After over a year [!!!] of Vintage Recipe Swaps, I decided to do a little something different this month. While often turned off by vague directions and weird ratios in vintage recipes, the completely unknown dishes are the most challenging.
This month’s Lemon Sponge pie was both mystifying and promising. A tart lemon pie sounded very delicious but sponge pie is not a familiar dessert at all. Being unaware of the correct texture or proper signs of doneness is tricky.
Then again, what’s the point of cooking if not to challenge yourself?
A little summer twist was all I was looking for – to punch up a simple flavor. Ideas ranging from rosemary to raspberries swam in my head thanks to a brainstorming session on Facebook.
Summer in New York screams berries. While raspberries and blackberries are a very tempting addition to a lemon pie, blueberries just seem right. They are an underrated berry in my kitchen, appearing in muffins or pancakes once in a blue moon. This pie is a good reminder to pick up blueberries at the farmer’s market next time you’re shopping.
Now… about this recipe. Because I’m not familiar with sponge pies, I’m not positive what a successful pie should be like. But after the ninety minutes of baking [which seemed excessive], a toothpick finally tested cleanly. Once cooled, the pie is wonderful. The tart zing of lemon and sweet, soft pockets of berries in the creamy curd-like filling. The press-in shortbread crust added a crunchy substantial exterior but a flaky roll-out crust would be just as great.
The pies pictured are mini-sized, as I was testing small pans received at an event. But a deep dish pie pan or removable bottom tart pan instead would be much easier. The recipe filled two mini pies and an extra five ramekins.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup, 200 grams sugar
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 2 cups milk
- zest of 2 lemons
- juice of 3 lemons - about 4.5 oz or 9 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons, 16 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 batch of your favorite pie crust, unbaked
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar - it won't cream like a traditional cookie recipe, you just want the mixture to combine. With the mixer on low, add the egg yolks one at a time. Once the egg yolks are combined, add the milk, lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle the flour and salt in at the end.
- In a separate clean bowl, whip the egg whites and the pinch of cream of tartar until stiff peaks. Add the whipped egg whites to the lemon mixture. Fold gently, combining the liquid with egg whites. It will seem like an impossible task. Just keep folding, rotating the bowl as you go. Once the mixture looks mostly combined, with only small bits of egg white left, you're done.
- Line your pie pan with the dough of choice. Add a single layer of blueberries, anywhere from 3-6 ounces. Pour the lemon mixture on top of the berries.
- Bake for 60-90 minutes, or until a toothpick removes cleanly from the center of the pie. Cool on a baking rack until room temperature and then refrigerate until cold.
- Serve unadorned, or with a touch of barely sweetened whipped cream.
Things have changed a bit with the Vintage Recipe Swap. We’re a joint group again, not two separate circles posting on Sundays and Wednesdays. Instead, we’ll be posting on Mondays! So check out the other members, see what inspired recipes came from this Lemon Sponge Pie!