Three reasons you should make lemon whey pie:
2. It’s delightfully old-fashioned and just happens to come from the 1965 edition of the Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook which belonged to my grandmother.
3. It’s really, reeealllllly good. Really.
It has officially earned a spot in my recipe collection. Now I just need to update my popular 16 Ways to Use Whey post and change the number to 17!
Is it the most super ultra-nourishing pie you’ll ever find? Er, probably not. Yes, it’s made with real food, but it does include a generous amount of sugar, and the whey is cooked, not raw….
That being said, to me, dessert is, well, dessert, and I don’t feel bad about splurging every once and a while. Especially on a vintage pie like this one.
(Like usual, some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I may or may not get a small commission if you purchase something after clicking on the link. It doesn’t cost you any more, but any commission I receive helps to support the work I do here on the blog, so thank you!)
Lemon Whey Pie Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups whey (it must be fresh whey, any sort of powdered whey stuff will not work. Here’s my post that explains more about real whey.)
- 1 cup organic sugar (or if you must, regular white sugar will work in a pinch)
- 3 1/2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch
- 3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue topping below)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (I like the 100% real organic stuff like this kind)
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 6 Tablespoons organic sugar
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Bring 1 cup of whey to a boil in a medium saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, arrowroot powder, and the remaining 1/2 cup of cold whey until it forms a smooth paste.
Add the paste mixture into the hot whey, stirring constantly until it thickens.
In another small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks and combine with the butter, salt, and lemon juice.
Pour a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolk mixture and stir. This is called “tempering” and it ensures that you don’t end up with bits of scrambled eggs in your lovely lemon whey. (Trust me, that’s less than charming…)
Add the tempered mixture back into the saucepan, and cook the entire concoction for an additional two minutes, stirring constantly.
Pour the filling into the prebaked pie shell, and set aside while you prepare the meringue.
Use an electric mixer (I use my Kitchenaid) to beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla extract in a bowl until the entire mixture is foamy, but not yet starting to thicken.
Begin to add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Beat thoroughly after each addition. You are looking for the sugar to dissolve completely. (Otherwise, your meringue will “weep,” which produces the tiny droplets that you can see in my photos. Thankfully, weepy meringue still tastes just as yummy as non-weepy meringue.)
Once all of the sugar is added, continue to beat the mixture at medium-high speed until it forms stiff, sharp peaks when you lift the mixer from the bowl.
Once you reach that stage, it’s ready for your pie.
Place large spoonfuls of the meringue around the edges of the pie and use the back of your spoon to gently “seal” it to the crust. This will help keep it from shrinking. Once you have a ring of meringue around the outside, dump the remaining meringue in a mound in the center and smooth out evenly.
You can use the back of your spoon to make the little spikes you see in my photos.
Carefully place the pie in your preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Allow it to cool on the counter before serving.
- 1 pre-baked 9" pie pastry shell
- 1½ cups fresh whey (not powdered)
- 1 cup organic sugar (like this)
- 3½ Tablespoons arrowroot powder (like this) or organic cornstarch (like this)
- 3 egg yolks (save whites for meringue topping)
- 1½ Tablespoons butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (like this)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (like this)
- Meringue Topping:
- 3 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (like this)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt (like this)
- ½ teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 6 Tablespoons organic sugar (like this)
- Filling Instructions:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Bring 1 cup whey to boil in medium saucepan
- In separate bowl, whisk sugar, arrowroot powder, and remaining ½ cup cold whey until it forms a smooth paste
- Add paste mixture into the hot whey, stirring constantly until it thickens
- In another small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks and combine with butter, salt, and lemon juice
- Temper by pouring a small amount of the hot mixture into egg yolk mixture and stirring, to ensure you don't end up with bits of scrambled eggs
- Add tempered mixture back into saucepan, cook entire concoction an additional two minutes, stirring constantly
- Pour filling into prebaked pie shell
- Set aside and prepare meringue
- Prepare Meringue:
- Use electric mixer to beat egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla extract in a bowl until entire mixture is foamy, but not yet starting to thicken
- Begin to add sugar, one tablespoon at a time
- Beat thoroughly after each addition
- Dissolve sugar completely to prevent "weeping" droplets from forming on your meringue
- Once all sugar is added, continue to beat mixture at medium-high speed until it forms stiff, sharp peaks when you lift mixer from bowl
- Place large spoonfuls of meringue around the edges of pie and use back of spoon to gently "seal" it to crust to help keep it from shrinking
- Once you have a ring of meringue around the outside, dump remaining meringue in a mound in center and smooth out evenly
- Use back of spoon to make little spikes like you see in my photos
- Carefully place pie in preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees 12-15 minutes
- Allow to cool on counter before serving
- I haven’t tried this recipe with any sort of alternative sweeteners. I’m pretty sure that Stevia wouldn’t work very well, and I’m worried that Sucanat would give it too much of a molasses-taste. If you decide to experiment, come back and let me know how it worked!
- If I know we aren’t going to eat this pie right away, I stick it in the fridge.
- My book says one teaspoon of lemon juice can be substituted for the cream of tarter in the meringue. I haven’t tried that substitution yet, but it sounds like it would work.
- Don’t want to make meringue? Try baking the curd, and then serving it with a generous dollop of sweetened whipped cream instead.
- As written, the meringue on this pie isn’t very tall. If you are looking for a sky-high pile of meringue, increase the recipe to 5 egg whites and 10 Tablespoons of sugar.
According to the Complete Pie Cookbook, farm wives commonly used leftover whey in their pies to help stretch the more expensive lemon juice. And you’d never know the difference- it tastes exactly like “pure” lemon meringue pie to my taste buds. 🙂
It’s the ultimate, old-fashioned end to a summer BBQ on the homestead.
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