Shaker Lemon Pie

Behold: the Shaker Lemon Pie!

The beautiful thing about night-time baking is it's quiet, so I can concentrate and enjoy what I am doing (without three kids running around like maniacs), and I get pie for breakfast!

I'll admit that maybe I spend too much time on Facebook and when I acquired these lemons they were the subject of days of online debate. In the end I got some great suggestions on how to use them.

The one that really stuck out was Shaker Lemon Pie. I had tried it once a very long time ago, back in my pie junky days when I could call two pieces of pie a meal. However, I was less than satisfied with the results.

The earlier pie, using regular lemons, was too bitter and sour.  I decided it didn't have to be that way so I set out to make that pie more palate friendly.

While I haven't been a pie junky in a long while, I shamelessly tucked into this pie for breakfast. I can proudly say that the Shaker Lemon pie now has comfortably earned a permanent seat in my pantheon of favorite pies.

Recipe yields one 9-inch pie.

You will need to prep the filling at least 24 hours before baking; the lemons and the sugar need time to macerate.

  • 2 large Meyer lemons
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Thoroughly wash lemons, then dry with paper towel. Finely grate zest of one of the lemons into a bowl. Take any extra pith off the zested lemon with a peeler or sharp knife.

Slice both lemons as paper thin as you can and discard any seeds. You can use a mandolin, but I am using a very sharp knife.

[Mandolins terrify me, doubly when citrus is involved. - ed. ]

You can practice this by thinly slicing onions or heads of cabbage.

Once sliced, add them to the zest and toss with sugar and salt. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours.

Cue montage: 24 hours pass.

Now, it's time to make the crust.

I avoid wheat because I am sensitive to gluten, and I was not about to miss eating this pie!

I made my crust with Pamela's Gluten Free Bread Flour (a mix of Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour, Sweet Rice Flour and Brown Rice Flour). You can use your all purpose flour if you are not sensitive to gluten. Be careful not to overwork the dough.

This is my standby recipe for pie crust:
  • 3 1/2 Cup  Pamela's Gluten Free Bread Flour or All purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter cubed and divided in half and very cold (I stick mine in the freezer while I'm getting every thing else together)
  • 1/4c sugar
  • 1tsp salt

In your food processor add:

Flour, sugar, salt, and 1/2 cup cubed butter. Pulse then add the other 1/2 cup, keeping pea sized bits of butter.

Turn out of the food processor in to large bowl. Fold in 1 tablespoon vodka or white vinegar and gradually pour in 1/4 cup (or less) of ice water and mix with a wooden spoon until it starts to stick together a little bit, but there are still some dry bits. It will look like this.

It's important not to overwork your dough or it will become rubbery and you will not have a flaky, delicate crust. To avoid this I use a gallon sized zip top bag, put the dough in there and press it down. Once it's pressed I make an indent at the halfway point and put it in the fridge for at least a half hour.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Roll out half the dough 1/4-1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. Fit it into a 9-inch (1-quart) pie plate. Trim the edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.

Now for the filling. You'll need:
5 eggs (separate the yolk from one of the eggs and set it aside in a small cup)
1/4 cup melted butter,
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour (or if you're avoiding wheat, use 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water to remove lumps)
1 tablespoon raw sugar

Whisk the eggs plus the extra egg white together in a medium bowl and add to the macerated lemon-sugar mixture. Add melted butter and cornstarch or flour until combined well using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Pour into prepared pie shell. I should have taken a picture here... sorry I forgot :(

Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Drape it over the filling and trim it, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Gently pinch the overhang of the two crusts together to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively. Mix the remaining egg yolk and 2 tablespoons cream together and brush over pie crust, then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut slits in the crust with a sharp knife, forming steam vents.

Bake the pie in the middle of the oven at 425°F for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake the pie for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. If you slightly jiggle the pie you don't want to see the custard sloshing under the top crust. It should be firm. Let the pie cool completely on a rack and serve at room temperature.


Happy Baking ~ 99% Bittersweet


  1. When can we expect that instructional video? I imagine your youngest would have a good time demonstrating the concept of docking.


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