Ulysses Grant's Lemon Pie

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Recipe for President Ullysses S. Grant's Lemon Pie. Mrs. Grant admitted that she couldn’t cook, so there is some question as to whether this is her recipe.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • pastry for a two-crust 9-inch pie


  1. Makes 1 Pie
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  3. Beat eggs lightly. Add all remaining ingredients except piecrust. Mix well. Line bottom of pie pan with half of the pastry dough. Pour filling into pan. Put top crust on pie and crimp edges together. Prick top crust in a decorative pattern. Bake 15 minutes at 450° F, then reduce heat to 300° F and Bake an additional 20-25 minutes.
  4. Additional Recipe Notes: Mrs. Grant admitted that she couldn’t cook, so there is some question as to whether this is her recipe. In her memoirs she confesses, “Just before the Centennial Exposition, some ladies wanted to get up a cookbook and wrote to me for an original recipe. I did not know what to do. The cake I had obtained from a cookbook and the jelly I had considerable help with, and I was forced to ask the advice of a friend, who advised me to tell these ladies that I did not have an original recipe, did not know much about these matters and had always depended on my cook.”
  5. She may have not been able to cook, but Mrs. Grant had a flair for entertaining. Elegant dinners were prepared with the help of the White House chef. The day of Grant’s second inauguration was one of the coldest in inaugural history. The parade band had to stop playing because the condensation from their breath caused the instrument valves to freeze. At the ball that night, 6,000 guests were expected but only 3,000 attended. The building was so cold that guests wore their coats while dancing. Canaries had been brought in to add their voices to the dance music, but most of them froze in their cages.
  6. A lavish feast had been laid out — roasted turkey, chicken, beef, ham, mutton, quail, partridges, lobster, salmon, scallops, oysters and stuffed boars’ heads — but unfortunately, most of the food froze before it could be eaten. The guests drank hot cocoa and coffee instead of champagne, and many left early.