What's wrong with this recipe - Lemon Icebox pie

loves2cook4sixJuly 4, 2012

Just made this for a BBQ tonight and the filling only filled about 1/3 to 1/2 the pie and then the meringue barely reached to the top of the crust. I've never made a lemon meringue or icebox pie before so no idea if this is normal. I thought these pies were supposed to be mile high:

Lemon Icebox Pie

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If you have been receiving my newsletter for any time, you know that I am a fool for desserts. Although you won't often see me turn away a slice of chocolate cake, I have a particular weakness for desserts made from fresh fruits of the season.

While lemons are available to us year around, their bright color and refreshing taste make them ideal for summer meals.

I have been making this recipe for lemon icebox pie for many years and I never tire of it. It is similar to Key lime pie with just a little more punch.


4 tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. lemon zest

2 egg whites

1 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 1/4 cup graham cracker

1/3 cup butter, unsalted, melted


Begin by making the graham cracker crust. For me a lemon pie just isn't the same with any other type of crust. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar, and then add the melted butter. Stir this together until you have a crumbly mixture. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and bake at 350 dgrees F for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Pour sweetened condensed milk into a medium sized bowl and gradually add lemon juice and grated rind. Stir this until well blended and then pour into cool graham cracker crust.

Now you are ready to make the meringue. In large bowl, add the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Beat until all the egg white turns into foam. Add the four tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff enough to hold a peak, but not dry. Pour the mixture on top of the pie filling and bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes.

After removing the pie from the oven, chill it in the refrigerator until the filling sets. This usually takes a little over an hour.

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beachlily z9a

I'm thinking that your pie pan is a deep dish pan and that's why the recipe didn't fill it completely. When I make key lime pie (about the same proportions) I use a pyrex pie pan with low sides--that makes the meringue tower above the edge of the pan. Oh, a tasty trick from the FL Keys is to add 1/2 to 1 tsp. of cinnamon when making the crust. Yummmmm.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 5:04PM
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I agree with beachlily - the pan's too large. It looks like an Emeril deep dish 10" pan like what I'd use for a fruit pie. I keep several of those old Pyrex pans around for lemon, lime, custard, pecan, etc. pies.

Next time, if you want the larger pie, double the filling. It may even take 2-1/2 times the original recipe.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 5:22PM
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Yep, your pan is either too deep or too large (width) or both. I know that recipe and it is not a mile-high kind of pie. Very rich, very lemon-y, and delicious! but not as tall as a lemon meringue.

Did you bake your meringue yet? Mine usually browns slightly.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 5:46PM
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Teresa, the meringue looks baked to me. It is a nice light golden brown.

Beautiful pie.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 6:27PM
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beachlily z9a

I have to admit that my red Emile Henry deep dish pan is one of my favorites! Makes a crisp crust for the deep dish pie. Blueberries are getting pretty cheap, guess it's time to pull that pan out and make a blueberry pie.

Beautiful pie, as Ann says. It will taste good even though it doesn't meet your specs.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 7:26PM
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The recipe you posted is what I call a "flat pie"....it makes a good a 9 inch pie, cuts easily without tipping over and looking messy...
But that's not a lot of "stuff" for even a regular pie tin let alone a deep one.
I always make a 3 egg meringue....even if I have to add an extra yolk to the next batch of eggs or pancakes or cookies.

I would make double that recipe for the pie plate you show in the picture. I nearly always add half again the ingredients to any pie I make.

The filling you have is only 2 cups of stuff....max!...not a lot in the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 8:29PM
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I was going to say more or less what Lindac said- with only two eggs it was never going to be mile high anyway. My lemon meringue pie uses three and often I add an extra :-)

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 11:02PM
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OK, it was DELICIOUS and everyone wanted the recipe. Easy to cut and plated out well and you know what, even thought it was kind of skimpy and I will double the filling AND meringue next time I make it, it turned out to be the perfect serving size for all the ladies as it was so rich.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 11:07PM
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All is well that ends well. :)


    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 11:14PM
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I think this recipe was originally put in a purchased graham cracker crust, which come in shallow foil pie tins.

Glad you liked the recipe....I did tell you it was delicious!


    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 10:21AM
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I want to make that pie, now. I've got a bunch of lemons in my fridge right now. It looks like just the thing to make with those lemons. I'm of the philosophy that if it tastes good, I don't care what it looks like. I think your pie looks delicious!


    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 9:32AM
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FYI - this is not a lemon meringue pie in the traditional sense. This is an old recipe that is more similar to the Key Lime pie made with sweetened condensed milk, but this is made with SCM and lemon juice, not lime juice. It is very rich - because of the SCM (sweetened condensed milk). I would not recommend that you make double the filling for one pie. I would recommend that you make two flatter pies in two 9-inch graham cracker crumb crusts instead.

I love this recipe because it is delicously rich, lemony, easy, and can be made ahead. I also love this pie because it is the closest thing I can get to my beloved Lemon Ice Box ice cream of years gone by.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 10:51AM
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beachlily z9a

Ditto what Teresa says. If you double the recipe, one bite will have you gasping for breath from the tang and from the richness. These pies (key lime especially) are meant for small bites. Two pies in shallow pie pans will be the best way to do it. Even restaurants in the FL Keys serve them in shallow pans. The only key lime pie I've had in a tall pan was a key lime chiffon pie. Beautiful and not nearly as rich as the traditional pie.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 7:36PM
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