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Upside-Down Lemon Meringue Pie

Our recipe tester's grandmother Josephine Rege has been making her version of lemon angel pie for more than 60 years. We updated her recipe, and the result became an instant Martha (and test-kitchen) favorite. This recipe is one of our Better Basics: 10 New Takes on Family Favorites, see the others.

  • prep: 50 mins
    total time: 12 hours
  • servings: 8
Photography: Ryan Liebe





  • Unsalted butter, softened, for pie plate
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar


  • 8 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 lemon, for serving


  1. Step 1

    Crust: Preheat oven to 300 degrees with rack in center. Lightly brush a 9-inch pie plate with butter. Whisk together egg whites and 1 tablespoon cold water with a mixer on high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Add cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar and beat until thick, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes.

  2. Step 2

    Transfer egg-white mixture to prepared pie plate; spread along bottom and up sides to form crust. (Don't spread past rim of pan.) Bake meringue until crisp and light golden on outside, about 40 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool in oven 1 hour, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

  3. Step 3

    Filling: Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in a medium saucepan (off heat) until thickened and pale yellow, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in sugar and lemon zest and juice. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture is very thick, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface of curd. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

  4. Step 4

    Whisk curd until smooth. Whip cream with a mixer on high speed until soft peaks form, about 30 seconds. Working in batches, gently fold whipped cream into curd. Fill meringue crust with lightened curd; smooth top. Refrigerate, loosely covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

  5. Step 5

    Topping: Whip cream and sugar with a mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 40 seconds. Spread over pie. Finely grate lemon zest over top. Slice with a chef's knife, wiping blade between cuts, and serve.

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Reviews (4)

  • 15 May, 2014

    This recipe is delicious but I, too think there's a problem w/ the directions: I baked at 300 for 40 min & the crust got very brown... Still edible but doesn't look like the picture.
    When the directions say to turn off the heat & leave it in the oven to cool for 1 hour, does that mean with the door closed? That's what I did.
    I might try to moved the oven rack down 1 more notch, but it browned on the bottom, too. ???

  • 28 Apr, 2014

    I made this cake yesterday and it's fantastic. It's a bit labor intensive in that it requires multiple steps. I simply cannot describe how delicious it is. The meringue crust is crunchy and chewy and incredible when dipped in the lemon filling. I did not find the lemon filling too sweet as the other reviewer did and found the balance between the crust, the filling and the cream topping to be just perfect. Highly highly recommend to lemon lovers.

  • 21 Apr, 2014

    I made this pie yesterday, and don't think the instructions are that accurate. First, the meringue crust is fantastic. As far as the filling goes, it is too sweet, too much cream. I would rather make a standard lemon curd and then fold in some whipped cream. I had to toss the filling on the first attempt because "cook over medium heat" caused the eggs to curdle and burn. Chill time of "at least one hour" is also inaccurate. After one hour the filling was pudding-like. Min. 8 hrs. required.

  • 20 Apr, 2014

    This is a new kind of wonderful! Lemon pie has always been a favorite but the merengue crust is magnificient. I am hoping to adapt yo a Paleo/Primal recipe