Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

lemon meringue pie

Lemon meringue pie pairs rich lemon custard with a topping of whipped egg whites. (Photo by Mick Telkamp)

Although an earlier version of this favorite has been attributed to Alexander Frehse of Switzerland, this classic pie with a lemon custard filling and a light meringue topping was established in America by a Philadelphia confectioner by the name of Elizabeth Coane Goodfellow. An ancestor of Jackie Onassis, Goodfellow was a force to be reckoned with. Not only was she a revered pastry chef, she operated a renowned cooking school and founded an association of boarding schools for young girls with an emphasis on cooking skills.

Versions of lemon custard were around, but Goodfellow’s reputation as baker and her influence on those who followed her lands her the credit, even though she never published a cookbook. This fantastic pie is a legacy in its own right, but Goodfellow’s greatest contribution to the culinary world can be felt with just about every published recipe. It was Goodfellow who first insisted that recipes be written with the ingredients listed separately before the directions. The format was revolutionary at the time, but the structure endures to this day.

And so we dedicate this recipe to Elizabeth Coane Goodfellow. Ingredients listed first.

Lemon Meringue Pie

  • 9 inch pie shell
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Blind bake (pre-bake) pie shell for 15 minutes in a 425 degree oven.

Whisk 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, water, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter together in a medium saucepan.

Bring to boil over medium-high heat.

Temper egg yolks by stirring a little of the hot filling into a bowl with the yolks.

Add egg yolks to saucepan and whisk until smooth and well combined.

Pour filling into baked pie shell.

Combine egg whites, ⅓ cup sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl.

Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Carefully spread over filling in shell, making sure meringue touches crust all the way around.

Bake 12 minutes at 375 degrees until peaks are brown.

Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to serve.

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