by Lenora Dannelke

From Wert’s Cafe

If eggs have aspirations, the highest and best use they might hope to attain is the mile-high—an exaggeration, sorry!—Lemon Meringue Pie at Wert’s Café, a homey dining destination since 1968. General Manager Kathy Drake (née Wert) attributes the recipe for this American classic to her maternal great-grandmother. Standing firmly by tradition, little more than lemons and sugar join yolks and whites in the creation of a vibrantly tart-and-sweet lemon filling piled with a lusciously light topping. A flaky golden-brown crust provides textural balance to the beloved pastry, and darkly toasted meringue peaks add striking visual appeal. 

It takes patience and a steady hand with a cake spatula for Barbara Weaver, house baker for the past 22 years, to pull the smooth mound of meringue into precise hedgehog-like “spikes” that bake to a deep brown. (Weaver likens the flavor of the peaks to fire-toasted marshmallows.) Although assorted baked goods are made fresh daily, Lemon Meringue Pie remains a Thursday feature—and both eat-in and take-out patrons often call to reserve a hefty slice. If sold out, find consolation in coconut custard pie, carrot cake, or the restaurant’s many other scrumptious sweets, including chocolate-frosted éclairs scratch-made every Friday. 

Wert’s Café

515 N 18th St, Allentown

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2021 Issue

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