National Lemon Cream Pie Day – November 29, 2019

Fri Nov 29

What is National Lemon Cream Pie Day?

We hope your sweet tooth is ready to celebrate National Lemon Cream Pie Day on November 29. (Today we commonly call this lemon meringue pie.) Although this time of year is more typically associated with pumpkin pie, we’ll take any excuse to celebrate any kind of pie—especially a pie that’s been around this long. 

History of National Lemon Cream Pie Day

Food historians believe lemon desserts have been around since the Middle Ages! Whipped cream, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer: it didn’t show up until the 16th century. It first appeared in recipes in Italy in the mid 1500s and then traveled to France and showed up in recipes there just after 1600. Somewhere between then and now, someone had the brilliant idea to marry them together in a way that’s basically sunshine baked into a pie dish. 
 
While lemon custards, puddings, and pies have been made since Medieval times, meringue was perfected in the 17th century. Lemon meringue pie, as it is known today, is a 19th-century product. The earliest recorded recipe was attributed to Alexander Frehse, a Swiss baker from Romandy. 
 
Travel writer Larissa Milne credits chef/entrepreneur Elizabeth Goodfellow for this pie. According to noted food historian William Woys Weaver, Goodfellow was “one of the most creative forces in American cookery during the early nineteenth century.” Her shop was unique. Unlike the many bakeries that supplied bread and daily baked goods, Goodfellow’s pastry shop provided elegant cakes, pies and sweets for Philadelphia’s high society parties.
 
While known for many treats, including jumbles (an early version of sugar cookies) and queen’s cakes, and individual spiced cakes flavored with brandy and madeira, her most lasting legacy is the advent of lemon meringue pie.
 
Food historian Becky Diamond refers to Goodfellow as “the mother of lemon meringue pie.” Lemon pudding was considered one of Goodfellow’s signature creations; she is credited with several varieties, whether served alone, or in a pastry crust as a “pie.” Lemons were a delicacy in the early 1800s, but readily available in a busy port such as Philadelphia.

National Lemon Cream Pie Day timeline

1992

Bob Hope’s recipe

The iconic 20th-century comedian spent decades entertaining U.S. troops during his USO tours. His recipe for lemon pie, featured in the USO Celebrity Cookbook, is delicious and easy to make. From start to finish, this pie takes about two hours and all the ingredients together cost about $10.

1851

Popularity grows

Following Elizabeth Goodfellow's death, lemon meringue pie enjoyed a few aliases, "iced lemon pie, lemon cream pie and lemon custard pie," as it took its place among classic American desserts, but the confection was essentially the same.

1840s

Presidential pie

Food writer Becky Diamond writes that future President Abraham Lincoln discovered the pie at an Illinois hotel while working as a lawyer. “He liked [the] lemon custard pie so much that he requested that the cook [Nancy Breedlove] write out the recipe for him, and he told her years later that it was the favorite White House dessert."

1825

Perfect combination

Philadelphia chef/entrepreneur Elizabeth Goodfellow comes up with her “signature creation” — lemon meringue pie.

National Lemon Cream Pie Day FAQs

What is the origin of lemon meringue pie?

Food historian Becky Diamond refers Philadelphia chef Elizabeth Goodfellow as “the mother of lemon meringue pie.” Lemon pudding was considered one of Goodfellow’s signature creations.
 

Where do you store lemon meringue pie?

Keep it in the refrigerator. Lemon meringue pie should always be chilled before serving. Make sure the pie is on a top shelf to prevent other items in the refrigerator from spilling or dripping on the pie. 
 

Why is my lemon meringue pie crust soggy?

Try placing the pie in the bottom half of the oven so that the pie crust is closer to the direct heat of the oven. Also use a glass plate to bake faster.
 

National Lemon Cream Pie Day Activities

  1. Go to a diner

    Cream pies of all kinds are a classic diner dessert. We happen to think this no-frills setting only enhances the enjoyment of a slice of pie. Find your local pie shop, grab a seat at the counter, and dig in.

  2. Or bake one yourself

    No matter whether you choose to go the above no-bake route or take on a more complicated recipe, lemon cream pies are basically fail-proof. They’re also a choose-your-own-adventure baking experience. You can go with a classic butter crust, or mix it up with a graham cracker crust. Want some extra tang to back up the lemon? Mix some sour cream into the filling. Feel like it needs a little extra elegance? Shave some white chocolate on top, or even try sprinkling it with coconut flakes.

  3. Make a cocktail to match

    If you feel like pairing an adult beverage with your pie (who wouldn’t?) try a Lemon Drop: pour vodka, fresh lemon juice, and sweetener (triple sec, simple syrup, or just plain sugar) into a cocktail shaker, give it a good shake, strain into a glass, and garnish with fresh lemon slices. It’s elegant, and deceptively easy.

Why We Love National Lemon Cream Pie Day

  1. It’s a classic

    Fine, there’s nothing as American as apple pie, but we’d put lemon cream high up on the list of classic and timeless desserts as well. And honestly, between the two of them, apple pie just sounds a bit boring, doesn’t it?

  2. We can pretend it’s healthy

    The main flavor profile is lemon, right? Well, lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, good for your body, and naturally antibacterial. They can also help you absorb iron, stimulate your liver, and might even have cancer-fighting properties. Sure, you could get these benefits by drinking lemon water, but pie is just more fun.

  3. It’s a fuss-free dessert

    High-end restaurants can fancy ‘em up, but lemon cream pies are about as simple as they come. If you’re craving one but feeling especially lazy, it’s as simple as a trip to the grocery store to pick up premade pie crust, fresh lemons, lemon pudding mix, and a can of whipped cream. Presto: no-bake, almost-no-effort lemon cream pie!

National Lemon Cream Pie Day dates
YearDateDay
2019November 29Friday
2020November 29Sunday
2021November 29Monday
2022November 29Tuesday
2023November 29Wednesday