Lemon Sponge Pie
Makes 8 servings
Prep Time: 30-40 minutes
Baking Time: 40-45 minutes
Chilling Time: 2-3 hours
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
3 eggs, separated
3½ Tbsp. flour
½ tsp. salt
juice and grated rind of 2 lemons (enough to yield ½ cup juice)
¾ cup hot milk
9” unbaked pie shell
1. Cream sugar and butter together using an electric mixer. (It’s hard to get anything creamy going when you’ve got so little butter, so just beat them together the best you can.)
2. Add egg yolks and beat well. (Things will get creamier when you add the yolks.)
3. Add flour, salt, lemon juice and rind. (Get yourself a good zester and you’ll love this step.) Blend thoroughly.
4. Blend in hot milk. (Continue to use the mixer, but be careful not to splash yourself since this turns the batter thin.)
5. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Don’t stir them in. You want the whipped whites to kind of float on top of the mixture.
6. Pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Continue to bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until top is nicely browned.
We just celebrated my mother’s birthday, too, and she picked chocolate cake. We eat so few desserts that I really like to make the birthday person’s request from scratch. That means I’ve never ordered a decorated cake, primitive as it sounds. But this is one simple cake and amazingly easy frosting.
Confession: If we have leftover cake, we eat more than we mean to. So I decided to impose some discipline on myself. The recipe below makes a 9” x 13” cake. I have an 8” x 8” baking dish—and I decided that a cake that size would easily be enough for the 7 of us who were coming to Ma’s birthday dinner. With a little quick math, I found that I could split the ingredients in half (well, technically, I multiplied the individual ingredients by .55 to get it exactly right!) and have a full-looking baking dish, plus plenty of cake for all of us. It worked.