A friend of mine baked a pie for Easter, and texted me, “I made a pie and it didn’t turn out.” I was imaging all sorts of baking disasters, but what I didn’t realize is that she made a lemon Shaker pie and it’s not a texture or taste most of us are used to. But she was wrong. I tried the pie. I loved the pie. I mean I LOVED the pie. It was oh so tart, and yet sweet, and lemony to the max. She didn’t put a top crust on it, allowing the lemon peels and lemon curd to form a crust on its own.
This recipe works with Meyer Lemons or regular lemons, as a pie or as a tart.
What is a Shaker pie?
I don’t expect you to know. I only just discovered this a few weeks ago myself. The Shakers are those folks who made sensible furniture, known for simplicity and quality. The story goes that lemons were a luxury, and not to be wasted, thus a shaker lemon pie uses the entire lemon, except the seeds. The zest, the juicy insides, and yes, the pith. Makes you pucker and shake your head doesn’t it? But, one bite and you might be as enamored as I’ve become.
Lemons are zested and sliced very thin and then covered with sugar for several hours. The longer the lemons sit in the sugar, the better, because it takes away the bitterness of the pith. My friend allowed for overnight for her second pie and liked that the best. You could just rub this all over your body for an incredible spa treatment too.
Once left standing for several hours, you get this lemony, sugary nearly candied mixture ready to go into the pie.
The regular lemon pie was outstanding. The Meyer lemon pie was outstanding, but just a bit sweeter in that tangerine taste way (or Meyer lemon taste way).
Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, and a bit floral. Feel free to substitute and use regular lemons. Whatever you choose, make sure to buy organic, as you are using all the zest, and look for lemons without a lot of thick pith. You can trim some of that off (or all of it off) before you slice the lemons.
There you have it. A gorgeous crunchy lemony pie. I could work on making the crust look a bit prettier, but it’s my delicious buttery crust that takes this pie over the top.
Pie Crust Recipe
See a Video how to make perfect pie crust here.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour ( plus 1 teaspoon for later)
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 to 4 tablespoons ice cold water
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- Mix salt and flour together. Cut butter into small pieces. Freeze both for a 15 minutes minutes, as butter softens immediately upon cutting. If using food processor, put flour mixture in bowl and freeze blade.
- Lay small pieces of butter evenly over flour and mix for 20 seconds at a time, stopping as soon as dough is shaggy. Stream in cold water. If using kitchen aid type mixer, use paddle attachment on low setting for one minute max.
- Stream in cold water on sides of bowl. Mix on low, just until incorporated. Form into disc , wrap in plastic at least one hour. I rest my dough overnight, but this is not a must.
- Take dough out 30 minutes before rolling to soften.
- Roll out dough, evenly, not too thick, less than 1/4” thick and in all directions to make a circle. Do not stretch dough, because it will shrink back. Patch any cracks or holes. Use fork to make indentations.
- Pie dough for one crust pie.
- 2 cups of sugar
- 3 organic Meyer lemons (can use regular lemons)
- 4 eggs
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Prepare lemons and sugar will sit overnight in refrigerator.
- Cut tips of lemons off. Zest into bowl. If the pith is thick, cut it off. You can trim some of it or all of it. I take most of the pith off.
- Slice very thin with mandolin or sharp knife.(Freeze lemons for 10 minutes if using a knife).
- Mix zest into sugar with your hands. Add in lemon slices. Cover with plastic and put in refrigerator overnight.
- Prepare pie dough. (see notes)
- Add four eggs to food processor. Add in vanilla. Mix.
- Add lemon/sugar mixture, flour, salt, melted butter. Mix.
- Pour into unbaked pie shell.
- Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes. Do not over bake. Bake just until the top is set.
- Cool completely before cutting. Store in refrigerator.