Regular Foods,  Stuff to eat

Mile High Lemonade Pie, 1959

One of the many fun things about being an analog collage artist is that I’m constantly flipping through old magazines and finding recipes that jump off the page. Sometimes they are jumping into the trash because they look disgusto-barfo, but sometimes, they jump into my obsessive brain and I find that I need to make them immediately.

This time, I’m flipping through an issue of Family Circle from 1959 and being almost all the way through, I flip a page an find the recipe for this beauty, A Mile-High Lemonade Pie with a buttery coconut crust. I mean, what’s not to love?

Lucky me, the only ingredient I didn’t have was the frozen lemonade so the next day, after my sweet husband picked it up from Kroger, I got to work making this recipe.

I should preface by saying that this was my first experience with old school unflavored powdered gelatin. It tastes, to me, like well, animals. It smells and tastes, by itself, terrible. It does mix right in with the lemonade, but just something to know if you’re new to gelatin too.

This recipe was also written in 1959 when the freezer/fridge situation was a little bit tricky and perhaps less stable. so when they say “chill” I think it really means to put it in today’s fridge. I put the gelatin mix into the freezer and it was solid in about 8 minutes and I’m pretty sure that’s what made it jello instead of a luscious, thick mixture. I hope anyway.

Most recipes on this blog will be designed for 2 unless it says otherwise. If it’s an older recipe or an update of someone else’s, it will also be scaled down to 2 servings. This was done in 2 small mini-pans so that it could be enjoyed individually and they were still big enough for 2, so this is 4 small servings or 2 large.

Overall I was pretty happy with the pie. It tasted good, but, because I had made a stiffer gelatin mixture, it didn’t really fold into the PET fluff very well. Instead of a homogenous mixture of the two, it was a silky meringue with soft chonky bits inside. It wasn’t enough of a textural distraction to not eat the pie, but it was…different. I was thinking of a lot of ways to make this similar, but better, so stay tuned for the Mile High Lemonade Pie 2023 version.

Mile-High Lemonade Pie 1959

Course: SweetsCuisine: post warDifficulty: medium


Prep time


Chill time



This recipe is pretty yummy in the taste department, but it does require some finesse for those of us who don’t use gelatin, well, ever. Make sure the PET, water, and bowl used to mix are all cold.

What you need to make this

  • For the Crust
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter

  • 2oz coconut

  • Filling
  • 1 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin

  • 1/8 cup cold water

  • 1/4 cup boiling water

  • 3oz frozen lemonade concentrate

  • 1/2 cup PET milk, put in the fridge until VERY cold

  • 1/3 cup sugar

How you make it

  • Crust
  • Prepare a small cake/pie pan or 2 mini-pans with parchment or spray
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat
  • Add the coconut and stir until the coconut is lightly browned (if it’s too brown, it will taste burnt)
  • Press the mixture into a small pie crust or 2 mini-springform pans (think cheesecake crust)
  • Let the pan(s) stand at room temperature until cool
  • Filling
  • In large bowl, soften the gelatin in 1/8 cup cold water
  • Add 1/4 cup boiling water and stir until the gelatin is dissolved
  • Add 1/3 cup sugar and the 3oz of frozen lemonade concentrate
  • Stir well until the lemonade thaws into the mixture and put in the fridge until VERY thick, but NOT set
  • Put very cold PET milk into a very cold mixing bowl (if you’ve got a stand mixer or hand mixer, now is the time to get it out as you’ll basically be making a meringue!) Whip that milk until it’s nice and stiff and doesn’t fall off the back of your spatula.
  • Fold the PET milk fluff you’ve just made into the cold, lemonade gelatin mixture. It’s okay if it’s not super smooth and homogenous. Until you get the hang of gelatin, it happens.
  • Pour or dollop the fluff/lemonade jello mix into the coconut crust. Chill in the freezer for about 2-3 hours.

Things to know

  • Don’t chill the gelatin lemonade mix too long or it will just become jello.
  • Whip the milk. A lot. It needs to be pretty stiff to work into the mix.
  • Don’t cook the coconut too long, especially if you’re using sweetened coconut. The recipe calls for regular, so be aware.