My friend Linda recently made “Slices of Lemon Pie” from my first cookbook written in 1984 (more about that first cookbook after the recipe). I thought it would be fun to resurrect the recipe. A bit of tweaking was necessary since I have learned so much over the last 37 (YIKES) years! The pie uses the entire lemon for intense lemon flavor, making it the perfect dessert for die-hard lemon lovers!
I have not made this pie since we closed the restaurant in 1998. The pie is a variation of Shaker Lemon Pie. Shakers are best known for their simple living philosophy (and beautiful furniture) and Shaker cooks waste nothing. This pie is a perfect example of that. Although I knew the recipe would need updating, it was important for me to do so without over-complicating it. Shaker Lemon Pie uses the entire lemon – peel, pith, and inside flesh. I find this too “pithy”. The bitterness is difficult to tame, even after a 24-hour maceration process. Biting into a slice of lemon, peel, pith and all, was not desirable. My recipe zests the lemons, removes just the outside pith and then uses the whole pith-free lemon. The end result is a filling bursting with zingy lemon flavor but without the lip-puckering quality of some lemon desserts and no bitterness. The uncooked filling is baked between two flaky layers of pie crust. The scrumptious filling is a cross between lemon curd and marmalade. A perfect summer dessert, tart, light, and totally refreshing.
Slices of Lemon Pie
- Pie Crust for 9” Double Crust
For the Filling
- 2 large (or 3 small) lemons
- 1¾ cups sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 eggs beaten
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 egg white, beaten for brushing inside and top of pie crust
- Preheat oven to 375° convection.
- Roll out a little more than half of your pie crust dough and line a 9” pie dish, 1½” deep. Do not use a deep pie dish.
- Brush the inside of the crust with beaten egg white (reserve the remaining for the top crust) and chill while preparing the filling. The filling for the pie is very liquid and this will help keep the bottom crust from getting soggy.
- Roll out the other piece of dough and set aside.
- Wash and zest the lemons. You can use a microplane or citrus zester. If you don’t have either of these handy tools, a box grater will also work. The lemons can also be peeled with a vegetable peeler and finely chopped. Whatever method you use, remove only the brightly colored skin.
- Cut the ends of the lemons off down to the flesh.
- Using a vegetable peeler or knife, remove all of the pith from the zested lemons down to the flesh.
- Cut the lemons in quarters vertically. Remove all of the seeds and the piece of pith that runs through the middle of the lemon. Slice the quartered lemons very thinly using a sharp knife or a serrated knife. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, salt and flour. Add the lemon zest, beaten eggs, and melted butter and whisk together well.
- Stir in the lemon slices and any juices and mix together.
- Pour into the chilled pie crust, making sure the lemon pieces are evenly distributed.
- Cut some steam vents in the top crust before carefully placing crust on the filling. The filling is so liquid it is difficult to cut the vents once the crust is placed on top.
- Trim and crimp the crust. Brush the top crust with the remaining egg white and sprinkle with sanding sugar or regular sugar.
- Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes. If the crust is getting too brown, reduce the heat 25°. The filling must be bubbling – you should be able to see it through the steam vents of your pie. The top of the pie should feel firm.
- Cool thoroughly before cutting.
The Original D’Amico’s Cookbook
At the request of my customer’s, D’Amico’s cookbook was written in 1984, one year after D’Amico’s Café was opened. In 1985, I also wrote a supplement to the cookbook, adding several more restaurant recipes. My friend Bernie (Bernie Baker Architect), who happens to be married to Linda, illustrated the cookbook. He also designed D’Amico’s Café. I am very happy to know so many of you still use the cookbook today.