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The Season of Citrus!

With so many foods now available to us year round, we sometimes forget about the last few seasonal treats that are most defiantly worth waiting for. My favourite of the winter season being the meyer lemon. A cross between a lemon and a mandarin, the meyer lemon is a slightly smaller, slightly more fragrant lemon that lends itself beautifully to a wide variety of tasty dishes. From fish and chicken, to a myriad of delicious desserts, it is no wonder we go crazy when the meyers hit the stands.

One of my favourite desserts to make is a Shaker lemon pie. Not only is it one of the easiest lemon pies I’ve come across (no custard, no meringue!) but it has a beautiful texture and a tartness my family goes crazy for.

Shaker Lemon Pie

2 large lemons (Meyre Lemons are great here!)
2 cups sugar
¼ tsp. salt
4 eggs
4 tbsp. butter, melted
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

For the crust:
½ tsp. table salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
5 oz. (10 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

5 oz. (10 Tbs.) Tenderflake (lard)

1 Tbsp Vodka

Ice cold water

  1. The filling: Thoroughly wash lemons, then dry with paper towel. Finely grate lemon zest into a bowl using a microplane. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice lemons very thin and remove seeds. Roughly chop the lemon slices a few times just to avoid any large strings in the pie. Add slices to zest and toss with sugar and salt. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 24 hours.
  2. The dough: In a small bowl, stir the salt into vodka and enough ice water to egual 2/3 cup. Put the flour in a food processor and scatter the butter and lard on top. Pulse until the mixture forms large crumbs and the fat is pea sized (about 8 pulses) Add the salt water and pulse until the dough begins to come together in large clumps, about 7 pulses. **You may not need all the water**. Divide the dough into 2, 1-inch-thick disks and tightly wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°. Whisk eggs in bowl until frothy. Add butter and flour, whisking until smooth. Stir into lemon mixture.
  4. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into two 12″ rounds. Fit one round into a 9″ pie plate and pour in filling. Cover pie with remaining pastry round. Fold edges of dough under, then crimp edges. Cut steam vents in top crust. Bake until edges begin to brown, about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake until crust is golden brown, 25–30 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

A few notes:

Use your favorite pie crust! This one just happens to be mine! It’s a combination of Fine Foods and Cooks Illustrated.

Though the mild floral quality of the meyere lemons are tasty, a squirt of regular lemon juice will add some much needed acidity.

Meyres can be a little tricky to find sometimes, their season runs from late December to early april, and I have found them most consistently at Costco.