Lemon Sponge Pie

Every summer during my childhood, my family and I would head to Nana’s quaint house in the countryside. Her lush garden would be filled with roses, lilies, and daisies, but what I looked forward to most was her baking. Among all of her legendary treats, the Lemon Sponge Pie was everyone’s favourite, including our neighbours, the Harrisons. A gentle knock on our door often meant Mrs. Harrison was there, pie plate in hand, hoping for a refill.

One summer evening, as the golden hue of the setting sun drenched the living room, my best friend Lucy and I decided to take on the challenge. Armed with Nana’s handwritten recipe and a lot of zest (both literally and figuratively), we embarked on our baking journey. This Lemon Sponge Pie is a tribute to that beautiful memory.

How to Prepare Lemon Sponge Pie

Ingredients for Lemon Sponge Pie

  • A 9-inch fresh pie crust
  • 3 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons of fine flour
  • A tiny dash of salt
  • 1 1/4 cups of fresh milk
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 4 large egg whites

Directions for Lemon Sponge Pie

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a spacious bowl, whisk the softened butter and granulated sugar until you achieve a creamy consistency.
  3. Introduce the beaten egg yolks, flour, salt, milk, zesty lemon grates, and lemon juice into the creamy mix, ensuring thorough blending.
  4. In a separate, pristine bowl, whisk the egg whites until they peak. Gently introduce these peaks into your lemony mix.
  5. Proceed to pour your final mixture into the fresh pie crust.
  6. Bake for an initial 15 minutes. Following this, reduce your oven’s heat to 300°F (150°C) and bake for another 45 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the top radiates a golden glow and a toothpick inserted emerges clean.

Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh?

While bottled lemon juice can be convenient, using fresh lemon juice ensures a vibrant and authentic lemon flavour for your pie. However, if you’re in a pinch, bottled can work – just ensure it’s high quality.

How do I store leftover Lemon Sponge Pie?

Keep any leftover pie refrigerated in an airtight container. This will maintain its freshness for up to 3-4 days.

Is there a dairy-free version of this pie?

Absolutely! Substitute the milk with your favourite plant-based milk. Almond or coconut milk gives a delightful twist!

Can I use lime zest instead of lemon?

Yes, you can. Lime zest will introduce a different tanginess to the pie, making it a lemon-lime fusion treat!

What’s the best way to get stiff peaks in egg whites?

Ensure your bowl and beaters are clean and dry. Any residue or moisture can affect the consistency. Start at a slow speed and gradually increase as you see the whites thickening. It usually takes about 4-5 minutes of continuous beating.

Do I need to use unsalted butter?

Unsalted butter is often recommended for desserts to control the salt content. However, if you only have salted butter, just omit the added pinch of salt from the recipe.

Lemon Sponge Pie

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 1 9 inch unbaked pie crust
  • 3 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 4 egg yolks beaten
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 4 egg whites


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat the egg yolks, flour, salt, milk, grated zest, and lemon juice into the creamed mixture.
  • In a clean bowl and with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold the egg whites into the filling. Pour into the unbaked pie shell.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F, and bake for an additional 45 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
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