The Washington Post

Lemon Sponge Pie

Lemon Sponge Pie 6.000

Goran Kosanovic For The Washington Post

May 9, 2017

This tart dessert gets its name from the consistency of the baked filling, which seems like a combination of moist spongecake and creamy custard.

It is best served the same day it is made.

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings

  • For the crust
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup ice-cold water
  • For the filling
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, well beaten, plus 2 large egg whites, beaten until stiff
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


For the crust: Lightly flour a work surface.

Use your clean hands or two forks to combine the flour, salt and shortening in a mixing bowl. Add the water and stir just until a crumbly dough forms.

Transfer the dough to the work surface; knead it together to form a smooth dough, then use a rolling pin to roll it out to a round that measures 10 inches across. Fold the dough over the rolling pin to transfer it to an 8-inch pie plate (not deep-dish, and preferably metal). Fit in the dough and crimp the edges around the rim. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until just firm, or up to a day or two.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

For the filling: Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld mixer; beat on medium-low speed, until well incorporated and a little fluffy. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

On low speed, add the egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, beating until well combined. Stop to scrape down the bowl. The mixture may look a bit curdled; this is okay. Add the milk and sprinkle in the flour and salt; beat on low speed just until well incorporated.

Gently fold in half the beaten egg whites, being careful not to deflate them; once any signs of white have disappeared, gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

When ready to bake, place the pie pan on a baking sheet, discarding the plastic wrap. Use a fork to poke a few sets of holes in the bottom of the pie dough crust.

Pour the filling into the pie shell; transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake (middle rack) for about 1 hour; the filling will be set with a few nicely browned spots, and the crust will be just lightly golden.

Let it sit for 30 minutes before serving.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by Catherine Bishop McGlone; crust from Washington Post staffer Peggy McGlone.

Tested by Peggy McGlone.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 8): 390

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 21g 32%

Saturated Fat: 11g 55%

Cholesterol: 65mg 22%

Sodium: 370mg 15%

Total Carbohydrates: 46g 15%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 27g

Protein: 5g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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