Heavenly Pie

A pie generally remembered by West coast department store patrons.

This recipe is probably best remembered as Heavenly Lemon Pie, which was the name it traveled under when it was served in the tea rooms of Bullock’s department stores in California. Bullock’s, founded in 1907, was a full-service department store in its heyday, meaning you could buy a suit or a dress, get your shoes shined, get a haircut, and have lunch without going outside.

Not that the practice has vanished entirely; Nordstrom has an restaurant division, for example. I’ve lived about 50 feet from Nordstrom for the last decade, and they have the best coffee in the neighborhood.

Bullock’s was bought my Macy’s in the late 1980s and the chain was functionally dissolved in 1996 (with remaining stores re-branded as Macy’s). But like any restaurant or dish, the memories of food fade slowly. Those who remember Bullock’s tea room tend focus on three desserts: coconut cream pie, orange rolls with orange glaze, and this pie.

Although it did change names, a bit. An almost identical recipe appeared under this name in the July 13, 1941 edition of the Albuquerque Journal as part of a magazine insert feature from the Good Housekeeping Institute titled “Working Refrigerators Overtime.”

Heavenly Pie

1-1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
4 eggs, separated
3 Tbsp.lemon juice
1 Tbsp. lemon rind, finely grated
1 pt. heavy cream

Sift together 1 c. of the sugar and the cream of tartar. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry; then gradually add the sugar mixture, continuing to beat until thoroughly blended. Use to line bottom and sides of a 9″ or 10″ greased pie plate, being careful not to spread too close to the rim. Bake in slow oven of 275 deg. F. for 1 hour. Then cool. Beat the egg yolks slightly; then stir in remaining 1/2 c. sugar, the lemon juice and rind. Cook in top of double boiler until very thick–about 8 to 10 min. Remove and cool. Whip the cream. Combine half of it with the lemon-egg mixture, and use to fill shell. Cover with remaining whipped cream. Chill in refrigerator about 24 hours. Serves 6 to 8.


This doesn’t seem to have been the standard name for all that long, however. Here’s an unrelated heavenly pie from the December 20, 1932 edition of the Elyria (Ohio) Chronicle Telegram:

Heavenly Pie

2 cups cooked rice
3-4 cup sugar
1-2 lb. marshmallows
1 can shredded pineapple
1-2 pt. whipped cream (add about 1 hour before serving).
Very good.

Mrs. M. Thome.


By 1947, it was traveling under the name lemon angel pie in the syndicated “Household Memos” column by Lynn Chambers (this clipping from the April 3, 1947 edition of the Akron (Iowa) Register Tribune):

Here’s a heavenly pie that deserves its name. Its crust is not the regulation type made of flour and shortening, but rather a meringue. The filling is a delightful combination of lemon an deggs made light and fluffy with whipped cream and chilled thoroughly before serving. Use it for your next party.

Lemon Angel Pie

4 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon rind, finely grated
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pint cream for whipping

Sift together 1 cup of sugar and the cream of tartar. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add the sugar mixture, continuing to beat until thoroughly blended. Use the meringue to line the bottom and sides of a 9 or 10 inch well-greased pie plate, hollowing out the center and being careful not to spread the meringue too close to the sides. Bake in a slow (275 degree) oven for one hour. Cool. Beat egg yolks slightly, then stir remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and lemon juice, rind and salt.

Cook over boiling water until very thick, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from fire and cool. Whip cream and combine half of it with lemon-egg mixture. Fill meringue shell and cover with remaining whipped cream. Chill in refrigerator for 24 hours before serving.


From the box of F.J. from Sun City, Arizona. Some cards suggest a family history in Missouri and Kansas.

Heavenly Pie — Lola’s Recipe

Beat 4 egg yolks slightly in double boiler top.

Stir in:

  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Cook until thick–8 min. Cool.

Whip 1 cup cream and fold into custard and put in meringue shell. Refrigerate 12-24 hours. Garnish with whipped cream.

Meringue Crust

Beat 4 egg whites until stiff. Add 3/4 c. sugar with 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar sifted together.

When meringue makes very stiff glossy peaks, spread over bottom and up sides of well-greased 9″ pie plate. Bake 1 hour at 275 deg.
Turn off oven, open door and let cool gradually.

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