2/01/2010

#22 Lemon Shaker Pie = Sunshine

Posted by Chrisi

I have to admit that my mood has been a little sour lately, which might explain why I have been craving lemons. The truth is… I don’t really like lemony things. Yet, over the last two weeks I have made a lemon chiffon pie, lemon pancakes (two Sundays in a row) and three batches of lemonade (some glasses with gin, some without). Now I have embarked on a truly unusual lemon adventure… Lemon Shaker Pie. As the old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Or lemon pie.

As the name suggests, this recipe is credited to the Shakers. The ingredient list is short and the recipe below appears to be fairly standard. I found an almost identical recipe on Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs. The apparent trademark of a Lemon Shaker Pie is that entire lemons are used, including the bitter pith, and the lemon to sugar ratio is one-to-one (one cup of sugar per lemon). The key to this recipe’s success is three-fold: (1) Choose thin-skinned lemons (e.g., Meyer lemons) and slice them paper-thin. A mandolin would be ideal but I used a super sharp knife. (2)Once the lemons are sliced, I recommend roughly chopping the rind rings to prevent a mouthful of chewy pucker. (3)The lemons should macerate in the sugar for 24 hours at room temperature. I opted for the minimum maceration time (4-5 hours) and some of the rind was still bitter. I think that the bitterness nicely offset the lemony-sugary custard but it may not suite everyone’s taste (my husband picked out some of the lemon rind in his slice).  

Overall, this pie is a surprising delight. It’s reminiscent of a lemon bar filling between a double pie crust. The rind adds texture and chewiness. I will definitely make this pie again when I need a little sunshine in my life.

Pie Filling:
• 2 thin-skinned lemons, preferably Meyer lemons
• 2 cups organic cane sugar
• Big pinch of sea salt
• 4 large eggs
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon raw organic cane sugar
• 2 tablespoons organic, unsalted butter, melted

Glaze:
• Milk or light cream
• Turbinado sugar

Crust: Double 9” pie crust made with 50:50 goat butter:Spectrum shortening (see Perfect Pie Crusts). Note: Best to use a shallow pie pan.

Directions: To ensure that the pith is sufficiently macerated, begin this pie 24-hours before serving.  

mac•er•at•e: To make soft by soaking or steeping in a liquid.

Grate the zest from the lemons using a microplane. Set the zest aside. Using a very sharp knife or mandolin, cut the lemons into paper-thin slices, removing the seeds as you go. Roughly chop the lemon slices. Then place the slices and residual juice in a large glass bowl. Add the sugar, salt and grated zest. Mix well. Cover the lemon mixture with plastic wrap. Macerate the lemons at room temperature for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

After the 24-hour maceration period, whisk eggs in a separate, medium-sized bowl. Add the flour and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Whisk until well blended. Add the egg/flour mixture and melted butter to the macerated lemons and mix well.  

To assemble the pie, roll the bottom pie crust into a 12” circle. Transfer to a shallow 9” pie dish. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Pour the lemon mixture into the pie shell. Note: The mixture will be thin. Roll the top pie crust into a 11” circle. Gently place the crust over the filling and seal the top and bottom crusts together using a little water. Form the crust into an up-standing ridge. Glaze the crust with a little milk, then poke several steam vents in the top crust with a paring knife. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over the top. Bake at 400⁰F for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375⁰, rotate the pie 180⁰ and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes (watch to ensure that the crust does not get too brown). Cool for a few hours. Enjoy.


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