Baking has a lot to do with math - proportions, quantities of ingredients, precision all come in handy for optimal results. I seem to end up using extra math in my baking. I'm always reducing a recipe, or increasing it, and I have to multiply or divide ingredient quantities. Or I am using a different type and/or shape of pan and have to calculate areas or volumes. This kind of math is oddly satisfying to me, although I know that it gives most bakers headaches.
But once a year - on March 14 - all bakers get to have FUN with math: it's Pi Day (3/14, get it?) and we can all just bake a pie to celebrate and forget about the actual math if we want!
For this year's big pie holiday, I decided to make a recipe that intrigued me: Shaker Lemon Pie. The distinguishing feature of this pie is that it is made with the entire lemon, rind and all. I had read a lot of recipes for the Shaker Lemon Pie, and many of them stresses what a great pie the Meyer lemons made (and what a tart pie the regular lemons made). Whole Foods was fresh out of Meyer lemons the day I stopped in so I had to make do with regular lemon in my pie. After all, most of the recipes - and I daresay the Shakers themselves - use regular lemons.
- As Deb Smitten explains in her Shaker Lemon Pie post, most recipes for this pie are nearly identical: 2 lemons, 2 cups of sugar, 4 eggs. A variation is to add melted butter and flour, and the recipe I used, from Molly O'Neill's One Big Table, followed this variation. It it similar to the recipe on Smitten Kitchen, but doesn't require zesting the lemon before slicing it, and uses one tablespoon less of both the butter and the flour. Also, the recipe I used calls for an initial oven temperature of 450.
- My favorite part of this Shaker pie version is that it calls for a lattice top crust. It looks so pretty and I like how the crust ends up being variable in thickness, with some parts crisper and other softer.
- For this pie, the lemon is sliced very very thin, and I did this step by hand because my cheapo mandoline doesn't actually slice super thin. My lemon slices macerated in sugar on the countertop for about 8 hours before I put the pie together and bakes it.
- I made a mini pie in 7 pie shell. For the crust I used half a recipe of the Cook's Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough, which I posted here. This time the dough was on the sticky side, which was controllable as long as I refrigerated the dough at every step. Making the lattice top, while not difficult per se, got a little tricky as the dough warmed.