We Made This Sunday Pie Recipe from 1968 and It Took Us to Lemony Heaven

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Your special Sunday dinner deserves a Sunday pie for dessert!

Traditional Sunday dinners used to be a big to-do. The whole family would gather round the table for a special meal, followed by an extra-special dessert. In 1968, The Jell-O Pudding Ideabook recommended capping off summer Sunday dinners with this luscious, lemon-y pudding pie; over 50 years later, this Sunday pie recipe still looks irresistible.

I had to put it to the test to see if Sunday pie is still the best way to wrap up the weekend.

How to Make Sunday Pie (from 1968)

In this retro Jell-O recipe, instant lemon pudding mix and gelatin are prepared with fresh lemon juice and rich egg yolks. The egg whites are whipped into a light and fluffy foam and mixed with the lemon filling before being chilled; once cold, whipped topping is mixed in before the filling is poured into a parbaked pie shell and refrigerated until set.

Finally, the pie is crowned with a layer of whipped topping before serving.

Ingredients

Sunday Pie 1968 IngredientsAllison Robicelli for Taste of Home

  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) Jell-O Lemon Pudding & Pie Filling
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 carton (12 ounces) whipped topping
  • 1 baked 10-inch pie shell, cooled (or two baked 8-inch pie shells, cooled)

Editor’s Tip: You can use store-bought pie crust or make pie crust from scratch.

Tools You’ll Need

Directions

Step 1: Soften the gelatin

Sunday Pie Step 1 Allison Robicelli for Taste of Home

In a large saucepan, whisk together the lemon pudding mix, gelatin, sugar, lemon juice and 1/4 cup of water until it’s the texture of wet sand.

Step 2: Cook the pie filling

Whisk in the remaining water and egg yolks until smooth, then cook over medium heat while whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a full boil.

Step 3: Add fresh lemon

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon zest and butter, whisking well until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth.

Step 4: Add the egg whites

Sunday Pie Step 4 egg whitesAllison Robicelli for Taste of Home

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. With the mixer running at medium-low speed, gradually add the hot lemon mixture. Press a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pie filling and refrigerate until cold; about 90 minutes.

Step 5: Add whipped topping

Sunday Pie Step 5Allison Robicelli for Taste of Home

Once the filling is cool, mix in 1 cup of the whipped topping and pour into the parbaked pie shell. Chill for at least 4 hours to set.

Step 6: Frost and serve

Sunday Pie frosted and finished with one slice cut outAllison Robicelli for Taste of Home

Once the Sunday pie is set, cover with the remaining whipped topping and serve.

Here’s What I Thought

This Sunday pie was long gone before Monday morning, and I’d be perfectly happy to make it a Tuesday or Wednesday pie, too. That being said, there are a few ways I think this delicious pie could be improved upon.

The filling’s lemon flavor mellowed significantly after a few hours in the fridge; the next time I make this (and there will be a next time), I plan to triple the amount of lemon zest in the recipe from 1 teaspoon to a heaping tablespoon. Then, before serving, I’ll zest another whole lemon over the top for some extra flavor, and to give the Sunday pie a bright pop of color.

The lemon filling was smooth, silky and perfect for a pudding or layering in a trifle. But as a pie filling, it was a bit too wobbly and became soupy as the pie sat unrefrigerated. This is easily remedied by using two packages of Jell-O pudding mix, which also bumps up the lemon flavor quite nicely.

I loved the way this pie tasted in a buttery, flaky pie crust, but truth be told, there are plenty of summer days where I’m too lazy to make my own crust or don’t want to turn the oven on to blind-bake it. If I’m ever in the mood for Sunday pie on a hot day, a graham cracker pie crust would work perfectly in this recipe.

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Allison Robicelli
Allison Robicelli is a James Beard-nominated food and recipe writer, humorist, and the author of four (quite good) books. Her writing credits include the Washington Post, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, Eater, Food52, The Takeout, and other major publications. Before becoming a full-time writer, she spent over a decade as a working chef, and was the co-owner of the acclaimed Robicelli's Bakery in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to food and comedy, she also writes about history, parenting, and cannabis. She lives in Baltimore, MD with her husband, two teenage sons, and four patient cats.