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Grandma’s Zesty Lemon Sponge Pie

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Family Story

This recipe is a favorite pie recipe that has been in my family for multiple generations. My mother is one of 13 children and grew up on a family farm in South Central Pennsylvania. Her mother was an accomplished pie baker and taught each of her daughters the art of pie baking. My mother has wonderful memories of her and her sisters baking pies every week for their family to enjoy. After moving out of her parent's home, my mother continued the tradition of baking weekly pies for our family. She would rotate her recipes based on the the available fresh fruit and in the winter months she made delicious pecan, minced meat, raisin and different types of lemon pie. Our son always believed that his grandmother's pies were the best in the world and so in 2010, for his 21st birthday celebration, he requested our family attend the National Pie Competition in Orlando, Florida so that his grandmother could enter the competition with several pies, including her lemon pie. My son decided to name her lemon pie with a stand out name, "Grandma's Zesty Lemon Sponge Pie". My mother began practicing making her lemon pie so she could perfect the recipe for the pie competition. All of her neighbors in her retirement community were very happy to be her preliminary judges tasting and critiquing her delicious lemon pie. Attending the National Pie Championship was an amazing experience for three generations of our family. My son decided at the last minute to also enter the amateur pie competition and his baking station was next to his grandmother's baking station. After the baking was finished, each pie was entered for judging. My son was so proud when his grandmother received the recognition she deserved as an excellent pie baker when her name was announced as the winner of second place in the Citrus Pie Category for "Grandma's Zesty Lemon Sponge Pie". A few years later, her recipe was published in the 2012 cookbook, "America's Best Pies". Best of all, my son has learned the art of pie baking from his grandmother and he shares his love of baking pies by sending his grandmother pictures of the pies he bakes with his girlfriend. Our family continues the pie baking tradition as pie is our favorite dessert to share together.


1 Step

Instructions for 9 inch Pie Crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F; Place flour and salt into mixing bowl and stir with fork; Cut Crisco into pieces and mix with flour; when combined, add milk and combine into ball of dough. Roll out dough on parchment paper into a circle one inch larger than 9 inch pie plate. Invert dough into pie plate, press down on the sides and crimp edges.

2 Step

Instructions for Pie Filling: In a blender add egg yolks, melted butter, lemon juice and lemon zest, milk and blend just until combined on the lowest blender setting (stir setting). Combine in a separate bowl: sugar, flour, salt and stir with a fork. Add the dry ingredients to the blender mixture and blend on lowest setting until combined together and then pour into large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat 2 egg whites thoroughly using electric mixer until soft, firm peaks are formed. Fold this egg white mixture into the blender mixture in the mixing bowl. Pour into unbaked prepared pie crust.

3 Step

Baking instructions: Bake the pie at 375 degrees F for 40-45 minutes until the crust is nicely browned and the filling is set. Remove from the oven to cool on top of cake rack for 3 hours before cutting the pie.


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