Lemon Meringue Pie

106 Meal and Grandpa and Grandma Wichterman's

A family meal at our grandparents’ – it may have been Thanksgiving, but Wendy seems to be the only person who is getting any food!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  A lot of people are making pies today.  Pie making can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of work.  I have a friend named Miss Ginny.  She is a wonderful person and she can also make the most wonderful lemon meringue pies.  I am impressed by her skills, but I have never attempted to replicate her creations . . . until I found this recipe of my grandmother’s.  I needed to make a pie for the Thanksgiving and Pie Night service at church.  I found this recipe and realized I had all of the ingredients.  I’ve always been a little intimidated by lemon meringue, but I decided I would step up and give it a try.

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Lemon Meringue Pie

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 8 inch baked pastry shell


  • 3 egg whites
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine sugar, water and butter;  heat until sugar dissolves.  Add cornstarch blended with cold water:  cook slowly until clear, about 8 minutes.  Add lemon juice and peel;  cook 2 minutes.  Slowly add egg yolks beaten with milk;  bring to boiling.  Cool. 

Meringue:  Beat egg whites stiff, but not dry:  add sugar gradually;  add lemon juice at the last.  Brown in moderate oven (350 degrees) 13 to 15 minutes.

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First I made an 8 inch pie crust.  (Well, actually, I first made a 9 inch pie crust, then realized this recipe needs and 8 inch, so I had to make another one.  At least it is a quick and easy recipe!)  I used the easy pat-in crust that Wendy used for her chocolate pudding pie.

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While that was cooling, I combined the sugar, water and butter and heated until the sugar dissolved.  Not too hard so far!

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I then mixed the cold water and cornstarch together.  I have a cup with a lid, so I put the cornstarch and water in the cup, put the lid on and shook them up.  A whisk would have worked as well.  I added the cornstarch, water mixture to the sugar, water and butter mixture and set the timer for 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes I thought it looked pretty clear – so far, so good.

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I then added the lemon juice.  I didn’t have any lemon peel on hand, so I used about a quarter teaspoon of lemon extract instead.  I cooked all of this for 2 minutes.  I was starting to think I could do this!

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Then, came the trickier part.  I separated the egg yolks from the whites and mixed the egg yolks with the milk.

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When I slowly added the egg yolks and milk to the mixture, I think I may have added a little too slowly (or stirred a little too slowly or something) because the mixture got a little lumpy.  I whisked wildly trying to get the lumps out, but some of the smaller ones remained.  Oh well.  I reminded myself I was a novice with lemon meringue pies and kept going.

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The lemon filling – please say you don’t see any lumps!

I brought the mixture to a boil and then set it aside to cool.  It did look a nice yellow color.  I tried not to notice the tiny lumps.

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Next I made the meringue.  Could I do this part?  I wasn’t sure, but I was going to give it my best shot.  I put the egg whites in the Kitchenaid and started whisking them.

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I wasn’t too sure what stiff, but not dry meant, but when I thought I was to that point, I added the sugar and then lastly the lemon juice.  The meringue looked beautiful.  “Okay, that part went well.”  I told myself.

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I put the lemon filling in the bottom of the 8 inch crust.


Then, I put the meringue on top.  I thought that in the end, it probably could have used a 9 inch crust (I should have just stuck with my original crust – oh well!), so I noted that for next time.

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I then baked it in the oven for 15 minutes and, guess what?  It looked like a lemon meringue pie when it came out!  How did I do that (Don’t think about the tiny lumps!  Don’t think about the tiny lumps!)?

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When I cut a piece I couldn’t see any lumps!  It was beautiful!  I impressed myself!

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It definitely has a subtle lemon flavor.  If you like it more lemony, you would want to add more lemon peel.  My dad thought it was great and I liked it too (my mom thought it needed more lemon!).

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So, even though I had a few moments where I thought all was lost, in the end I actually made a lemon meringue pie!  I think my grandmother would have been happy with my work (and I know Miss Ginny would enjoy hearing about it too – maybe I’ll have to call her and tell her about it sometime).

Happy Baking and Happy Thanksgiving!



Chocolate Pudding Pie Filling – A Bonus Recipe

November 2014 147

We will have snow for Thanksgiving again this year!  Last year was the same way.  We traveled up north to my oldest sister Rebekah’s house.  As usual, she had even more snow then we did as she lives near the shores of Lake Michigan.  Our whole family was having a giant sleepover.  Fun times were ahead!

The snow glittered off of the trees as we drove.  We’d packed all of our winter gear.  A massive snowball fight, including teams and forts, was in the plans for the afternoon.  Of course it ended up being boys against girls!  But I don’t think that the cousins (or my husband!) would have had it any other way!  The sun was out, and warmed us as we packed snowballs and created our team hideouts.  The boys were ruthless and nailed us with snowballs when they attacked.  They of course were rewarded by their devious acts as we girls screamed and ran…..mission accomplished!   We did however hit them with our snowballs as we darted away!  The boys declared a win that day, but we girls knew better than to ever admit defeat!

It was time to warm up and to make a truce, so we headed inside for some pie.  Chocolate Pudding Pie from scratch is my absolute favorite.  I had brought that to share.  We pulled out all of the pie varieties and started serving up everyone’s favorites.

This week I again made my favorite Chocolate Pudding Pie with a delicious and effortless Pat In Crust that I shared in our last post.

Chocolate Pudding Pie Filling

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 2 tbl corn starch
  • 2 tbl flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 2 tbl butter/margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Stir together sugar, cocoa, corn starch, flour and salt.  Blend in milk and eggs.  Cook over medium heat until it begins to boil, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir for one minute.  Remove from heat .  Stir in butter and vanilla.  Pour into baked pie crust.  Press plastic wrap directly onto filling surface.  Cool and refrigerate.  Place in freezer approximately 2 hours before serving to ensure beautiful slices.  Top with Cool Whip if desired.

Pie Pudding PowderI started by measuring the sugar, cocoa, corn starch, flour and salt right into my saucepan and whisking them together.

Pie Pudding MixtureThen I blended in the milk and eggs.  I stirred continually until it began to boil and then timed it for one minute.

Pie Pudding after last two ingredientsAfter it had boiled and thickened, I pulled it off the heat and whisked in the butter and vanilla.  The pudding turned glossy as the butter melted.

Pie Pudding ThickenedIt was thick and oh so chocolatey!  It was also ready to be poured into the pie shell!

Pudding pie pouringI poured the smooth pudding into the pie shell.  I had actually doubled it because I have a deep 9 inch pie plate and always like the filling to go right up to the edge of the crust.

Pudding Pie Ready to be chilledI covered my pie with plastic wrap, letting the plastic touch down and stick onto the pudding.  The plastic ensures that the pudding doesn’t form a “skin” layer on the top.  Then it went into the refrigerator to set.

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After it was completely chilled I took it out of the refrigerator and put it in the freezer for about two hours.  When I pulled it out, It was nice and firm and it sliced easily.  You can also put it into the freezer and let it harden completely, but you’d need to take it out a few hours before you planned to serve it to make sure it was thawed enough to slice.

Pudding Pie Piece2As always, I topped it with a generous amount of Cool Whip!

Pudding Pie Piece4The crust was perfect and crumbly.  The Chocolate Pudding Pie Filling was thick and rich! It’s so much better than pudding from a box.  You really can’t even compare the two.

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This pie is different than traditional apple or pumpkin that are usually at Thanksgiving dinner. There’s nothing wrong with tradition, but if you want to change things up a bit, try making a Chocolate Pudding Pie to share and enjoy at your Thanksgiving table this year!

Happy Cooking!


Pat In Pie Crust – A Bonus Recipe

It’s THAT time of year again.  Grocery shopping with a list a mile long, cleaning the house from top to bottom and scouring through recipes trying to pick out the perfect dish.  I love Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 80s

Our family enjoying Thanksgiving dinner together. — Please excuse us, everyone looked liked that in the 80s!

Growing up, it was always my favorite holiday.  We rarely got together with extended family, so it was always a quieter day at home as a family of six.  Our mom would get up early and work hard to get the turkey roasting.  We rotated each year, taking turns assisting her to ensure that we learned how to make a turkey dinner.  We loved “helping” her as she made the stuffing from scratch.  The best part was pulling out and eating croutons that had soaked up warm butter before she added anything else to the bowl!

Pies were always on the agenda, though I believe that my mom made them the day before.  I always remember her making apple and pumpkin pies, but I think when I was young, I was more interested in the Cool Whip that went on top!  As we got older, we made other kinds, our favorites of course.  She had no problem having us take over the pie baking responsibilities!

My mom has the most simple pie crust recipe, one that requires no rolling out!  She’s used it for years and taught us to make it.  I still use it.  It’s a great recipe because there is no shortening in it and it’s really fast to make….and did I mention that you don’t have to roll it out?!

Pat In Pie Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 2 tblsp. milk

Measure all ingredients into pie plate.  Combine with fork.  Press into pie plate with fingers.  Prick with fork many times.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Pie Crust IngredientsI started out by measuring all of the ingredients into my pie plate.  It’s so nice to not use other dishes or especially, THE ROLLING PIN!!  The mess stays contained!

Pie Crust doughNext, with a fork, I combined all of the ingredients until they came together as a dough.

Pie Crust PattingUsing my fingers, I pressed the dough down flat and up the edges to form the crust.  Once it was shaped the way I liked it, I crimped the sides along the top, though you wouldn’t have to do that.

Pie Crust ForkI pricked the bottom of the crust in several places with my fork.  This is done so that the crust won’t bubble up and look uneven when it’s baked.

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I popped it into my preheated oven and baked it for 10 minutes.  The edges turned golden brown.  It only took about 20 minutes total and I had a beautiful pie crust that looked like I’d spent hours on!

I went on to make a Chocolate Pudding Pie Filling from scratch to fill this pie shell.  (I’ll explain how I did that in our next post.)  If chocolate doesn’t suit your fancy though (which really, how couldn’t it?!) you can fill this crust with any filling.  If you want to make a fruit pie, don’t pre-bake the crust before you add the fruit filling.  Add a crumble topping crust to the top for a great match with this Pat In crust bottom.

So before you start panicking about the homemade pie you are supposed to be bringing to your Thanksgiving meal, but don’t know when you’ll ever get the time to make, take a deep breath and start patting out this quick easy crust.  It will look great and taste even better.  Plus, the best part is that they’ll think you spent HOURS making it!

Happy Baking!


Raspberry Pie – A Bonus Recipe

Raspeberry Pie

I have been making this recipe for berry pie for years.  Like the zucchini bread recipe, this one is my mom’s recipe, not my grandma’s.  But, since it is so delicious and this is fruit season, I thought I would share it with you as a bonus recipe.

 Raspberries in strainer

I have always made this recipe with strawberries and strawberry jello (which I highly recommend you try as well), but since I had an abundance of raspberries on hand, I decided to try it with raspberries and raspberry jello.  I used a graham cracker pie crust, but I will give you the crust recipe that goes with this pie because it is super simple and I use it in all different pie recipes.

Fresh Berry Pie


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Combine with a fork.  Press into the pie plate with your fingers and prick with the fork many times.  Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned at 425 degrees.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

Cook until thickened.  Remove from the heat and add 1/4 cup jello (flavor of the berries used), cooling slightly.  Add berries to cooled crust.  Pour filling over berries.  Chill.  Whipped topping can be used if desired.

Raspberry Pie Slice

This recipe can be made with raspberries and raspberry jello, strawberries and strawberry jello, or blueberries and peaches with peach jello.  I think the best combination I ever made with this recipe was strawberries, raspberries and blueberries with strawberry jello.  I made it for the 4th of July and it was a hit!  Just like orange ice, this simple no-bake pie is a classic summer dessert.  It is a delicious pie that looks like it took hours to make.

Happy Baking!


Butterscotch Pie

Since my husband found out he’s not allowed to eat chocolate, desserts have become a real challenge, or shall I say disappointment, at my house.  In my opinion, all desserts should involve chocolate in some way, to make them worthy of eating.  It’s not that desserts without it are bad, but chocolate always makes everything better!  When I find a recipe that calls for it, I have a battle in my mind.  “Should I make this delicious chocolate dessert that he can’t eat and has to watch the rest of us eat or should I be nice and make something else?”  Most of the time I make something else.  Just his luck, I was having one of my, “be nice and make something else” moments when I ran across Grandma Dora’s recipe for Butterscotch Pie.  While it wasn’t chocolate, it certainly sounded delicious!  I pulled it out of the recipe box and went to work.

Butterscotch Pie Recipe Butterscotch Pie (With a few tweaks.)

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons flour (I added another Tablespoon to make it thicker.)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg (I put in the whole egg so I didn’t waste any of it.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Add all ingredients into a small saucepan.  Turn on to medium heat and whisk constantly.  Bring to a boil.  Whisk one minute while boiling, until sauce is thick and creamy.  Pour into baked pie shell.  Cool in refrigerator overnight or until set.  Cover with Cool Whip and serve cold.

Butterscotch Pie IngredientsThis is a pudding type pie, so you only need a bottom crust…..total bonus!  I love it when I have a pie that doesn’t require a double crust!  I happened to have one of Pearl Curtis’ Pie Crusts all baked and ready to go so I quickly pulled out the ingredients for the filling, which are ones that everyone has on hand, and got started.

Butterscotch pie pouring milkIt really couldn’t have gotten much simpler.  I measured everything into the saucepan, put it on the stove top on medium heat and whisked constantly.

Butterscotch pie mixed in panAs the filling began to warm up, the butter melted and it looked like a beautiful, though thin, butterscotch sauce.  I continued to whisk and brought it to a boil.  Once boiling, I timed it for one minute.  The filling got thick and glossy.

Butterscotch Pie in Shell

After the filling had cooled for a minute, I poured it into the baked pie shell and popped it into the refrigerator to cool.  I left it overnight, though it’s not necessary.  It just needs enough hours to set.

Butterscotch Pie with Cool WhipIf you can’t have a dessert with chocolate, then you should at least have, my favorite, Cool Whip!  I thought it helped to fill in the rest of the crust nicely too.

Butterscotch Pie SliceWe had family stopping by the next day for a visit, so I made sure to get this out when they arrived.  I thought it would be a nice treat while they visited and besides, how many pies, cookies and cakes can one family eat?!  We managed to polish off the whole pie that afternoon.  My brother-in-law compared the flavor to Mrs. Sanderson’s butterscotch ice cream topping, but thicker…..and homeade!!  I thought it was a pretty nice compliment, especially for how easy it was to make.

I did receive a couple of complaints about the pie.  There were a few people who were upset that they weren’t there to try it.  There were also the complaints from the ones who only go to eat one piece!  Sounds like I will be making Butterscotch Pie again soon!

Happy Baking!




Pearl Curtis’ Pie Crust

Pies are beautiful.  They are a work of art.  Each one is different, unique, a creation.  My mom tells stories of learning how to bake with Grandma Dora, her mother-in-law.  She remembers a time when they decided to bake a pie together.  She volunteered for the easy part, cutting up the fruit for the inside.  She decided to let Grandma take charge of what she did best, the crust.  Grandma Dora tossed in a few ingredients, her hands flew and moments later, a beautiful crust just appeared.  My mom said it was incredible to watch.  Grandma was a true master of the art of pie making.

After hearing this story, I decided I had to try the pie crust recipe that I found when I was looking through Grandma’s recipe box. It came from her friend, Pearl Curtis.  I knew it had to be good because I found two copies of it.  One that she had written on a scrap piece of paper and the other that she had written out on a recipe card to save, though she had saved both. Pearl Curtis' Pie Crust1

Pearl Curtis’ Pie Crust

  • Sift together – 2 cups flour – salt
  • Take out :
  • 1/3 cup flour and salt mixture and mix with 1/4 cup water.
  • Cut into remaining flour, 2/3 cup shortening.
  • Combine 2 mixtures.
Pie Cutter

The old and the new. Grandma Dora’s pastry cutter and my Kitchenaid.

As I was getting out the ingredients and supplies to start putting the dough together, I got out my pastry cutter, which just happens to be Grandma Dora’s.  Then I remembered a tip from my sister Amy.  Always use the Kitchenaid to mix up your pie dough.  It’s so much easier!  I felt kind of guilty, making a pie crust in the Kitchenaid, with my Grandma’s pastry cutter sitting there on the counter, but if she were still alive, I’m sure she’d be making it that way too!





I started out by measuring the flour and salt into the Kitchenaid bowl.  I mixed it together and then pulled out 1/3 cup and put it into a small bowl.  I added 1/4 cup of water to the bowl and set it aside. Four and water

Then I measured out 2/3 cups of shortening and cut it into the flour mixture that was left in the Kitchenaid bowl. Pie Crust Bowl

After that was complete, I combined the mixtures into the Kitchenaid and turned it on.  I found that the 1/4 cup of water wasn’t enough.  The dough was still quite dry.  So, I slowly added more, a little at a time, until it was a good consistency.  I ended up adding quite a bit more water, probably 4-5 Tablespoons, till I was able to form it into a ball with my hands and it held together. Pie Crust Dough

Once it was in a ball, I divided it in half.  While the recipe doesn’t say it, it’s enough dough for two crusts.  One top and a bottom or two bottoms.  The pie that I was making didn’t require a top crust, so I wrapped one of the two balls of dough in saran wrap and put it in the fridge for a different pie on a different day.  Then I started the process of rolling out the dough that I had left out.

Rolled out Dough
I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so pie crusts are difficult for me. (Deep breath!)  I want them to look like a magazine cover or what you see in a bakery, uniform and perfect.  But I needed to remind myself that each homemade pie should look unique.  That’s the beauty of it and the difference in each one is what makes it special.

Dough in plate2

Once I was finished, I pricked the crust with a fork so it wouldn’t bubble up and popped it into the oven at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes, until I started to see some browning around the edges.  Because the pie recipe I was making had a filling that needed to be added to a baked crust, I had to bake it first.  Other recipes, for fruit pies with a top and bottom crust, wouldn’t be baked until they were all put together.

The recipe as I made it, was as follows:

Pearl Curtis’ Pie Crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 water – plus more as needed
  • 2/3 cup shortening

Combine flour and salt. Remove 1/3 cup of the flour/salt mixture and combine with water in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Cut shortening into the remaining flour/salt mixture in Kitchenaid. Combine two mixtures.  Add more cold water if necessary, till dough forms a ball in your hands, that stays together.  Divide dough in half. Roll dough out thin, big enough to lay over the top edge of pie dish with enough extra to pinch top edges.  Prick with fork.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until edges are just beginning to brown.  Cool and fill with pie filling of your choice.

Yields: 2 pie crusts

Ella's Lemon Pie

I finished the pie off with a lemon filling, one out of my Grandma’s recipe box called “Ella’s Lemon Pie.”  The crust was light, but strong enough that it didn’t crumble when you cut it and served it onto a plate.  In the words of my husband, the crust was, “delightful!”

Happy Baking!