I have been eating this delicious pie my whole life. First made by my grandmother, and then my mother, and now me. I think my Nanna got the recipe from her friend Betty…Crocker that is! This pie is very lemony and has a gorgeous texture–creamy, light and airy because of the egg whites. It almost has a pudding-like consistency.
This was my Nanna’s flour bin. Every time I use it, I think of her. It holds 5 lbs. of flour perfectly!
I cheated again and used a store-bought pie crust. I really need to perfect my crust baking skills. Homemade is so much better and for a pie this good, it doesn’t seem right not to make the crust from scratch!
I mostly remember eating this pie for Easter dinner, but it is good any time of the year. It comes together easily and uses only a few ingredients: Sugar, butter, eggs, lemons, milk, and a tiny bit of flour.
Beat the sugar, butter and 2 eggs yolks together until creamy. Add 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons depending on their size), 2 tsp. lemon peel, 3 Tbsp. flour. Next add 1 cup of milk. I also added a pinch of salt. Nanna’s recipe doesn’t call for it, but with that much sugar, I think the salt is necessary.
This is how the batter looks before egg whites go in.
Beat egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the batter.
You know the whites are fully beaten when they no longer drop off the beaters.
Pour into a pre-baked pie crust. Pre-baking is known as a “Blind Bake” and prevents the crust from getting soggy when you are making a custard-type of pie or quiche.
Pie ready to bake. Place the filled pie on a sheet pan in case of any spillage.
Nanna’s recipe says “Bake for 3/4 of an hour in a slow oven”. I baked at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Gently insert a butter knife in the center of the pie to check for doneness. If it comes out clean, it is done.
I have some sad news to share. We lost our dear, sweet kitty of 11 years last week. He was a loving, gentle, curious creature and a huge part of our family. He will be sadly missed.
August 8, 2012 ~ November 29, 2023
Nanna's Lemon Sponge Pie
Very creamy with a deep lemon flavor.
- 1 cup Sugar
- 3 Tbsp. Butter, at room temperature
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 2 Egg Whites, stiffly beaten
- 1/4 cup Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed from about 2 lemons
- 2 tsp. Lemon zest Be careful not to zest into the white part of the lemon rind. It is bitter.
- 3 Tbsp. Flour
- 1/8 tsp. Salt
- 1 cup Milk
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Pre-bake a single pie crust. This is known as "blind bake", "pre-bake" or "partially bake". Place the dough in a pie pan and carefully place a piece of parchment paper to fit in the bottom and up the sides of the pan, on top of the raw dough. Weight with pie weights or a lb. of dry beans. Weighting is necessary as when the pie starts to bake, the butter melts creating steam. Steam makes the pie crust super flakey, but it also causes the crust to rise unless it is weighted. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes. Because the bottom has been weighted and covered with the parchment it does not properly pre-bake so you will need to bake a bit more once the weights and parchment are removed. Remove the weights and parchment carefully and prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. This is known as "docking". This step is necessary to keep the bottom crust from bubbling up. Bake until the bottom crust just begins to brown; about 7 or 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before filling.
Beat 1 cup sugar, 3 Tbsp. butter and 2 egg yolks until creamy.
Add the lemon juice, zest, 3 Tbsp. flour and 1/8 tsp. salt. Mix well.
Beat the egg whites until stiff.
Add 1 cup milk and fold the stiffly beaten egg whites into the batter.
Pour the filling into a pre-baked crust and bake at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until pie is set.