Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shaker Lemon Pie

I really wanted to have this pie baked and posted in time for Pi Day (last week) but it just didnt work out that way, so I'm posting this now. At a recent visit to Rami Levi, I picked up some lemons. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with them (and I still have a few of them left to use!) but I finally settled on this Shaker Lemon Pie because it's a pie and because I wanted to try my hand again at baking with the full fruit. This pie is credited to the Shakers, a thrifty bunch that tried to avoid wastefulness in their cooking, hence the use of the whole lemon here. I was intrigued by this concept but knew that the girls would not take too well to having peel in their dessert. Although most recipes that you can find for this pie are the same, I opted to use Rose Levy Beranbaum's version from The Pie and Pastry Bible. Being without a mandoline, I sliced the lemons as thinly as I could and macerated them for a good 18 hours before baking. I opted for a butter/shortening crust instead of her suggested cream cheese crust with no harm done. Once the lemons were finished macerating, assembly was pretty easy- just whisk together some eggs and add to the lemons to form a custard and bake. So how did it turn out? Pretty deliciously, I think. The sugar mellows out the lemons to produce a lemon-bar like custard filling. Yum. And the peel? Had a nice zing, but without the usual bitterness that the pith contributes. I was a big fan. The girls? They loved the flavor but unanimously decided I should make this again without the peel. I tried to explain that that would defeat the whole purpose of this pie but to no avail. I'm still happy I tried it and this would be a great dessert to make for lemon lovers with more sophisticated palates and open minds. This pie requires advanced preparation so plan accordingly.

Shaker Lemon Pie
from The Pie and Pastry Bible

2 disks of your favorite pie dough
2 large lemons
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 egg yolk

The night before you plan to bake, wash the lemons.
Cut the lemons in half lengthwise and remove as many seeds as possible. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice into very thin slices.
Add the sugar,
and mix to blend. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight for 24 hours. 
This is what my lemons looked like the next morning.
When you're ready to bake, roll out once disk of dough and fit into a nine inch pie shell. Chill until ready to fill. Place all of the eggs into a bowl,
and whisk thoroughly.
Pour over the lemon slices,
Thoroughly blend.
Carefully pour the filling into the chilled pie shell. Set aside and roll out the remaining disk of pastry.
Gently place the rolled pastry on top of the filling. Trim and seal the edges. Make four to five slashes in the top crust. Refrigerate for about an hour. Towards the end of the chilling time, preheat your oven, with a stone inside, to 450.
Set the pie directly on the stone and bake for fifteen minutes. Lower the oven to 350 and continue baking for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the pie comes out clean and the pie is golden. If you're taking its temperature, it should register 165 in the center. Cool on a rack at least two hours before serving.

No comments: