September 12, 2015

Shaker Lemon Pie

Summer may finally be releasing its hold. After near-100 degree temps the past couple weeks, this weekend is cool, breezy, blue-skied, and lovely. The temperature always affects my mood, and I've been sweaty and crabby since school started three weeks ago. Right now, however, I am perfectly content as I sit outside drinking coffee and soaking up 60 degree sunshine.

I love the fall so hard...and all I can think about is wanting to pick apples and make pies, spending the afternoon at a winery near the river, and having picnics of crusty breads and cured sausages and pungent cheeses. I want to make hearty pastas and soups and stews. I want to curl up in a blanket next to a campfire with a glass of red wine or a dark beer. You know...all the stereotypical autumny stuff. BRING ON THE PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHING!

But, if you're more of a summer person and are lamenting the dying light and warmth, you should make this's the ultimate bright, sunshiny dessert.

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I was so excited to try this recipe a few months ago, a treat I was taking to our annual Shakespeare in the Park outing. I love tart lemon desserts, and this one sounded so slice whole lemons, let them candy in sugar overnight, mix with eggs & flour, then bake in a pie crust. 

While it was simple to make, I thought it was too tart and chewy for my taste. The lemons didn't soften as much as I'd hoped, and the texture was just....weird. 

Such is the nature of Shaker Lemon Pie, however, with a filling that is a cross between lemon curd and marmalade. 

Epicurious suggests coarsely chopping the sliced lemons so that the smaller pieces will soften more.

I'll try this recipe again, but next time I'll peel the lemons first to remove the bitter rind and pith. I'm thinking this would work beautifully with winter citrus as well. In fact, I may have to try it with blood oranges in the upcoming months!

Shaker Lemon Pie
recipe from Beth Howard

For the filling:
2 large lemons (Meyer lemons if you can find them, but works with any kind)
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs (beaten)
3 tablespoons flour
  • Wash and dry whole lemons. Using a mandolin or a serrated knife, slice lemons paper thin into a large bowl. Remove the seeds. Stir in sugar, cover, and set aside at room temperature overnight.
  • Mix lemon-sugar mixture with beaten eggs, salt and flour. Pour into pie shell (recipe below). Cover with top crust, brush with beaten egg, poke with vent holes.
  • Bake at 425°F. for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375°F. and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more.
For the crust:
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup shortening
Dash of salt
Ice water (fill one cup but use only enough to moisten dough)
  • In a deep bowl, work the butter and shortening into the flour with your hands until you see marble-sized lumps form. Add ice water a little at a time, sort of “fluffing” the flour. When the dough feels moistened enough do a “squeeze test” and when it holds together you’re done. Do not overwork the dough! It takes very little time and you’ll be tempted to keep touching it, but don’t! Now divide the dough in two, form each half into a disk shape and roll flat and thin to fit your pie dish. Sprinkle flour under and on top of your dough to keep it from sticking to your rolling surface. Trim excess dough to about 1 inch from the dish edge with a scissors, leaving enough dough to make crimped, fluted edge.

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