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Pie - Lemon Meringue or Cream Pie Lab

Main Core Tie

Food And Nutrition 2
Strand 4

Time Frame

1 class periods of 90 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups




A lab experience preparing a pie shell and either a lemon meringue pie or a cream pie as a unit.



Lab planning sheets
Pie recipes
Pie study sheets
Pie Unscramble

Ingredients needed for lab:

Refer to Lab planning sheets for the list of ingredients.

If the students prefer to use whipping cream, I plan on 1 pint for three units giving each group about 2/3 cup.

The egg whites, I put in a separate container if unused.


pastry cloths
pastry blender
pie plates, if not available in individual units

Background for Teachers

The teacher needs to know the techniques in preparing a pie shell, lemon or cream filling and meringue or whipping cream to top the pie.

Student Prior Knowledge

The student needs to know how to prepare a pie shell, either a lemon or cream filling, and assemble it together and top it with either a meringue or whipping cream.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The students will practice the techniques in preparing a pie shell using the basic ingredients, a lemon or cream filling and top it with a meringue or whipped cream.

Instructional Procedures

Hand out the lab planning sheets to the individual groups. Students will prepare either lemon meringue pie or a cream pie depending on what they planned the time before on their lab sheet.

Review the recipes again. The students will need to prepare their pie shell and get it in the oven as soon as possible so it can cool before adding the filling especially for the cream pies. The lemon pie doesn't really matter, but it will be hot and runny if not allowed to cool slightly.

The students will need to set their tables and eat their whole pies. They may want to share between the different units the different kinds.

Pie shell: Sift dry ingredients and cut in shortening with pastry blender. DO NOT OVER MIX IT, it should still be crumbly like coarse cornmeal. Stir in COLD water with fork until forms a ball. Roll out dough on a pastry cloth being very light with rolling pin. Roll it 1 - 2 inches larger than pie plate. Fold dough into fourths and put it in pie plate. Unfold. Cut edge and crimp. Prink with fork before baking. Bake in hot over.
If making the Lemon Meringue Pie: Separate eggs, set aside. Wash, grate, then juice lemon, and measure; set aside. Mix sugar, cornstarch thoroughly in sauce pan before adding water. Cook on stove and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Add half of the hot mixture to the egg yolks and then add back and continue to cook and boil for 1 additional minute. Blend in butter, lemon juice and rind. Pour in baked pie shell.
Prepare meringue. Measure sugar, set aside. In small mixing bowl, add vanilla, cream of tartar and egg whites. Beat until soft peaks form, then gradually add sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Cover and seal lemon filling with meringue. Bake. To cut pie, wet knife with water to glide through meringue and filling.
If making the cream pie: Separate eggs, Set aside. Mix cornstarch, sugar and salt thoroughly. Set aside. Scald milk in sauce pan over low heat. Fill bottom of double boiler so the water doesn't touch the bottom of the top pan. Add scalded milk and cornstarch mixture. Cook for 10 minutes stirring constantly until thick. Add half of the hot mixture to the egg yolks. Add back to the pan and continue cooking for 5 more minutes until thick. Add butter and vanilla. Cool top pan of double boiler in sink full of cold water. Pour in cooled pie shell. Top with meringue and bake or cover with sweetened whipped cream.
Banana: Slice 2 bananas in shell or fold into filling. Do not cut bananas until ready to use to prevent them from turning brown. If filling or pie shell is hot, bananas will turn brown.
Butterscotch: Substitute brown sugar for white sugar and increase butter to 3 tbs.
Chocolate: Increase sugar and add two - 1 ounce squares unsweetened chocolate. (I would recommend one or one and a half only! Too chocolaty) Add to milk and the milk will look chocolate chippy at first until it thickens and then it will blend together.
Coconut: Fold in coconut into filling or put in pie shell or on top of filling. You can toast coconut by putting it on top of meringue before putting in oven or brown it in a 350 degree oven on a cookie sheet. Put on top of whipped cream.
To make whipped cream: Share 1 pint between three units giving them each 2/3's cup. Use a small, narrow bowl and electric handmixer. Whip until soft peaks, add 1 tsp. vanilla and a couple tablespoons of sugar. Do not over whip cream as it will turn to butter.

Hand out the Pie Unscramble to be worked on as a filler if there is extra time during the lab. Allow the students enough time to prepare their pie, eat, evaluate and clean up before the end of class. The teacher can walk around the lab to help, assist and answer questions as needed.

Created: 07/24/2003
Updated: 02/05/2018