The Vintage Recipe Project: Lemon Sponge Pie

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The Vintage Recipe Project: Lemon Sponge Pie

 There are a couple of really fun aspects of recreating vintage recipes  for the Vintage Recipe Project.

  I enjoy collecting these old cook books. I enjoy reading how the recipe themselves are written. Each recipe is pared down to the bare minimum of directions and sometimes they are not in the order that this modern day cook is used to finding them in a written recipe. Some of the ingredients are called by different names or different terms are used for  processes that I am used to in modern terms.


Lemon Sponge Pie, Vintage pie, recipes

Lemon Sponge Pie a vintage recipe

Note to self CAREFULLY check vintage recipe ingredients before making. More on this in a minute. Some vintage recipes might also be missing an ingredient that an experienced baker should realize and add.

lemon sponge pie, lemon pie, vintage recipes, family recipes,

Lemon Sponge Pie an old family recipe


This recipe for Lemon Sponge Pie came together beautifully. Which is a surprise since I had a little 40 lb distraction working in the kitchen with me this morning. My granddaughter Hailey was here.

 Luckily I had a small piece of pizza dough in the refrigerator, that I had saved from a few days ago just for her. She loves to roll the dough out and make her own creations.

 So while I was working on my pie dough she was decorating her piece of pizza dough with pepper mint candies. Yes I know not a yummy combination but I am not going to stifle her culinary creativeness.
Who knows she might be the next Martha Stewart, Paula Deen or Pioneer Woman. Ya never know!
 Even though I had read this recipe about six times. Even though I had transcribed it into my notebook. And even
though I read it at least three times before I started baking and who knows how many times while I was putting everything together I still missed that it was missing salt.
As I sat down to edit my pictures and write this blog post I realized that the salt was missing. I even thought for a minute, and it was a good possibly that I just forgot the salt because of the little baker working beside me but when I checked the written recipe and the actual cookbook I saw that salt was not listed in the list of ingredients.
Now salt is always a minor ingredient in most recipes but there is a reason for it being there.The salt balances out the sweetness and as in this case the tartness of the lemons. Hopefully it won’t make much of a difference because in a recipe for a single pie like this you would only add a 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt. The pie is still cooling and will need to be chilled in the fridge for a bit before I can taste
it but if you should make this recipe you should add the salt unless of course you are on a salt restricted diet.
After I made my Strawberry Sponge Pie I became a bit obsessed with the “sponge” pies and started going through all of the vintage cookbooks I own to see if it was a very popular recipe back in the day.

One of my blog readers left a comment and told me that the sponge pies are very popular Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch recipes and wondered if the area the cook book had come from had any Amish nearby.

“Tina said,   Sponge pies, especially lemon sponge, are very typical Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch recipes.

The cookbook the Strawberry Sponge Pie came from is indeed in an area of Ohio where there is a large population of Amish living.

This recipe for Lemon Sponge Pie came from a cookbook from the area of Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Another area that has a large population of Amish.
I try not to bore my readers while I am rambling on. I know some of you come here just for the recipes so I decided to start another blog where I will go into much more detail on my thinking and musings about the recipes in the Vintage Recipe Project. You can find that blog at The Vintage Recipe Project There isn’t anything on there yet but follow it on google friend connect or sign up for email updates so when I do start posting you will be notified.
Now on to the recipe….. I have rambled on enough!

Lemon Sponge Pie Recipe

Vintage Lemon Sponge Pie

Vintage Lemon Sponge Pie

Adapted from a recipe taken from A Cook Book Of Favorite Tested  Recipes. Compiled by Home Economics Committee of Bradford County Pamona  Grange, No. 23 1950 Recipe submitted by Rachel Schmoll of Wysauking  Grange, No. 58

Preheat oven to 300
2 eggs, separated
2 tbs flour
1 c milk
1 c sugar
1 tbs butter, softened
1 lemon, juice and zest ( 1/3 cup)
1 unbaked pie crust
Prepare your pie crust and line a 8 inch pie pan with it.
Put your crust in the fridge while you prepare the pie filling.
Cream the butter and the sugar together with a wooden spoon until
There is no creaming of the butter and sugar in the modern
sense of the word.
1 tablespoon of butter and 1 cup of sugar will not
really “cream” together.

Just mix them together so the butter is completely incorporated into the sugar.
This recipe called for mixing the flour into the egg yolks slowly. This does not work well and I knew it wouldn’t work but I try to make the recipe as written and only make changes when I have to. This was one of those cases.

Lemon, Lemon SPonge Pie, Sponge Pies, Vintage Sponge Pies, recipes

Lemon Sponge Pie Ingredients

See the picture above. This is what happens when you attempt to mix 2 tablespoons of flour into to egg yolks. After that mess I changed things up a bit. Beat the egg yolks into the cup of milk and slowly added the flour. I then whisked it in until all lumps are gone.

In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Once you have the egg whites ready you can safely add the lemon juice and lemon zest to your egg and milk mixture. Stir to mix everything together and fold your stiffly beaten egg whites into the milk mixture.Pour into chilled pie crust and bake for 50 to 60 minutes in a preheated 300 degree oven.

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A little slice of heaven

For the last 8 to 10 minutes of baking time I turned the oven temp up to 375 degrees to get a little color on the crust and the top of the pie. Cool on a wire rack.
Once the pie is cool put it in the refrigerator and chill at least two hours or even over night before serving. Serves 8
Made your lemon sponge pie last night.  Declared as the best lemon pie my husband has ever eaten!  Thanks for the recipe, it certainly is a keeper!!! Jaime

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  1. says

    i've been using my grandmother's lemon sponge pie recipe for years and it is wonderful…slightly different than this one, and mine browns a bit more on top…this is my dad's absolute favorite pie…i think it reminds him of his childhood…folks around here (sw pa) aren't at all familiar with sponge pies, so it's always fun to bring it to pot lucks…thanks for sharing the vintage cooking love!

    stuff and nonsense

  2. Dale says

    My mom's 92, and was born in Youngstown, on the PA border. She remembers her mom making lemon sponge pie, so I thought I'd see whether I could find a recipe, and voila! Thanks. I might try to see whether this is what she remembers.

  3. Tina says

    Hi, I noticed that you list the second ingredient as 2 tbs. butter but I’,m assuming you meant flour as stated in the original recipe. Correct? Just checking. Thanks! :)

  4. oceansparkl says

    Hi there,
    Just finished making this lemon sponge. I was so worried because the mixture looked runny (I’ve never made a pie before), but once it went in the oven, it rose and baked beautifully.
    I accidently bought a pre baked pie base, its slightly overcooked from the top, but overall looks fine. Just placing it in the fridge to cool down.
    Thanks for the lovely recipe.
    Can’t wait to eat it tomorrow :-)

  5. Grannie says

    Thanks for posting this. Lemon Pies are my favorite & I try every new version I find.
    Now, where will I find your recipe for the Strawberry Sponge Pie?

  6. Donna says

    This recipe looks wonderful. I have my mother’s sponge lemon pie recipe, which I love. Have you seen a custard sponge pie recipe in the vintage cookbooks? I have been looking for that recipe since having a piece at a function and the lady would not share her recipe. Thanks!!

    • says


      Thank you for stopping by! No I have not seen a Custard Sponge Pie recipe in my vintage cookbooks. But I just bought 9 more community/church cookbooks last week. I haven’t had a chance to look at them yet. When I do I will keep an eye out for the Custard Sponge Pie recipe for you.

    • Sandy says

      I am not very fond of people who won’t share a recipe. SOOOOO I would make the pie as usual but use 1/2 tsp vanilla instead of the lemon juice. Worst case is you’ve wasted a pie crust and some milk and eggs. Best case is – – you’ve got the pie recipe.

      • says


        I’m not sure what your first statement is in reference to. Your changes to the recipe would make a delicious Vanilla Sponge Pie. Let me know if you try it and how it turns out.

  7. says

    Hi, I just saw the link to this pie over at Penney Lane Kitchen’s Thanksgiving Round Up. I’m so glad I came by to check out the recipe! I have a sweet spot for lemon pies, and this looks like a great one! :)


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