Sunday, May 4, 2008
So I saw this recipe the other day, and it looked interesting. Lemon pie.
Not lemon meringue pie, which is wicked complicated; but lemon pie. I think it was in the Portland Press Herald. It was in a story about the Shakers, a marvelously simple community of brilliant engineers. But more on that later. This is about pie.
Seems that lemons were one of a very short list of things that the Shakers actually purchased from outside. Everything else they grew or made themselves.
But this recipe. Oh, man.
Not sweet like the old meringue version, not puckery like rhubarb, but somewhere delightfully in-between.
And the recipe? Shaker simple, baby.
Take two large lemons and slice them super thin, SKINS ON!!! pick out the seeds. Put the slices in a bowl with two cups of sugar and mix them around (gently - don't smash the slices). Leave them for a couple of hours, more is better. I sliced in the morning, then baked at night. Stir them around every so often.
Make a regular two-crust pie crust. For god's sake, don't buy one - for this recipe it would be blasphemy.
Beat the hell out of four large eggs. (I whizzed them in the magic bullet.) Mix them in with the lemons and sugar, then put into the pie shell. Make sure the slices lay as flat as you can or it will get weird. Put on the top crust, seal it up and slice a few vent holes in the middle.
Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, then turn the oven back to 375 and bake for about 20 more minutes. You can stick a knife in to check it - when it comes out clean, it's done.
Let it cool before you serve or it'll be soup. We stuck ours in the fridge overnight.
The rinds on the lemon slices get candied after all that time in the sugar and the eggs give it just enough body to be short of custard, but creamier than a gelatin. It is utterly divine.
'tis a gift to be simple.