Lemon Sponge Pie

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If you love Lemon Meringue Pie, but don’t love making one, this is the pie for you! My mother got this recipe from a dear friend. It’s her Yankee family’s recipe that has been passed on through generations. My mother makes the best Lemon Meringue pie, but sometimes she would make this pie, to switch things up a bit.

I have made this pie many, many times and it has not yet failed me. Sometimes it comes out a  little differently.  Can I blame global warming? It’s usually my impatience or blunder, but it always tastes great. It may not be the prettiest of pies, but it’s an easy pie and bursting with lemon flavor. You want pretty, toss on some fresh raspberries and some mint leaves. BAM. Pretty pie!

Let’s bake us some pie!

1/4 cup melted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 egg yolks (slightly beaten)

3 egg whites (stiffly beaten)

1 1/2 cups milk

2 lemons (juiced and rind grated)

1  9inch UNBAKED pie shell

Blend melted (and slightly cooled) butter with sugar and beat thoroughly. I use a hand mixer for this step. Add flour and blend well.

Add egg yolks, lemon juice, grated rind, and milk. I use 2 lemons, because not all lemons are the same. Some have more juice than others. I’d rather a little more, than a little less lemon juice.

Fold in beaten egg whites and pour into shell. Folding in the egg whites will test your patience. Try not to have lumps of egg white (see MY pie). Do your best, but make sure you use the folding action. You don’t want to deflate the egg whites.

I use a glass pie plate, but any will do. I also often buy my pie crusts or my name is Nora Pillsbury. If you can make a great pie crust, please do so. I cannot seem to get it right.

Baked in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Don’t walk away….wash the dishes or something. Reduct heat to 325 degrees and bake about 25 minutes longer. Since every oven is different, set the timer for 20 minutes and check. You can add minutes, but you cannot remove the taste of burnt pie from your tongue.

The pie is done when the top cracks open. If you get nervous around 20-25 minutes, or the crust is getting darker than you like,  pull it out of the oven. It is absolutely done.

Refrigerate for several hours before serving. You don’t want to eat this pie hot. I recommend making it in the morning or the night before if you are short on time.

If you want to get fancy, delicately place some raspberries on the serving plates. Lemon and raspberries are a wonder flavor team!

 

Zest when you think you’ve seen it all…..

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  Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

 

A few weeks ago, I was trying to use three pounds of ricotta cheese in under a week.  I did it! I made a lasagna, a ricotta and spinach pasta dish and some amazing lemon cookies, using a Giada De Laurentiis recipe. If you are looking for a taste of Spring, try these cookies. The lemon glaze puts them over the top. I thought the ricotta would make them heavy, but they were very light. The cookies did not spread out while they cooked. They made a beautiful mound of cookie. They were wonderful. Even my son, who made a face when I told him what I was baking, devoured them……

2 ½ cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened

2 cups of sugar

2 eggs

1 15 oz. container of whole milk ricotta

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 lemon, zested

Glaze

1-½ cups powdered sugar (10X)

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 lemon, zested

Recipes are wonderful, but they never tell you how many lemons you are going to need. This recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of lemon juice, divided. How much juice you get from a lemon depends on several things. When you are looking at lemons, pick them up. You want to buy a heavy lemon. The heaviness means there’s more juice. So, for this recipe I bought 6 lemons and used about 4. I would rather have too many lemons, than to run out and buy more. Make sure the lemons are room temperature. You will get more juice out of a lemon that is NOT cold. Roll the lemon on the counter before you juice the lemon.  Also, juice the lemons before you start the recipe. I use a wooden reamer, and juice the lemons over a glass-measuring cup.  You can just use your hands to squeeze them. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Before you juice the lemons, I would zest them into a separate container from the juice. You can use a zester or a box grater that has a zesting side. Now you are ready to get baking.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. You use unsalted butter in baking for freshness. Salt is a preservative and gives butter a long shelf life. Therefore, unsalted butter is fresher. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. This takes about 3 minutes. Add 1 egg at a time. I recommend breaking the eggs into bowl, just in case they have gone bad. Beat the mixture until the eggs are incorporated.  Add the ricotta, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry mixture of flour, baking powder and salt.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough onto the baking sheet, using about 2 tbsp. of batter for each cookie. You can place 4 across the pan, as the dough does not spread out.

Bake each sheet for 15 minutes until slightly golden at the edge. I like to bake each sheet one at a time. That’s my preference in my oven. Remove the cookie sheets from oven and let cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes to cool.

To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl. Use ½ tsp. of glaze on each cookie, using the back of a spoon to spread. Let the glaze harden for 2 hours. Store in an airtight container.

If you want to go over the top with these cookies, you could put a few candied lemon peels on before the glaze hardens. Enjoy!

Giada De Laurentiis lemon cookies