Posted by: Erica Retrochef | July 8, 2013

Lemon Meringue Pie

I’ve been feeling drained and exhausted by the South Carolina summer heat. Combine that with the lack of a well-structured schedule in the summer, and it can take a surprising amount of effort to get through some days.

Feeling hopeless that you will get everything done you need to get done this week? Don’t. The week will march forth perfectly for you. Not enough? then maybe you need a little Bob Hope for hope this week.

So I needed those little words of wisdom from this week. There’s always hope, and sometimes it involves pie!


Bob Hope’s Lemon Meringue Pie

3 tbs. corn starch
1 cup plus 2 scant tbs. sugar
4 tbs. lemon juice
grated rind of one lemon
1 tbs. butter
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups boiling water
5 tbs. sugar for meringue

Separate the eggs: An egg white alone; three egg whites in a large bowl; all yolks together in one bowl. Beat egg yolks until thick. Combine with corn starch, sugar, lemon juice, lemon rind and butter in top of double boiler. Mix slowly. Add boiling water. Cook until thick, constantly stirring. Let mixture cool. Beat single egg white until stiff. After mixture cools, fold the beaten egg white into it. Pour into a baked 9″ pie shell. Beat remaining egg whites until almost stiff. Then gradually add 5 tbs. sugar, beating until meringue is very stiff. Swirl over filling. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes.


Alright, Mr. Hope, let’s see what we can turn this into.


There was very little trouble separating the eggs — no bits of shell and no leaky yolks.


We combined everything and started it cooking in the double boiler…


… for a looooong time. Thirty minutes later, however, it was just about as runny as when we started out. (If anything, it was runnier.)


We stopped for the evening and stuck it in the fridge, hoping that would somehow magically make it thicken. (Nope.)


The next day, Buzz decided to straight-up boil it. If gently heating wasn’t enough, maybe violently heating was the way to go. And bam, that gave us the delightfully gelatinous lemon pie filling we needed!


I’m not sure why we folded that egg white in, but we did.


The remaining egg whites were beaten and sweetened until they made very stiff peaks.


I used dried beans to hold the crust down while baking, which seems to have left some dents; but those are going to be covered with delicious lemony goo, so who cares?


Speaking of goo, here we go.


And then the lovely stiff meringue went all over the top, and it baked… for 30 minutes? Seemed long, but it came out quite pretty.


Daughter was excited about this, because we finally found a version that was dairy-free. She’s asked about lemon pie often, but I only had recipes with sweetened condensed milk; despite the time wasted on the ineffectual double boiler, it wasn’t too hard to whip this up. I can see why Bob Hope liked it so much!

(One final note: meringue pie isn’t a great leftover food, since it tends to collapse and weep. But if you’ve got enough guests, this will vanish relatively quickly — so who cares about leftovers quality?)

The recipe clipping comes from a family collection on


  1. 🙂 1) I doubt Bob Hope ever whipped up anything much in his kitchen! 2) How was it? There is a VAST difference between a well-turned out home made lemon meringue pie and the commercial type. like night and day. 3) Seems labor intensive to make in this awful summer heat!… It looks like it came out great, meringue can be disappointing.

    • 1) True, this is almost certainly from a Mrs. Hope (mother or spouse, not sure which); 2) Pretty darn tasty; 3) It was more work than I expected, but also delicious, so overall worth the effort for the eventual reward.

  2. […] wasn’t quite as nice a lemon pie as Bob Hope’s — the flavor was more like Lemon Magic Pie, and it was quite sweet. (The meringue in […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: