The recipe comes from the November 1993 issue of Gourmet (yes, I'm still working through the stack of old issues). I'm not convinced this recipe comes from the Shakers as it is a bit on the fussy side for people who prefer their lives rather unadorned. I'm not even sure there are any Shakers left (maybe a few?) as they stopped admitting members years ago and take vows of celibacy-not exactly the best way to keep the group thriving. Anyway, genuinely Shaker or not, this pie was as big a pain in the ass as it was in 1993 when my husband tried making it the first time.
I was sure he did something incorrectly and that accounted for the mediocre crust and overall pie. My crust may have turned out marginally better but only due to the years of experience I've had handling very soft pastry. That said, I still had a difficult time rolling it out. I would caution readers that should you attempt this pie, you might wish to substitute your own pate brisee recipe. This one is not impossible, by any means, though it is frustrating.
You Will Need:
1 ¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
(For the pate brisee)
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
½ teaspoon salt
The day before:
In a large pot, blanch the lemons for 30 seconds in boiling water. Run under cold water and drain. Slice as thinly as possible and place in a bowl. Cover with sugar and let sit 1 hour. Stir once and then let sit 8 hours or overnight.
The next day:
Make pate brisee by cutting shortening/butter into the flour and salt. Add water until it comes together in a ball. Wrap in waxed paper and chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Roll out bottom crust and place in pie pan. Arrange lemon slices in crust. To the sugar, add the eggs and salt, whisking until well mixed. Pour over lemons. Place top crust on and make slits for steam. Place in the centre rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and bake 20-25 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature.