I wouldn't go so far as to claim that Lemon Meringue Pie is a South African invention. However, it is a South African favorite.

Any restaurant offering morning and afternoon tea/coffee and cake that doesn't have a Lemon Meringue Pie on the menu is looking to lose customers.

Also, through the ages, South African cooks have added their own improvements to the basic Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe.

In this sense the Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe given here may, at a stretch, be considered a truly traditional and authentic South African recipe.

For the pie you obviously need a pie shell, for this I use a rich, sweet shortcrust pastry.

Rich, because the Lemon Meringue itself is rich and sweet to compliment the sweet meringue and contrast with the tart sweetness of the lemon pie filling.

Shortcrust Pastry Pie Shell

500g cake flour (1 lb 1 oz)
350g shortening (12 oz) (butter, a combination of 50% butter and 50% lard, or margarine)
125ml iced water ( cup)
40 g sugar (granulated) (1 oz)
25 ml lemon juice. Preferably freshly squeezed. (2 tbsp)
5ml Salt (1 tsp)
1 Egg

Making the Pie Shell

Double sift the dry ingredients (flour, sugar & salt) together into a mixing bowl.

Cut the shortening into the dry mixture and rub until the mixture takes on the appearance of coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle the water and lemon juice onto the crumb mixture and press together lightly to form a solid mass.

IMPORTANT: Do not knead the pastry and avoid over working.

Wrap in waxed paper and chill until required.

Note, this Shortcrust Pastry recipe will make 4 pie shells. Presumably, you won't be making 4 Lemon Meringue Pies at the same time, so you can either halve the quantities or wrap the pastry in waxed paper and chill until needed.

Will last for a week in the refrigerator. DO NOT FREEZE.

As an added taste I often add 10 ml (2 teaspoons) of lemon zest (the finely grated outside either yellow or green of a lemon) to the dry ingredients when I know that I am going to be using the pastry for Lemon Meringue Pies.

When ready for use, line pie tins with the pastry and bake at 190oC (375oF) for 15 minutes..

Lemon Meringue Pie


250g (sweetened condensed milk (9 oz)
65ml castor sugar (6 tbsp)
3 medium sized lemons
3 eggs.

Making the Pie

Juice the lemons and using a rasp grate the outside of the lemons to obtain the zest. Be careful to only grate the outer colored skin of the lemons and not the white pith, otherwise otherwise your lemon filling will become bitter.

Separate the eggs.

In a mixing bowl beat together the egg yolks, lemon zest and lemon juice until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.

Beat in the condensed milk and pour the resulting lemon mixture into a baked pastry shell.

Using a clean bowl beat together the egg whites and castor sugar until the mixture forms stiff peaks, be careful not to beat so much that the meringue mixture becomes dry.

Spoon the meringue mixture over the lemon pie filling. Do not smooth the top.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180oC (350oF) for 25 minutes, the meringue tops should be nicely browned

Remove and allow to cool.

Serve the Lemon Meringue Pie cold; some people prefer to chill Lemon Meringues in a refrigerator before serving.

If you've only made one pie it won't last long

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