Shaker Lemon Pie Recipe: Sweet, Sour, Delicious{36}

Shaker Lemon Pie Recipe: Winter’s Best Pie!shaker lemon pie recipe - in all its glory

I came across this lemon pie with a twist years ago after reading an article in Saveur magazine: The Shaker Table. The resulting pie was simple, with an authenticity one would expect from anything created by the Shakers. I love the fact that such a spare recipe can have such delicious results–all with the basics of the farm: eggs, butter, sugar and lemons.

Lemons on the farm? Yep, I grow them on Vashon. Potted and placed in front of a south facing room between November and March, they bloom beautifully and produce nicley. By March, they find a place in the summer garden.


I couldn’t find my rolling pin (no surprise there), so I enlisted a bottle of port to take its place.  (Baking has its own rewards.)


The crust for this pie is buttery and flaky, and not too temperamental.

shaker lemon pie recipe begins with sliced sugared lemons

The day before making the pie, zest and thinly slice the lemons in abowl, layering with sugar to macerate overnight.


I just fold the crust under itself on the edge for a smooth finish and then use a cookie cutter on the folded top crust to create steam holes.

shaker lemon pie recipe

I call Shaker Lemon Pie a very adult pie. It’s somewhat sweet, but there’s a nice sharpness to it as well, thanks to the rinds being left on the lemon. It’s exceptional, and a pie I make each holiday season.

Shaker Lemon Pie Recipe from Saveur


2 large lemons
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs
4 tbsp. butter, melted
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
10 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
2 tbsp. lard or vegetable shortening

1. For the filling: Thoroughly wash lemons, then dry with paper towel. Finely grate lemon zest into a bowl. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, 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. (TC: I even canned this mixture sometimes for later use, if I have a lot of lemons to use.)

2. For the crust: Sift flour and salt together into a large mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter or 2 table knives to work butter and shortening into flour until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle in up to 5 tbsp. ice water, stirring dough with a fork until it just begins to hold together. Press dough firmly into a rough ball, then transfer to a lightly floured surface. Give the dough several kneads with the heel of your hand to form it into a smooth ball. Divide dough into 2 balls, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 425°. Whisk eggs in bowl until frothy. Add butter and flour, whisking until smooth. Stir into lemon mixture.

4. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into two 12″ rounds. Fit one round into a 9″ pie plate and pour in filling. Cover pie with remaining pastry round. Fold edges of dough under, then crimp edges. Cut steam vents in top crust. Bake until edges begin to brown, about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake until crust is golden brown, 25–30 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

The recipe and article were first published in Saveur in Issue #50

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