Retro Recipes: Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon meringue pies are a favourite for many. The crisp, sugary top, buttery base, and deliciously tart filling are the perfect flavour-combo, making for the ultimate dessert. People have been whipping these treats up since the late 1700’s, which certainly classifies the lemon meringue as a vintage recipe in our books!

Everyone should know how to make this classic dish. Few desserts can satisfy quite like the lemon meringue pie.

This recipe comes from Women’s Weekly!


For the base:

  • 1 ½ cups plain flour, 
  • 140g butter,
  • 1 egg yolk, 
  • 3 tsp icing sugar, and,
  • 2 tbls water.

For the filling:
  • ½ cup cornflour, 
  • 1 cup caster sugar, 
  • ½ cup lemon juice, 
  • 1 ¼ cup water, 
  • 2 tsp grated lemon rind, 
  • 3 egg yolks, and, 
  • 60g unsalted butter. 

For the meringue:
  • 3 egg whites, and, 
  • ½ cup caster sugar. 


Step One

Grease or line a tin in baking paper. This recipe is designed for a 24cm tin, leaving you with a deep layer of lemon curd.

Step Two

Sift the flour and icing sugar into a good-sized bowl. Cube the butter, softened to room temperature, and pop it into the bowl. Begin combining the butter with the dry ingredients by rubbing the butter, sugar, and flour together between your thumb and first two fingers. Once the mixture has the consistency of damp sand it is ready for the next step!

Step Three

Add the egg yolk and just enough water to the bowl to make everything stick together - be careful when adding the water, you don’t want the dough to be sticky. Mix and press the dough into a ball.

Lightly dust your countertop with flour and knead the dough until it has a smooth texture. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour.

Step Four

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface; make it large enough to fill the bottom and sides of your tin and to whatever thickness you like. Lay the dough into your tin, gently pressing it into the corners, and trim the overhang. Using a fork or skewer, prick the pastry in several places to prevent the base from puffing up.

Lay a sheet of baking paper over the base and weigh down with dried beans or rice. Pop the base in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and take away the baking paper and weights. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the base is lightly browned.

(Alternatively, you can buy a pre-made pie crust from the store!)

Step Five

It’s time to make the filling! Juice enough lemons to get ½ a cups worth of juice, taking care to filter out any seeds, and set aside. Grate the lemon rind and also set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the cornflour, sugar, juice, and water. Stir until combined and then turn on the heat. Keep stirring the mixture until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened - you’ll know it’s ready when the curd forms very stiff peaks.

Step Six

Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolks, lemon rind, and butter. Keep stirring until the butter is melted.

Cover and cool at room temperature.

Once the curd is ready, it’s time to make the meringue!

Step Seven

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. A spoonful at a time, add the sugar and beat into the mixture until dissolved. Once all of the sugar has been added, your mixture should have a glossy appearance and form stiff peaks.

Step Eight

Spread the lemon curd into the pasty base in a smooth layer. Gently spread the meringue over the top until the curd is covered.

For aesthetics, you can weave a ladle back and forth over the meringue to create beautiful, swirling patterns!

Pop the pie in the oven and bake until the meringue is lightly browned.