Monday, January 25, 2010

Shaker Lemon Pie #3

Ryan called it the best pie of 2010.

And, I'd have to agree.

In a way, it deserves a simple review like that. It's a simple pie: two whole lemons, sugar, eggs, and a crust.

I know that doesn't give you any insight on how I read about these pies a few weeks ago and became kind of obsessed looking all around the city for Meyer lemons. How I actually did a little jig in Whole Foods when I found Meyer lemons (when, I swear, they hadn't been there the week before). How I cut them with "master precision" for an hour while my visiting cousin waited (meaning, I spent over ONE hour slicing TWO lemons as thin as I could possibly get them). And then how I waited for TWENTY-FOUR hours for the lemons to soak in sugar so I could start baking.

You probably don't need all the drama I drummed up over a pie. That just makes it sound more painstaking than it actually was (even if I don't really have what the professionals call, "knife skills," so cutting the lemons was a slow process). It was easy. It was tasty. And I'd do it again...soon.

What I did right:
So from reading about other people's experiences making this pie, it sounded like it could turn out to be a big, bitter bite of lemon pulp if I wasn't careful. Two cautions I will pass on, which I think helped make my pie successful:

1-Use Meyer Lemons. From what wikipedia told me, they are "a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange" which makes them much sweeter and less bitter so they must be used. Besides one reviewer, EVERYONE swears by Meyer Lemons. Use them.

2-Slice them as thin as possible: If you have a mandolin that can slice a lemon so it is paper-thin, go for it. However, many mandolins don't have a "Paper Thin" option. Personally, I took back my mandolin because I had it sitting, unused, in it's box for a month (and I don't have much space in my apartment for unused items) so I was without, and in the end, I think that was a good thing because I made some pretty thin cuts (for the most part).

What I did wrong:
It's not that this is wrong, but it is something that could use some tweaking. I made a very sweet, all-butter crust. And the crust itself was yummy, but it didn't have quit the crispness that I hoped it would have. Even still, I would make this crust again, but I think that next time I will brush the top with egg-whites instead of cream and see if that makes a difference.

The Reviews:
Best pie of 2010. What else needs to be said. It's like a big fancy lemon bar and if you serve it with ice cream...? Oh, la la!

Shaker Lemon Pie
he Filling:
(Adapted from Savuer Magazine)

2 large Meyer lemons
2 Cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
4 Tablespoon butter, melted
3 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

Butter Pie Crust:
(Adapted from

2 ½ Cups all purpose flour
1 (heaping) Tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 Cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter

8 Tablespoons (about) ice water

(brush crust with cream and coarse sugar before baking)


Filling: Thoroughly wash and dry lemons. Finely grate lemon zest into a bowl. Using a sharp knife, slice the lemons as thin as possible. While slicing, make sure to remove the seeds. Combine slices, zest, and sugar, cover and set aside at room temperature for at least 24 hours.

Crust: Combine flour, sugar, and salt and cut in cold butter until it resembles coarse meal. Add water and combine ingredients with hands until you can gather all the ingredients into one cohesive ball. Divide dough in half and form two disks. Wrap each in plastic and chill for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 425°. Whisk eggs in bowl until frothy. Add butter, salt, and flour and whisk until smooth. Combine with lemon mixture. Roll chilled dough into two 12-inch rounds. Fit one round into a 9" pie plate and pour in filling. Cover pie with remaining pastry round. Cut excessive dough, fold edges under and crimp to hold in place. Cut a few steam vents in top crust. Brush with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake (at 425°) for 30 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

Reduce heat to 350° and bake until crust is golden brown, 25–30 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool for at least one hour before slicing.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.


  1. I have a Meyer Lemon Tree! Todd bought it for me a year ago. It's in a huge pot on our front porch and we are seeing the fruits of Todd's labors. He waters it every day and there are SO many lemons on it right now. (That's the nice thing about living in California... oh, the citrus trees!) Anyway. I MUST try this pie when the lemons are ready! Way to blog it up!

  2. I'm definitely making this. I just have to find the lemons.

    I'm wondering if you're open to pie-deas? I have a few if you ever need them.