José loves lemons. And when he saw a take on Lemon Meringue pie he was inspired. Ding! Eggs, butter, lemons and cream. How could it get any better? Well, as it turns out, the original recipe needed a little tweaking. Here’s how he fixed it.

It sounded perfect: replace an often-disappointing sometimes-soggy crust with crisp light meringue for a sublime difference. But the first two attempts resulted in a soft, disappointing, filling. Not quite runny – but very slumpy. We blamed it on the Texas heat, but the truth is the filling needed to be firmer. And short of taking hours to adapt Thomas Keller’s delicious lemon sabayon, which is a little too tart for this, José thought a little gelatin might do the trick. It turns out he is spot on. Try this recipe for a light take on boring lemon meringue pie.

On another note: this will be our last post from the original shithole kitchen. We move to a new house in a week or so and our kitchen is getting an upgrade. While still small, it’s a much nicer kitchen and it seems a little wrong to call it a shithole – but it’s still OUR kitchen – so the name sticks. We’re excited! Now go make pie!


Meringue Crust

  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (or so) room temperature butter

Lemon Curd

  • 8 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1½ Tablespoons lemon zest
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 package unflavored gelatin
  • 2 Tablespoons warm water

Whip Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream


  • 9” pie tin – we used disposable tins this time
  • kitchen scale
Upside Down Lemon Meringue Pie Ingredients

Upside Down Lemon Meringue Pie Ingredients (for 2 pies in this image)


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F
  2. Coat bottom and sides of pie plate with 1 tablespoon room temperature butter. Set aside.
  3. Lightly whip egg whites with 1 tablespoon water until foamy
  4. Add cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form.
  5. Add granulated sugar and whip until firm peaks form – usually about 4-5 minutes on a Kitchen-aid stand mixer. Take care not to overwhip or your meringue will lose its shine.
  6. Spread evenly on bottom and sides of prepared pie tin – but not on the rim. The meringue will expand as it bakes.
Unbaked Meringue Pie Shells

Unbaked Meringue Pie Shells

  1. Bake ~40 minutes until lightly golden in color.
  2. Turn off oven — leaving oven door closed — and cool for 1 hour.
  3. Remove from oven and set aside to finish cooling.

Baked Meringue Shells

Baked Meringue Shells

  1. Combine 1 packet unflavored gelatin with 2 Tablespoons warm water in small bow. Let sit to dissolve.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk egg yolks about 1-2 minutes until thick and pale yellow.
  3. Whisk in sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  4. Set saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes – curd will be until very thick.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Place gelatin/water in bowl of very warm water and stir to loosen – until it’s the consistency of syrup and free of lumps.
  7. Whisk warm gelatin mixture into curd. Continue whisking for about a minute to ensure gelatin is thoroughly distributed.
  8. Transfer curd to glass bowl, cover top with plastic wrap (pressing onto top to prevent a film) and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  9. After curd has cooled completely, remove from refrigerator and whisk until smooth and lump-free.
  10. Whip cream until soft peaks form – normally about 30-45 seconds.
  11. Fold 1/4 of cream into curd mixture and mix well to incorporate.
  12. Gently fold remaining cream into curd in two batches so you don’t deflate your whip cream.
  13. Fill cooled meringue crust with lemon curd, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight to set.
Filled Pie Shells

Filled Pie Shells

  1. When ready to serve, whip remaining 1 cup heavy cream in stand mixer starting at low speed and as mixture thickens increase the speed to high and whip until soft peaks form. Do not overwhip or cream will become lumpy (on its way to butter).
  2. Mound whip cream on top of lemon curd, using a knife or offset spatula to make pretty peaks.
  3. Grate lemon zest over top for garnish
  4. What are you waiting for? EAT already!
Upside Down Lemon Meringue Pies

Upside Down Lemon Meringue Pies