My favorite winter dessert (hands down) is Shaker Lemon Pie. Each bite is a pop of sweet-sour goo, chased by a chew or two of flaky rich crust, resilient rind and simple unadulterated flavors of homespun goodness. With such attributes, you’d think I could leave it alone. Fat chance, this plain Jane pie is begging to be gussied up, to sport a makeover worthy of her farm-fresh ingredients and taste potential. Yep, I turned this country cousin into a city tart.
Why change things? For as much as I love this pie it has two shortcomings: tough lemon rinds and a deep-dish thickness that can overwhelm. By reinventing the pie into a thinner tart and reworking the filling into a smoother more refined custard, the dessert shines on all levels.
Unlike the original pie recipe, I pulse the filling in a food processor, reducing the stringy long rinds (think citrus-flavored rubber bands) into tiny bright bits of lemon essence. I add a top crust and run the rolling pin over the pan again to cut off the edges, and in this case use a star cookie cutter to add dough appliques and a needed air vent in the center.
- 2 large organic lemons
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 eggs
- 6 tbsp. butter, melted
- 3 tbsp. sifted flour
- PIE DOUGH
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 10 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
- 2 tbsp. lard or vegetable shortening
- ice cold water
- FOR THE FILLING
- Thoroughly wash lemons
- Finely grate lemon zest into a bowl.
- Slice lemons very thin; remove and discard seeds.
- Add slices to zest and toss with sugar and salt.
- Cover and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours.
- When ready to make the pie, put the mixture into food processor (blade attachment)
- Strain out big lemon bits and tough peel for a smoother texture
- Add room temperature eggs one at a time, pulse to mix
- Melt butter, add to mixture, pulse
- Add flour
- Pulse until well mixed and lemon rinds are small bits
- Set aside and make crust.
- MAKING PIE DOUGH
- Sift flour and salt together into a large mixing bowl.
- Use a pastry cutter or forks to blend butter and shortening into flour
- Stop blending when lumpy
- Sprinkle in up to 6 tbsp. of ice water, stirring dough with a fork until it just begins to hold together.
- Press dough firmly into a rough ball
- Move to lightly floured surface.
- Give the dough several kneads with the heel of your hand to form it into a smooth ball.
- Divide dough into two balls, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- BAKING and ASSEMBLY
- Preheat oven to 425°
- Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into two 12″ rounds.
- Fit one round into a 9-10″ tart pan
- Cut dough edges off with rolling pin over the top of the tart tin
- Pour filling into tart pan. leaving about 1/4 inch from top of rim
- Cover pie with remaining pastry round.
- Run the rolling pin again to cut the edges off the top
- Cut steam vents in top crust (or cookie cutter holes at the time of rolling)
- Brush with half and half, sprinkle sugar on top.
- Bake until edges begin to brown, about 20 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 350° and bake until crust is golden brown, 25–30 minutes more until firm
- Remove from oven and cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
:: Use organic lemons
:: Farm-fresh eggs make a big difference in this recipe (or any recipe)
:: Brushing the top crust with milk, half and half or cream facilitates browning
:: Sprinkle sugar on top before baking for a nice finish
:: Serve with ice cream (whipped cream will do in a pinch)
The post was sponsored and made buttery delicious by Darigold.