Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The Pie and Pastry Bible: Shaker Lemon Pie

This week, the Alpha Bakers are baking up a really lovely looking and delicious Strawberry Shortcake Genoise, but since I want to wait for fresh strawberries I decided to skip this week's bake. Well, I couldn't take a whole week off baking so I decided to do something else. We had a couple of lemons laying around, and since it was Easter weekend, lemons seemed just Springy enough to work. So I decided to try a pie I've been curious about for a long time.


The Shaker Lemon Pie, from another of Rose's books The Pie and Pastry Bible, is a very tart and lemony pie made in the same manner as marmalade. That is, the entire lemon: peel, pith, and juicy segments are macerated in sugar for 24 hours and then all of it is mixed with eggs and baked in a pie crust. Crazy! I had to try it.

lemons, at the beginning of a 24 hour sugar soak
However, I am having such trouble with Rose's Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust that I took a break from it and used Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee. This is a standard workhorse of a pie dough; just flour, butter, salt, and some water. This crust can handle not being chilled before rolling, or not being chilled before baking, or not being chilled when it gets soft while rolling out. This makes it the ideal pastry for me, who does not like to wait more than is necessary for dessert.


Curiously, the pie is begun in a very hot oven but after 15 minutes turned down to 350 for the rest of its bake. This leaves the crust a pale blond color, not the nice crusty brown one expects from a baked pie. I wished I had brushed the top with cream or an egg wash or something to help the browning, plus a sprinkle of sugar would be welcome. Next time.

ready for a top crust

Rose gives instructions on how to slice the lemons super thinly by hand, but Mark encouraged me to use the mandolin slicer. I am afraid of anything that sharp as I'd like to keep my fingertips intact. He coached me through proper mandolin safety and reminded me several times to wear the teflon glove and stop slicing when I got to the pithy end. I did it, but if Mark wasn't home I would have totally sliced the lemons by hand.


I did make a mistake; I didn't read the directions very well and so I sliced up 340 grams of lemon, which it turns out is the weight of the whole lemons before slicing. I only needed about 300g for the pie, so I had 40g more already macerating in the sugar when I noticed. So, I shrugged my shoulders and hoped for the best. If I was smart, I could have figured out how to increase the sugar and eggs but honestly I didn't think of that until right now. Oh well!


This pie is for the ultimate lemon lover, who doesn't mind a bit of bitter. Maybe it wouldn't have been a bit bitter if I had the proper ratio of lemon to sugar, but I actually don't mind. I am always saying that the best part of any citrus fruit is the bitter white pith we are trained to throw away; the pith is where all the flavonoids live! A generous dollop of whipped cream plays really nicely with the Shaker Lemon Pie, as does a creamy cup of coffee or a strong cup of milky black tea. (Which also has flavonoids! You're being so healthy.)


Next week I'm back with the Alpha Bakers as we bake up date-nut meringue cookies. Do go and check out all the Strawberry Shortcake Genoise, they look so pretty and I know they must be delicious. I'll be dreaming of that cake until strawberry season hits.

14 comments:

  1. Looks very good! I only wonder if it is very tart? Like almost as sour as the lemon cranberry tart we made during Beta Bakers days? After that tart, I am wary of anything lemon tart/pie..LOL!

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  2. just wondering what it is called 'shaker'....

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  3. Faithy, the Pie is tart but I'm not sure about very tart, because I love tart and I didn't bake the Lemon-cranberry tart during the test bake so I can't compare :/ there is about 100g more sugar then lemon, if that helps.

    The Shakers were a Christian sect that lived mostly around the Great Lakes and had a waste-not, want-not attitude, hence the desire to use up the entire lemon. This lady has a neat blog post about the history of this pie:

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  4. www.bubbys.com/briefs/shaker-lemon-pie-a-history-and-a-recipe

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  5. look real good jen. lemons are my favorite fruits, and i dont mind bitter -sour at all. happy holiday

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    1. thanks Orin! maybe you should try it out sometime!

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  6. Hi Jen, I made this pie once and it didn't come out nearly as delicious as your looks. Mine was runny somehow. You make me want to try it again. Your final shot is beautiful.

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    1. Thanks Kimberlie! The pie thickened up as it cooled, maybe try it again and wait a bit longer to serve?

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  7. It looks delicious although I'm not a fan of marmalade so I'm not sure I'd like the bitter flavour. I too find the mandolin a bit scary but so much faster than trying to slice thinly by hand. I like the idea of using the whole lemon and a pie with a story is the best kind.

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    1. cream does hide the bitter really nicely, if you do ever feel the urge to try this pie.

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  8. I have always wondered about that pie too! Now that you have baked it, I am still not sure...

    I will be remaking the strawberry Genoise once the local strawberries come into season. The Moroccan ones were about as flavourful as a pink shoe. Though amazing what a bit of sugar and balsamic can draw out of a pink shoe...

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    1. sugar, balsamic and booze! gosh, moroccan strawberries in new zealand, what a carbon footprint! no wonder they tasted like shoe.

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  9. This intrigues me. I have 2 friends who love lemon pie, but hate meringue. I made one of them a lemon curd pie, and they loved it, but I thought it looked a bit... naked. I have to try this, even if they don't end up liking it.

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    1. do try it and blog it! i'm curious what you and your lemon friends would think about it.

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