What I Loved

When I started cooking vintage recipes, I was really curious how the tastes and flavors of the 1800s would translate to today. I was super curious about how sweet a dessert from the 1800s would be. This lemon pie recipe is perfectly balanced and not overly sweet. There is a sharp tang from the lemon that is cut by a subtle sweetness. It was easy to make and tasted great!

Original Lemon Pie Recipe

Take four eggs, one tablespoonful of butter to one and a half tea-cup of powdered sugar, rub butter and sugar together until a cream, then add the yolks of the eggs to butter and sugar, and beat until light; beat the white of the egg until perfectly light, and add to the others. Take two lemons, roll them with your hands, on board until soft, then grate peel of lemons and put onto preparation, then squeeze the juice of lemons into preparation. All articles in this preparation should be well mixed together and put in pastry, and baked immediately in a hot oven. Only one layer of pastry at bottom of pie plate. 

Lemon Pie

Updated Method


4 eggs

1 Tbsp Butter

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar.

Zest of 2 lemons

Juice of 2 lemons

1 pie crust (use your favorite recipe. You can find mine here.)


In mixing bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar. Separate the yolks from egg whites. Reserve both the yolks and the whites. Add the egg yolk to butter-sugar mixture. Beat until light. Beat the whites of the eggs until perfectly light. Add to the others. Take two lemons. Roll them with hands on the board until soft. Zest both lemons and add into preparation. Squeeze juice of the lemons into preparation. Everything should be well mixed together and put in pastry. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. 

What I Learned

When I originally baked this lemon pie, I did it in an oven that was too hot. For a custard pie, 350-375 is a better temperature. I also used a large tart pan. In the future I’ll use a standard foil pie plate. Something smaller would help this custard develop a smoother texture. This recipe is definitely worth a shot!

Lemon Pie

Recipe Reference

What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, 1881

Vintage Lemon Pie Recipe From 1881: Tangy and Sweet

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