Lemon and Cream Pie


I got my start making pies with the inspiration of Keri Russell, as Jenna, a pie waitress in the movie, Waitress, and with the help of the recipe book Pie Pie Pie: Easy Homemade Favorites, by John Phillip Carroll. My aunt bought me the recipe book for my birthday in 2007, and that’s when my pie making really took off.

A few weeks ago I made a Lemon Cream Pie that was a flop but looked beautiful. Literally, it was a flop. The innards flopped in when I cut into it. I’m not someone who likes to fail, especially when it comes to cooking. Specifically when it comes to pies. So this weekend I brushed the dust off my faithful pie recipe book, flipped the pages and found this recipe. After all, I still had a bunch of lemons to use.


  • Crumb Pie Crust
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 c. butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T. grated lemon zest
  • lemon yellow food coloring, optional
  • whipped cream


  1. Form and bake the pie crust according to directions. Cool completely before filling.
  2. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour in the milk and whisk until smooth. Cook over moderate heat, whisking almost constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. (I’ve found that just above medium or medium-high heat works. Not quite sure what moderate heat is supposed to be?)
  3. Remove from the heat and add egg yolks, whisking until blended. Bring the mixture back to a boil then reduce the heat and cook for 2 more minutes, whisking constantly.
  4. Remove from the heat and add butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and food coloring (if using), stirring or whisking until smooth. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  5. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Cover with Saran wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours, until the filling is chilled and firm. I like to chill overnight.

I am still slightly scarred from the turnout of my last efforts at Lemon Cream Pie. So scarred that when I added the lemon juice (before adding the butter and lemon zest), I threw the pot back onto the stove and let it boil for about two minutes longer. I refused to have another flop. This pie was going to hold firm when I cut into it.

Inspired by some of the colorful pies Jenna’s character makes in Waitress, I decided to kick up the color of this pie by adding some lemon yellow food coloring. OK. So it looks a bit unnatural. But unnatural looking doesn’t ever stop me from putting food into my mouth.

Redemption! This pie was even better than the last lemon cream pie – and not just because it didn’t fall in when I cut into it. I think the crumb pie crust made this pie even more indulgent than the normal flakey pie crust would. I plan on bringing it into work tomorrow and wowing my coworkers.

Recipe rating: 



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