The Fresh Loaf

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Cracked filling and sugary syrup in my Lemon Meringue Pie

CoveredInFlour's picture

Cracked filling and sugary syrup in my Lemon Meringue Pie


I made a homemade pie for Easter, crust and all. When I cut into it, the meringue was cooked perfectly and adhered to the filling, but the filling itself was cracked and there was a sweet liquid on the bottom of the pie plate.

the recipe and my steps are here:

I spread the meringue on piping hot filling and spread all over the top sealing the filling inside the crust. I let the pie come to room temerpature for 3 hours then refrigerated overnight.

It's making me slightly nuts that I can't figure out what happened. The meringue seemed perfect, it was just the filling that was at fault!

flournwater's picture

" I let the pie come to room temerpature for 3 hours then refrigerated overnight."

I suspect you mean you let the pie rest at room temperature for 3 hours.  That length of time may not, depending on conditions, have allowed the pie to completely cool enough to handle the sudden drop to refrigerated temps.  If you meant that you allowed the pie to come to room temperature and then allowed it to remain at room temperature for another 3 hours, I have no clue.

CoveredInFlour's picture


No, you're right. I rested the pie at room temperature for 3 hours, I don't know if the filling got to room temperature or not.

The problem I had was finding instructions for lemon meringue pie that didn't conflict. Some recipes said put the pie in the fridge after baking, some said not to refrigerate at all. I assumed that if I let it get to room temperature, or thought it had, and then put it in the fridge then I would be fine. 

So you think that maybe it could be the rapid cooling of the filling by putting it in the refrigerator before the inside filling was cool?

flournwater's picture

Yes, that's the only possibility that makes sense to me.  I always have trouble with meringue pies that I put into the refrigerator, regardless of whether they're at room temp. or not.  So I just don't put them in the fridge at all.

I've been told that overbeating the egg whites for the meringue can produce higher levels of moisture but I can't personally validate that idea.

The cracked filling may be due to overcooking the lemon custard.

CoveredInFlour's picture

I removed the filling from the heat as soon as it thickened, but that doesn't mean I didn't overcook it.

I don't really care for Lemon Meringue pie, so I won't be making it frequently. It just really bugs me that it didn't work right. *grumble*

I always thought pies made with egg *had* to be put in the fridge. But I guess when I see the pies at the store they have been kept in the fridge until they're bought, so maybe not.


THANK YOU!!! for your help!

pmccool's picture

so we usually opt for a lemon ice-box pie.  The filling is essentially the same as that of a lemon meringue pie, with sour cream (about a cup?) being stirred in immediately after taking the filling off the heat.  Then the filling is poured into the crust and the pie is put in the refrigerator.  Creamy lemony goodness with no cracking of the filling!  Works great in a blind-baked pie shell or a graham cracker crust.  The meringue is entirely optional; we typically don't mess with it.

We located a recipe on-line after having had the pie in a restaurant.


Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

Rose's Pie and Pastry Bible has a Lemon Pucker Pie that's fabulous.  It's a lemon meringue pie with the meringue stirred into the filling and then baked.  No worries about separating, and I never liked meringue much anyway. Light and luscious.  Excellent!

Mary Clare in MO