Shaker Lemon Pie

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10

This intensely flavored sweet-tart pie, which originated in Shaker communities in Ohio more than a hundred years ago, is filled with both tart lemon flesh and the slightly bitter lemon peels. The secret to success? Slice the lemons very, very thinly.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lemons
  • 3 cups (1 1/2 lb./750 g) plus 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 rolled-out rounds basic pie dough
  • 7 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Directions:

Halve 2 of the lemons crosswise. Using the slicing blade of a food processor or a very sharp knife, slice them very thinly, removing the seeds as you go. Put the slices in a bowl. Remove the peel and pith from the remaining 2 lemons and discard. Chop the flesh finely, discarding the seeds. Add the flesh and juices to the bowl. Add the 3 cups sugar and stir gently to coat evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
 
Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C).
 
Transfer 1 of the dough rounds to a standard (not deep-dish) 9-inch (23-cm) pie pan and fit the dough into the pan.
 
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended, then add to the lemon mixture and stir well. Add the salt and melted butter and stir until blended. Pour the filling into the crust and spread evenly. Place second dough round over the filling and trim the edges, leaving a 3/4-inch (2-cm) overhang. Fold the overhang under itself and crimp the edges of the dough. Cut a few steam vents in the top crust. Lightly brush the crust with the egg white, then sprinkle with the 1 Tbs. sugar.
 
Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) and continue to bake until the crust is golden brown and the center is slightly puffed and the filling barely jiggles when the pan is shaken, about 30 minutes longer, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Tent the pie with aluminum foil if the crust browns too quickly. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours, before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Luscious Fruit Desserts (Weldon Owen, 2015)