Lemon sponge pie

The lemon sponge pie is simply a lemon custard pie with separately beaten egg whites, and I think it began as an attempt to lighten lemon custard pie — an attempt that failed, but produced something entirely different. When you fold beaten egg whites into cake batter, the batter is thick enough to hold the egg whites in place, but custard filling is thin enough that in the oven, the egg whites separate out and float to the top before they set. They bring some of the custard filling with them, though, so that the top layer is essentially a very light lemon sponge cake, which floats over a soft lemon custard. It’s a neat effect, but one I doubt was predicted by the first woman to bake it. (more…)