You may be scratching your head wondering how you can grow the ingredients in this pie, but for several years I had an annual harvest of lemons from a dwarf lemon tree (read about it here) that lived on a windowsill in my work office.
The fruit was completely edible, but it did take approximately nine months from pollination to ripened fruit. Which means if you rely on fruit you grow yourself, it will be a while between pies.
We suggest Maine-grown butter, eggs and milk if you can. Because it may prompt you to order a lemon tree once you try this pie.
By the way, this is a favorite of our grandmother, Vivian, and the recipe originally came from her. She has long been our inspiration in the kitchen and in the garden.
Lemon Sponge Pie
2 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
juice of 2 lemons
zest from 1 lemon
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups hot (not boiling) milk
prepared pie crust, homemade or store-bought
Line a 9” pie plate with crust. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar, add egg yolks and mix well. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and flour. Mix well. Slowly add in the milk, stirring until combined. Set aside.
In another bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the beaten whites gently into the lemon mixture. Mixture will look foamy.
Pour into prepared crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Oven temperature can be reduced to 350 degrees during last 10-15 minutes of baking if crust begins to over-brown.
Cool pie completely and then refrigerate until chilled for best flavor.
* If you prefer, the filling can also be cooked in ramekins or a small glass casserole dish, set in a pan of water in the oven just as you would for a custard.