Ask Jen about meringue

lemon meringue pie

Hey, Jen!

I have a problem with meringue holding tight to the edges of the pie crust, especially on lemon pie after it has been refrigerated. Do you know a solution for that?


Thanks for asking, Marlys!

So I have to admit, this one threw me for a loop because just about everything shrinks a bit when it gets cold. But, I’m not that easily defeated!

I’ve done some research and found out five reasons why this may be happening. And I like to count things down, so I’ll start with number five.

  1. Make sure that your filling is super hot when you put it in the pie crust, and then spoon your meringue on top immediately! Like, we’re talking steaming hot. This will help the meringue adhere much better to both the filling and the crust. Oh, and always spoon the perimeter of the meringue on first, then fill in the middle.
  1. Fresh eggs only. Some say that the egg whites used in the meringue should be no more than a day old, AND that they should be at room temperature when making the meringue. I’m guessing that there is some kind of magic associated with it. Yes, definitely magic.
  1. Some people will brush their crust with melted butter to help create that golden brown delicious look after baking. This is a no-no when baking a meringue pie. The butter will prevent the meringue from holding on to the crust.
  1. Watch the amount of flour you use while pinching the edges of your crust. The more flour you use, the less likely the meringue will hold. Kind of like how a gymnast dusts his hands with powder before attempting a routine on the uneven bars. He doesn’t want his hands to stick at all — meringue isn’t a gymnast. Meringue needs to hold on for dear life. Don’t over-flour!!

And the number one solution for your meringue issues:

  1. Make sure there aren’t any leftovers. Eat the whole pie, and voila! No ‘refrigerated-overnight meringue separation’ catastrophes! Ta-Daa!!  *Insert my cheesy grin here*

Speaking of lemon meringue pie, make this one — it’s Ah-Mazing!!

Lemon Meringue Pie


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water


3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
2 drops yellow food color, if desired


3 egg whites (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
  2. Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.
  3. Heat oven to 475°F. With floured rolling pin, roll pastry into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired. Prick bottom and side of pastry thoroughly with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown; cool on cooling rack.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F. In small bowl, beat egg yolks with fork. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.
  5. Immediately stir at least half of hot mixture into egg yolks; stir back into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 2 minutes; remove from heat. Stir in butter, lemon peel, lemon juice and food color. Pour into pie crust.
  6. In medium bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff and glossy. Do not underbeat. Beat in vanilla. Spoon onto hot pie filling. Spread over filling, carefully sealing meringue to edge of crust to prevent shrinking or weeping.
  7. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until meringue is light brown. Cool away from draft 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate cooled pie until serving. Store in refrigerator.

Go make something awesome!

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