Shaker Lemon Pie

My parents are passionate collectors.  My father specializes in antique tools and they share a love of early American  furniture.  On our last trip home to Connecticut, We thought what better recipe to try than Shaker Lemon Pie. This is a simple list of ingredients, yet complex and beautiful just like the furniture the Shakers produced.  We used the food processor to make uniform slices of the lemons, but you could use a mandolin. The thinner the lemons are sliced, the more delicate the pie will be.  I know the following crust recipe seem a bit involved, but with simple ingredients, technique is everything.  It is worth mastering, the crust makes this pie.

3 small lemons, washed, ends cut flat, seeds removed, cut lengthwise

2 cups of sugar

4 eggs, well beaten

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

Powdered Sugar for dusting the top

a pre-made pie crust or follow my mother’s crust recipe below

  • Insert the slicing disc in the food processor
  • Position the lemons in the feed tube so they slice crosswise
  • Combine the sliced lemons with the sugar in a glass bowl
  • Stir the lemon slices until they are well coated with the sugar and let them macerate at room temperature for 24 hours to soften the lemons, stirring them now and then
  • The sugar will become syrupy
  • Combine the lemons and sugar with the eggs, vanilla and the salt
  • Pour into an unbaked pie shell
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes until the crust is brown and the filling is slightly puffed
  • Cool completely before dusting with the powdered sugar
  • Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream, slice this one in thinly, it is very rich.

My Mothers Pie Crust

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ sticks (3/4 C) cold unsalted butter, cut in ¼ to ½” cubes
¼ Cup cold vegetable shortening
½ tsp salt
7-9 Tablespoon ice water
Special equipment:  pastry or bench scraper

  • Blend flour, butter, shortening and salt in a bowl until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small butter lumps.
    Use your fingers, pastry blender or pulse in a food processor
    Drizzle evenly with 7 T ice water and gently stir or pulse until incorporated
  • Squeeze a small handful: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing)until incorporated, then test again.  Don’t overwork or pastry will be tough
  • Turn out onto work surface, divide dough into roughly 8 portions
  • With the heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute the fat
  • Scrape all the dough together into two portions flatten into 2 (5”) disks
  • Wrap separately in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least an hour.  note: Dough can be kept, chilled up to 1 week
  • Roll one of the disks on a floured board to about 1/4″ inch thickness, drape in the pie pan,  and flute the edges

This original sign was used as a cutting board on the back.  Nothing was wasted in the Shaker Commuity

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