Lemons just seem to be refreshing and delightful, no matter what kind of creative things are made with them–lemonade, lemon vinaigrette, lemon drizzle cake or lemon sorbet ice cream. It’s so easy to use lemons in all sorts of delicious culinary explorations to make life just a bit more interesting.
But along those lines of naming things made with lemony goodness comes one of the favorites: National Lemon Meringue Pie Day! Lemon meringue pie is probably one of the most famous of lemon desserts. And it’s really no wonder, considering that it has a deliciously crispy golden crust, a tangy custard center and a fluffy meringue topping. Yum!
In fact, lemon meringue pie is one of the most popular pies in Great Britain as well as America. It sits alongside other delicious classics such as apple, pumpkin and pecan pies. So for people who have never tasted or made a lemon meringue pie, or those who just feel like an excuse to enjoy its sweet tanginess, celebrate Lemon Meringue Pie with the world today!
History of National Lemon Meringue Pie Day
A brief peek into culinary history reveals that lemon flavored custards, puddings and pies have been enjoyed since at least Medieval times. But the art of the actual meringue that goes on top of this delicious pie seems to have been perfected in the 17th century in France Even after that, the two were not actually combined together in this ideal union until lemon meringue pie was lovingly created sometime around the 19th-century.
Exactly who made this pie for the first time is debatable, but some people believe that the pie originated in Victorian England, where it was sometimes known as Lemon Chester Pudding. In fact, Lemon Chester Pudding is considered to be one of the desserts that introduced many people the world over to the beauty British desserts in general.
Other people tend to attribute the creation of the Lemon Meringue Pie to a Mrs. Elizabeth Goodfellow, the proprietress of a pastry shop in Philadelphia who also ran the first cooking school in America. Although the idea for a fluffy topping made from sweetened and flavored egg whites goes back a couple hundred years prior to this, the concept of adding meringue to the top of a lemon custard pie was a decidedly 19th century invention.
The first mention of Lemon Meringue Pie in a cookbook was in 1869 but often, during that time, these custard pies were also referred to as “lemon cream pie”.
It’s time to celebrate National Lemon Meringue Pie Day!
How to Celebrate National Lemon Meringue Pie Day
Celebrating this day can be simply a matter of eating some Lemon Meringue Pie! Try out these ideas for ways to celebrate:
Enjoy Some Lemon Meringue Pie
The best way to celebrate Lemon Meringue Pie Die is to google “lemon meringue pie” and spend hours drooling over pictures of it… Nope, just kidding. There is obviously no way to enjoy this day more than to have some lemon meringue pie.
Grab a Lemon Meringue Pie from a local bakery and take it to work to share some slices around the office. Or have a little family gathering where the honored guest is a Lemon Meringue Pie. Whether enjoyed alone or with others, a slice of this delicious treat is the perfect way to celebrate the day.
Learn Some Fun Facts About Lemon Meringue Pie
Impress friends, family members and coworkers with clever facts and trivia about this beloved pie and the fruit that makes it possible:
- The invention of lemon custard is usually attributed to the Quakers in the late 1700s (some years prior to the invention of the Lemon Meringue Pie).
- Lemons are citrus fruits that grow on trees in warmer climates, bearing fruit all year round. Each lemon tree can typically produce somewhere around 500 to 600 lemons every year!
- Lemons were likely cultivated as long ago as the first century, A.D., beginning in the Mediterranean area.
- The high vitamin C content of lemons can be preventative for a disease called scurvy, often prevalent in sailors. Even today the British navy makes sure to carry enough lemons on board their ships for each sailor to have one ounce of fresh lemon juice per day.
Make A Delicious Lemon Meringue Pie
But why settle for the sugary, store-bought version of this tasty treat? For those who like to cook or are up for a little challenge, try making it in the kitchen at home! The lemon custard is not particularly difficult to make, with the most important ingredient being grated lemon zest. And the trick to making a good meringue is using well-beaten egg whites.
So for those who are indeed up for a challenge, here is a simple yet delicious Lemon Meringue Pie recipe that will have your dinner guests talking for hours:
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 lemons, juiced and zested
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 egg yolks, beaten
- 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
- 4 egg whites
- 6 tablespoons white sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into the baked pastry shell. In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form, then stop immediately (overbeaten eggs are just as bad as underbeaten eggs). Spread the meringue over the pie, sealing the edges at the crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.
Of course, it will be necessary to let the pie cool before eating it, which will be difficult, but it will be worth the wait–and that is a promise!