Shaker lemon pie - what a pleasure! The virtue of Shaker pies, like their furniture, lies in 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 cannot claim any kind of originality here. This is a basic, classic recipe; pretty much every Shaker lemon pie recipe will have the same proportions of lemons, eggs, and sugar. But since we promised the recipe yesterday, here it is.
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.
We were caught without enough eggs and only used three; the pie turned out just fine.
Thinly slice the lemons - as shaved 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" 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 or whipped cream are both heavenly with it.
(Images: Faith Hopler)