Man… I have had a craving for something like this recipe for a long time. Plus, I picked up these AWESOME bowls at Costco this weekend and I couldn’t wait to get them home to photograph. It looks like I had someone make them for me. But between you and I, this will be our little secret as to where they were purchased from. I’m thinking an ice cream recipe will have to be in the making for next week. And yes, solely because of these dishes. Don’t judge. I’ve photographed things before based around an entire found object. I have this lovely old used “made in Vermont stamped” cutting board I found at Roots Farmer’s Market. It has all these wonderful knife marks and wear and tear. Props are a very important part of the business and finding little beauties like these just make my day 🙂
As many of you know, gram’s was literally involved in EVERYTHING. From volunteer work, to bakeoffs, to fundraisers, she was there. Even from a young age, this was true. A few of the books that I inherited from her were various cookbooks that she had worked with, her mother worked with, they were in, or they’d helped to get published. This was one from her mother’s young days growing up in Vandergrift, PA. Her church put together this fantastic cookbook. It’s from 1923 and the front has a little handwritten “Barclay” in it (my gram’s maiden name). Now the recipe I’m doing today isn’t gram’s or my great gram’s (it comes from Mrs. W. W. Poorman, thank you!), howwwever, it was from a book that the family helped get published to raise money for her church, so I think it counts. Plus, this book is a treasure trove of old school recipes. There is one in it for squirrel. Seriously. I’m not lying. Freaking squirrel. And no, I’m never going to go out and butcher a squirrel for this blog, but that was a surprise.
Anyone who knows me, knows I have a soft spot for what I consider “PA Dutch Recipes,” if the last name Yoder didn’t give you a clue lol. I’m pretty sure the love for PA Dutch food runs through my veins. You wait till New Year’s, and there will definitely be pork, kielbasa, and sauerkraut recipes up on here.
There is a farmer’s stand about 3 miles from my house where Mennonite ladies lay out their fares of assorted homemade pies, breads, and jams. Lemon sponge pie is always among their wares. It’s where I was first introduced to this sweet treat and man, I LOVE lemon sponge pie. With the whipped peaks of egg whites and lemon zest, it’s like springy freshness all in one delicious pastry. Whenever I go pick up some veggies from our farmer’s stand, I always save a little room for one of those sponge pies. When I came across not one, BUT TWO lemon sponge pie recipes, I was ecstatic! Now these recipes do take a bit to figure out, as there aren’t a ton of instructions AND there is a lot of old terminology that I have to google just to know how to prepare them exactly. Here’s a little old school baking knowledge I’m about to throw down.
This recipe calls for ‘sweet milk.’ Any guesses? This is what used to be the common name for ‘whole milk’ or ‘regular milk’ to distinguish it from buttermilk. For baking, all it says is to ‘bake in a slow oven.’ This references the cooking temperature. Cooking in a ‘slow oven’ is anything in the range of 150–160°C (300–325°F). Who knew? Now alas, this didn’t actually have a cooking time, so it took a lot of toothpicks to figure out just exactly how long to bake this bad boy.
Also, props to my husband who is starting to get into this. He’s learning how to cook and getting baked goods and pies out of it lol. Talk about a win freaking win. Today’s lesson was whipping egg whites to stiff peaks. His hand modeling is getting better too! Now he’s learning how to bake and in the process, getting more comfortable in the kitchen. It always makes me happy when I can help someone enjoy baking. Without further ado, I give you this weeks recipe. One of my favorites, Lemon Sponge Pie.
Lemon Sponge Pie
Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and butter. Add in flour, milk and yolks. Mix well. Zest and juice lemon, add to mixture. Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Slowly fold egg whites into mixture. Once smooth, pour carefully into pie crust. Place in oven for a 1/2 hour at 325°F. After 1/2 hour turn oven down to 300°F and cook for 1.5-2 hours (or until top has browned and toothpick comes out cleanly). Now this is important, there shouldn’t be a lot of ‘jiggle’ left with the pie. A little is okay but the first time I attempted to take this pie out of the oven the top almost rolled right off. Be careful and don’t take it out before it’s ready. This is definitely a slow cooker and oven times may vary based on pie dish used and how well oven cooks. Let cool completely. Cut and serve. Best kept in fridge. Enjoy! Until next week. – Alysha
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