Description: Food Network Kitchen's Shaker Lemon Pie.
Recipe courtesy of Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen

Shaker Lemon Pie

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 day 2 hr (includes macerating the lemons and cooling times)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: One 9-inch pie (8 servings)
This regional pie comes from Pleasant Hill, Kentucky (also known as Shakertown), which is in the Bluegrass region of the state. It’s become a staple dessert in this part of the country not only because of its super-flaky pie dough and intense citrus filling, but also because it uses pantry ingredients and limits waste. What makes Shaker lemon pie so unique is that it uses whole lemons - peel, pith, juice and flesh. This involves slicing the lemons paper-thin and macerating them with sugar and vanilla for at least a whole day. The result: A tangy, chewy filling that’s every lemon-lovers dream. Vanilla extract is not traditional in this pie, but we like how it rounds out the sharpness of the lemons and adds a subtle and familiar flavor. We also suggest serving this pie with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream to make it even more luxurious.

Ingredients

Lemons:

Pie Dough:

Filling:

Whipped Cream:

Directions

  1. For the lemons: Trim the ends of the lemons, then quarter each lemon lengthwise. Using a sharp knife, very thinly slice the lemons; they should be paper-thin. Discard any seeds. Transfer the slices and any juices to a medium bowl and toss with the sugar and vanilla until all the sugar is moistened. Cover and refrigerate, stirring every so often, until the lemons have softened and start to turn translucent and the sugar is mostly dissolved, at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours.
  2. For the pie dough: Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and process until the largest pieces of butter are pea-size. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Combine the vodka, vinegar and 4 tablespoons of ice water in a small bowl. Drizzle the wet ingredients over the dough, then mix with a fork until shaggy pieces form. Knead the dough in the bowl with your hands a couple of times until it comes together (it will be dry, which is fine).
  4. Transfer the large clumps of dough to a work surface. Drizzle 1 tablespoon ice water over any remaining smaller bits of dough in the bowl and knead again to bring it together. If the remaining dough is still too dry to come together, add more ice water 1 tablespoon at a time. Add to the dough on the work surface and press together into a single mass, incorporating any dry bits. Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick block.
  5. Divide the block into 4 pieces with a bench scraper or knife. Stack the pieces on top of one another, tucking any unincorporated dry bits in between the layers. Flatten the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick block. Repeat this process (cutting, stacking and flattening) 3 more times; this creates layers of butter in the dough that produce a wonderfully flaky crust.
  6. Divide the dough in half and form into 1-inch-thick disks; wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 3 hours and preferably overnight.
  7. Once the lemons have macerated and the pie dough has chilled, place a rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.
  8. For the filling: Take the macerated lemons out of the refrigerator and whisk in 4 of the eggs, the cornstarch and salt until well combined. Set aside while you roll the dough.
  9. Roll out 1 disk of dough on a lightly floured surface or on a piece of parchment into a 12-inch round (about 1/4-inch thick). Ease the dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Pour the lemon filling over the crust. Repeat the rolling with the remaining dough, then carefully place it on top of the filling. Trim the edges, leaving a 1-inch overhang, then tuck the overhanging dough under itself; crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers.
  10. Whisk the remaining egg with a splash of water in a small bowl, then brush all over the pie dough. Finally, cut 4 small slits in the center of the pie to release steam while baking.
  11. Place the pie directly on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and continue to bake until the crust is deep golden-brown all over and cooked through and the filling is set, about 1 hour 15 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. For the whipped cream: While the pie is cooling, combine the cream and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until it is light, fluffy and holds soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  13. Cut the room temperature pie into wedges and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.) The pie dough can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated, or frozen for up to 3 months.