Lemon Pie Any Time

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We love lemon pie and it has a really interesting history. According to some historians, the first recipe for lemon pie with a pastry base and lemon custard filling was written down in 1806 by Elizabeth Goodwell, an American cook in Philadelphia. Mrs Goodwell ran a pastry shop, where she also organized cooking lessons. One of her signature desserts was a tart filled with a rich lemon custard. The story goes that, as she had to use so many egg yolks for the custard, one day she decided to use the egg whites to make a meringue topping for the lemon pie and thus was the lemon meringue pie born.

The pie gained great local success and was popularized across the USA, particularly by Mrs Goodwell’s former student Eliza Leslie who incorporated many of Mrs Goodwell’s recipes into her own printed cookbook. Other food historians, however, maintain that the lemon meringue pie was invented in Europe by the Swiss pastry chef Alexander Frehse.

Well no matter who invented it, it’s one of our favorites. And Ellen Easton shares her easy to make Lemon Pie recipe today.


Photos and Text ©Ellen Easton

Lemon Pie Any Time

Easy as pie as the saying goes so too is this recipe!


  • 10 Full sheets of Graham Crackers
  • Or 1-1/2 cups of Graham Cracker Crumbs
  •  (Any flavor Graham Cracker of your choice)
  • 1/3 Cup granulated Sugar, Brownulated Sugar or Brown sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons of unsweetened Butter, melted

Grind the Graham Crackers in a mixer or by placing into a tightly sealed zip lock bag and smashing with a rolling pin or heavy can into crumbs, add sugar and melted butter.  Mix together into a coarse, sand like texture. Using the back of a big spoon or measuring cup very firmly pack the mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9” pie plate.  The denser the packed mixture, the better your pie shell.

FOR A BAKED FILLING: PRE BAKE IN 350 DEGREE FAHRENHEIT OVEN FOR 7 to 8 MINUTES.  Remove from oven and set aside onto a cookie sheet. 


*Nabisco Vanilla Wafer Cookies or Ginger Snaps may be substituted for Graham Crackers.


  • 2 (14 OZ size) cans of Condensed full fat milk.  I use the Eagle brand.
  • 3/4-cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract.  I use Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla
  • Optional: a few drops of yellow food coloring


  • Using an electric mixer or hand whisk combine all ingredients together until blended. 
  • Place the pie shell on a cookie sheet.
  • Pour the mixture into the warm baked pie shell. 
  • Place in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven and bake for 18 to 21 minutes. 
  • The center of the pie should have a slight Jell-O type consistency. Remove with the cookie sheet from the oven. Place on a wire-rack and allow the pie to cool down.  Cover with cellophane without hitting the top of the pie filling. 
  • Chill in the refrigerator for two hours.  The pie will hold for three days. 

Yield: one 9” pie.

Garnish with fresh edible flowers, lemon zest, berries, candied ginger or whipped cream.

Edible flowers from: Chef-Garden.com

Lemon Pie Any Time

Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea~Tips, Terms and Traditions(RED WAGON PRESS), an afternoon tea authority, lifestyle and etiquette industry leader, keynote speaker and product spokesperson, is a hospitality, design, and retail consultant whose clients have included the Waldorf=Astoria, the Plaza and Bergdorf Goodman. Easton’s family traces their tea roots to the early 1800s, when ancestors first introduced tea plants from India and China to the Colony of Ceylon, thus building one of the largest and best cultivated teas estates on the island.

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2 Responses

  1. Another incredible column by my favorite food writer Ellen Easton. Her stories are so well written and illustrated. Once I read her pieces, I desperately want that item, in this case I am craving a lemon pie. Her recipes are perfect examples of how present the ingredients with the perfect level of instruction. Kudos on another amazing column!!!

  2. Avatar Mercedes Serralles says:

    Absolutely lovely and delicious!!! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟👏🌸💖🌸

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