egg yolks slightly beaten
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice or more to taste
- 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- Mix together sugar and cornstarch.
- Add in water and stir until mixed.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil for one minute
- Add a little of the hot mixture into your 3 egg yolks. Then pour the hot mixture into the pan with the rest of the hot mixture and stir. This prevents the hot mixture from cooking the egg.
- Boil one minute longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth.
- Add in butter, lemon juice and lemon rind and pour into baked pie shell
- Cover with meringue. Making sure it covers the whole service of the pie.
- Bake until a light golden brown at 400 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.
- Cool and serve.
- Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.
- Add in sugar one tablespoon at a time until stiff and glossy
- Pile meringue onto pie filling
- Be sure and seal the meringue onto the edge of crust to prevent shrinking.
- if the filling is exposed to heat it will "weep"
- Swirl the meringue with the bottom of a spoon for a decorative top.
- Bake until lightly golden brown. Cool gradually, away from drafts
Originally post June, 2013