Mr. Food: Lincoln’s Lemon Custard Pie

What You’ll Need

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust (from a 15-ounce package)
  • 1/2 cups plus 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

What to Do

  1. Place pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate, pressing crust firmly into plate, then flute edges. Bake according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine 1-1/2 cups sugar, the cornstarch and salt; mix well. Whisk in lemon juice and water until combined. Whisk in egg yolks. Add boiling water and butter and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in lemon zest. Pour into pie crust.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie filling, sealing to edges of crust.
  5. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Let cool 6 hours, then slice and serve. Store leftovers in refrigerator.


For another Lincoln-inspired dessert, check out our recipe for Mary Todd Lincoln’s Presidential Cake.