Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

Saturday 7 November 2020

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

I have had a long and hard think about this in recent weeks, and I have to say that I have decided unequivocally that my favorite pie is Lemon Meringue.  This was not an easy decision for me to come to because . . .  well . . .  I love pie.  

IF its in a crust I am all over it . . . sweet, savory and in-between! Lemon is absolutely my favorite however. Classic Lemon Meringue Pie.  No if's ands or in-betweens! 

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

So what is it about Lemon Meringue Pie that gives it that edge, albeit a tiny one, above all the other pies? What is it about Lemon Meringue Pie that I love so much.

Even more than Chocolate or Butterscotch. Coconut Cream. Banana Cream.  Not even Apple Pie comes close to my love for Lemon Meringue.

Perhaps it is the fact that I adore the flavor of lemons.   

They are cheek-achingly tart . . . but with a touch of sunshine that never disappoints . . .

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

 That quivering, mouth puckering and yet sweet, almost translucent filling. It is almost like a jelly, but more unctuous and richer . . . like a golden jewel.  

When we were children, my mother used to keep out some of the filling without the crust, and add a big of milk to it for my brother.  It was thought that pastry was hard for small children to digest.  It looked delicious that way but  . . .

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie


Then there is the pastry.  What is a pie without pastry?  I favor my recipe for Butter Lard pastry.  It is crisp and flaky.  

Yes, it does make two crusts, but you can always freeze one disc of pastry for future use.  Wrapped up tightly it will keep for several months.  Simply bring to room temperature when you want to use it and roll out as desired.

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie


Lets talk about meringue.  I was awfully tempted to add an extra egg white to mine the other day so that it would be piled gloriously on top of the pie, but I did not.  

If you have your egg whites at room temperature they will whip up with more volume than if they are cold, so always bring them to room temperature first!

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie


You want to beat your egg whites stiff, but still moist before you start adding the sugar.  Add the sugar slowly, beating them constantly until you have a thick, stiff, glossy billowing mixture. 

You should be able to hold a perfectly whipped bowl of egg whites upside down over your head without fear of it pouring out.  I have never been brave enough to put that to the test. How about you? 

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

Like sweet soft clouds on top of that lovely filling, you only want to bake it until it is golden brown.  I will confess right now,  I am not fond of the British propensity to cook meringue until it is hard.  

On a Lemon Pie, to my way of thinking, or any pie really,  a meringue topping should be soft and almost marshmallow like. But I am no Paul Hollywood and he might argue with me on that issue.

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie


And, oh . . .  I know the temptation is oh so great to want to cut into it almost right away. Do chill it for at least two hours and preferably overnight in the refrigerator if you can resist it that long.  It is really worth the wait. 

Another tip, let it come fully to room temperature before chilling it.  That way the meringue shouldn't shrink back from the edges or weep. 

Those little beads that often form on top of the meringue . . . mom always said that was vitamins. That was her answer to everything bless her.

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

You will get lovely straight edged, shimmering wedges of pie.  Use a sharp knife and dip it into hot water with each cup and the meringue won't stick to the knife and tear. 

You will get perfect slices. Trust me on this.

This truly is a most beautiful pie.  The MOST beautiful tastiest of pies.  It is a rare treat for me.

When I do cave in and make one, I find it achingly impossible to resist!

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

If you bake only one thing this weekend, one dessert, let it be this. You will not regret it! Now where was my fork?

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie
Yield: makes one 9-inch pie
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 30 Mincook time: 15 Mininactive time: 2 Hourtotal time: 2 H & 45 M
A basic Lemon Meringue Pie recipe taken from the old Purity Cookbook. Its been a standard in my home for years.


For the filling:
  • 1 1/4 cups (240g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (35g) all purpose/ plain flour
  • 3 TBS cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups (709ml) boiling water
  • 3 large free range egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) strained lemon juice
For the meringue:
  • 3 large free range egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 6 TBS granulated sugar
You will also need:
  • one 9-inch prebaked pie crust (I prefer shortcrust, but you can use graham cracker or whatever you prefer)


  1. To make the filling, combine the sugar, flour, cornflour and salt in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in the boiling water.
  2. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat, until thickened. Cover and cook over low eat for about 2 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
  3. Whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks to temper them then blend them back into the hot mixture, whisking constantly.
  4. Cook for a further two minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter lemon juice and lemon zest.
  5. Cool to lukewarm, stirring a few times. Pour into the unbaked pie crust.
  6. Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.
  7. Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar using an electric whisk, until the mixture forms stiff but moist peaks. Very gradually add the sugar, beating continuously, until very stiff and shiny.
  8. Spread onto the lukewarm pie, touching the crust all the way around. Swirl the meringue in peaks and points on top of the pie.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, until golden brown.
  10. Allow to cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. (I like to chill it for a couple hours prior to eating it.)
  11. Cuts best when ice cold. To cut, dip a sharp knive into hot water and cut into wedges, wetting the knife each time.
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Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

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  1. It's not just a name that we share - I swear we are twin sisters when it comes to flavours and to favourites. This is my absolute number one dessert choice. I can never go past it when I see it on a menu, though that said, I've eaten some shockingly awful ones in my time, so I only trust home made these days.

    I have not made one in a while, so I think it's time to rectify that. Just looking at your pictures was enough to tempt me and have me salivating.

    *adds lemons and free range eggs to shopping list*

    I've held a bowl of whipped meringue over my head - we used to do that when we made pavlovas just as a bit of a laugh when I was a teenager. You should try it - the meringue does not fall out.

    Lovely to see you posting again from Canada - and any recipe from you is always a joy to read, whether old or new. Your sister and the rest of the family are in for a treat when they let you escape from the motel :)

  2. I love it too. I have never failed in making one and love how neatly they slice.

  3. Marie, seeing your pie brought back lots of memories. Mom used to make her own pie crust and it was very good but she always used Sheriff Lemon Pudding and Pie Filling. There was always a box of it in the cupboard so she could make our favourite pie any time. I must see if it is still available. Or better yet, I'll use your recipe. Love and hugs, Elaine

  4. One of my favourites also Marie. Got my recipe out of Canadian Living Magazine in the late 70’s, almost the same as yours
    Have tried many of your recipes and they are always winners Thanks K


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