by Faith Durand
The virtue of Shaker pies, like Shaker furniture, is their simplicity and straightforward character. And simplicity is this pie's crowning glory: jammy, tart, sweet, brilliant Meyer lemons spilling out of a flaky, buttery crust.
We adore Meyer lemons in this pie. It's like eating fragrant, bergamot-touched marmalade, oozing yellow sun from between two flaky pie crusts. The lemons bake up jammy and tender -- not too sour, and not too sweet.
Interestingly, the last time I made this I was caught without enough eggs and only used three; the pie turned out just fine.
Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie Recipe
Makes one 9-inch double crust pie.
3-4 Meyer lemons
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 recipe Basic Pie Crust (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Egg white for wash (optional)
Sugar for top
Thinly slice the lemons -- shave them as thin as you can get them! Use a mandoline if you have one. Pick out any seeds. Toss with the sugar and salt and set aside.
Heat oven to 450 F. Grease a 9-inch pie dish or tart pan. Roll out half the dough into a circle, flat between two pieces of wax paper. Peel off the top layer of wax paper. Place your pie dish upside down on the pie dough round, and carefully flip the pan and dough over. Peel away the wax paper on that side and carefully press the dough into the pan. Using a knife or shears, trim away the extra dough so that there is a half inch of dough above the lip of the pan. Tuck under and roll this extra dough, and pinch tight to the side of the pan. Put in the freezer to chill.
Roll out the rest of dough between two pieces of wax paper and put in the freezer to chill.
Beat the eggs well and stir into the lemons with the vanilla. Remove the chilled pie crust from the freezer and pour in the lemons.
Place the other round on top and trim to fit. Pinch seal the edges and cut a few slits on the top to let out steam. Brush with egg white and sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top. Put back in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.
Take out pie and bake on the lowest rack for 15 minutes at 450 F. Turn the heat down to 375 F and move to the center rack. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the crust is golden. If the crust edges begin browning too much, cover with parchment.
Let cool for at least half an hour before eating, but note that this is very good warm! Vanilla ice cream and whipped cream are both heavenly with it.
Basic Pie Crust
Makes dough for three 9-inch crusts.
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons fine white sugar (optional)
1 cup chilled butter
1/2 cup chilled shortening
1/2-3/4 cup ice cold water
Prepare 3 large pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper by misting lightly with baking spray.
Mix the flour, salt and sugar, if using. Cut the butter into fine chunks with a knife. Shake into the bowl with the flour. Drop the shortening in by teaspoons. Using the tips of your fingers, quickly work the fat into the flour, pinching and squeezing and rolling each piece of butter lightly.
When most of the butter and shortening is no larger than a large pea or lima bean, stop. Some chunks will still be irregular, but it should mostly be all rubbed together. All fat should be coated with flour.
In drips and drops, pour in the water, stopping after the first half cup. Quickly with your hands try to draw the dough together into a ball. If big clumps still fall off or crumble, add water just until it comes together and you can pick the whole lump up in your hands. Do not mix it any more than this - just draw it together gently.
Separate into three pieces and gently press into thick disks. Wrap each in the prepared paper and put in the fridge for at least an hour, or in the freezer until chilled through.
To pre-bake, roll out a disk of dough between two sheets of waxed paper. Press into a greased pie dish. Trim off the edges and pinch close to the rim. Put back in the refrigerator or freezer until chilled, and heat the oven to 375 F. Take the pie shell out of the fridge and prick the bottom several times with a fork. Bake on the bottom oven rack for 18-20 minutes or until baked but not browned.
Dough can be well-wrapped and frozen until needed.
Dessert Recipe, American Cuisine