Lemon Meringue Pie

lemon meringue pie

The reason I don’t do a lot of desserts/baking is because I always imagine them as dour, precise exercises in tablespoon levelling and scale taring. That they may be, but a lemon meringue pie, at least, seems to work on shifting realities. Three basic elements and I don’t think I saw two recipes that were the same. Not just different amounts of ingredients but in procedures as well. So either there is only one true recipe or people are just making it up as they go along. I took comfort in the latter.

First thing, ignore any recipe which use cornflour. It’s just wrong. Don’t ask me why. No wait. I’ll tell you why. Because it’s lazy. So there. You’re using cornflour because you can’t do 10 minutes of stirring in a bowl over boiling water. Make enough and you can put it in jars and make a half-way decent Christmas present. Ignore key lime pie. It contains four ingredients – pie base, condensed milk, key limes and cream – and perpetuates an internet-stuffing variety of recipes from canned food dependents.

The two main I used were recipe were from Stephanie Jaworski at Joyofbaking, who has a great name for crime fiction, and Delia. Delia really just for the pastry instructions and then not much, so don’t bother. The ingredient amounts at Joy of Baking were pretty good though.

Half butter, half lard (’twas a saint in the city of angels that turned me to the lard – not the easiest thing to buy these days, the packaging just says ‘lard’, I think methylated spirits gets fancier labels)

210 gms all purpose flour; pinch of salt, 60gms unsalted butter and 60gms lard at room temperature; 50 gms white sugar; 1 egg yolk lightly beaten; 1tbs cold water

Sift flour and salt, mix in egg yolk with sugar, then work in some flour and start to rub in bits of butter and lard tio make crumbs and then work into a dough. Don’t overwork, finish off with a splash of cold water to a smooth ball and then put in the fridge wrapped in greaseproof paper for an hour.

Roll to a circle, fold into quarters (thank you Marg) and then unfold into a buttered pie thingy (I never realised I had one, pie thingy that is). Don’t stretch the dough. Blind bake (greaseproof paper weighed down with rice) in a 210C oven for 10 minutes then remove the greaseproof paper and rice and continue to bake until light brown.

Lemon and Passionfruit Curd
Juice and zest of two lemons; two egg yolks; one whole egg; 3/4 cup white suggar; 60gms unsalted butter; pulp of one passionfruit.

Place juice, eggs and sugar in a bowl. Place bowl over boiling water to make a double boiler and stir until thickened to the consistency of thick cream or hollandaise – about eight minutes. Whisk butter in in small pieces. Stir in the zest and passionfruit pulp – you can add as many seeds as you like, it does add crunch.

Important point! Can’t remember where I saw this but if the curd is hot when you put the meringue on, it won’t detach later.


3 egg whites; 1/2 a cup of sugar – double for an impressively high pie.

Whisk until stiff peaks form, but you knew this.

Place curd in pie and spread evenly.

Spoon meringue on top, covering the curd. Make pointy bits by dabbing the meringue with a spoon and lifting.

Cook in a 170C oven until the meringue has nice golden browny bits (10 minutes) remove and allow to cool.

That’s it. Fabulous! You’ll love yourself and so will your guests.

lemon meringue


  1. Anonymous’s avatar

    I use a recipe that’s at least four generations old in our family now. It involves a tin of condensed milk, lemon juice & rind to taste and egg yolks 2 or 3, it sets without any help once it’s mixed together and poured in the shell – it’s the most yummo lemon meringue pie filling I know of and yes it works with the skim condensed milk too. It’s totally wicked tho’.

  2. Santos’s avatar

    my you are a bossy baker. but that is a damn fine pie. me, curdling as we speak. la caja de manteca awaits.

  3. Anthony’s avatar

    Hey HS

    A tin? You mean no-one in your family has been willing to spend one hour stirring a slowly simmering saucepan full of milk and sugar?
    Wicked, indeed. May the lard have mercy on your souls. Ooh I feel faint.

    Hey Santos
    I am. I am. I know, something about baking that gets me all didactic and like.
    Anyway, you have a House of Lard? Doesn’t it melt on hot days?

  4. Santos’s avatar

    lardy. caja=box, casa=house. we’re not all fat and curd here.

  5. Anthony’s avatar

    Oops. I thought my accommodation in Sonora was a little cramped.

  6. Jeanne’s avatar

    Mmmmmmmm. Gotta get me some of that. Clearly cirtus & egg-white has been much on everyone’s minds lately – see my lemon meringue petit fours posted about a month ago. But your inner didactic baker would have burst a blood vessel at my corner-cutting! My excuse is that getting the meringue on the damn thigs was so fiddly, I owed myself a few breaks in the components…. ;-)

    PS – was hoping for a pic of the trowel being used as serving implement??

  7. Leader’s avatar

    Two things:
    1) Is your merangue soft and fluffy or crisp? Looks the former and I hope that is the case!
    2) Re Lard: I love the fact that the packaging looks like it’s from the 1920’s and that no-one buys it anymore. It’s a pretty good frying medium for meats I think.
    A friend of mine was once working in a convent (don’t ask) comprising about 3 or 4 very ancient nuns. He proudly showed me the kitchen which contained a massive fridge containing nothing other than about 50 packs of lard. So every time I think of lard, I think of nuns. Make of that what you will.

  8. Gracianne’s avatar

    Oh no, I have a packet of lard in the fridge and know I will think of this meringue pie (and nuns) every time I open the door now! This is really wicked, and I am no pastry person either.

  9. Anthony’s avatar

    Too late and none for those who cut corners. Tsk. Or pics of implements in action.

    1) Soft and fluffy like the wings of angels.
    2)That’s exactly it. I think the last time they tried to change it they got an angry letter from their customer.
    3 nuns, 50 packs of lard, and a Pack Mule. Where’s Steve Albini when you need him.

    Yeah leader’s fused nuns and lard together in my brain now. Bad man

  10. Ellie’s avatar

    Looks fantastic! I’m wondering about that comment re: key lime pie – can we get key limes/juice here in Australia? And where does one find lard? I’ve got recipes for both it and tinned goose fat (huh??) but can’t find either at my usual grocery joints.

  11. neil’s avatar

    If you want to strip down the technique a bit more, there’s no need for the double boiler, you can make curd on direct heat. Some weird Harold Mcgee type thing happens with the sugar and egg stopping any curdling. Of course the scream maybe curdling if I’m wrong….

  12. Anthony’s avatar

    No I don’t think we can, or at least I’ve never seen them. Apparently they have their own special taste. One lime I would like to see here is Yuzu.
    At all good nunneries, they should have lard in the supermarket hiding behind the butter. I got mine at IGA. Goose fat comes in jars and you should be able to get it at gourmet store or a good butcher.

    Good point but what makes you think I’d like to make it any less complicated. If I knew people lived near a supply of ore, I’d be telling to make their own double boiler.

  13. neil’s avatar

    Mate, you’ve got me, what’s the double boiler supply of ore thing? Is it some obscure W.A. mining thing that’s turning you all into millionairs?

  14. Anthony’s avatar

    Hey Neil
    It’s rivers of gold over here.
    Now I’m getting the impression that you don’t actually make your own cookware. Tsk. I built my replica Smeg oven from bits of scrap metal, a window from a 1987 Corolla and a digital watch.

  15. Brilynn’s avatar

    Looks great! And if you can wait long enough, lemon pie always tastes better the next day.

  16. Anthony’s avatar

    I should have made lasagne while I was at it.

    I did actually manage save some for the next day for the office.(I don’t know if it has to be brownies to get brownie points but I thought I’d try anyway – maybe I’ve misunderstood the concept)

  17. The Daily Magnet’s avatar

    I have to say I’m with HS on expediting the project with some sneaky ingredients, however, being lactose intolerant – the curd means that I can still have some too so long as I sub the butt-er for marj – yay.

  18. Gracianne’s avatar

    I couldn’t resist Anthony, I had to try it. And it was really good, especially the crust. First time I made pastry with lard, it turned out really tasty. Only problem is that my cat ate half of it – did you know cats liked lemon? Mine likes meringue a lot apparently. Anyway, I’ll just have to make another one.

  19. Anthony’s avatar

    Ahh lactose intolerance is a terrible thing. I guess margarine is kinda OK sorta.

    Thank you, it’s always nice when people try the recipes here. (that’s a very spoilt cat btw).

  20. Anonymous’s avatar

    Lemon Meringue Pie, one of my favs. Your looks divine. Oh I am having a craving right now. Yum.

  21. Anthony’s avatar

    Go scratch that itch

  22. Joanna’s avatar

    Delicious – i made it for our dinner guest tonight and it turned out beautifully, even though my oven has a tendency to the temperamental.

  23. Anonymous’s avatar

    i made it for mothers day :)
    it works better if you just thicken it over the raw heat instead of using the double boiler thing!
    also. . add sugar as you think because everyone has different sized cups:)thank you!

  24. amy’s avatar

    so nice to have a competant, straight talking cook! fed up of visiting recipes to find a list of cans and packages to open – that is NOT COOKING!!!!! Anyway, back to the pie – it looks totally divine. I used fine light brown sugar in my meringue and it is fantastic! Also substituted Lime for the passion fruit as I am not a fan. Thanks for the recipe

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