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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shaker Lemon Pie

when i first signed up for a cooking class in the winter, i had grand visions of learning how to wield a chef's knife properly, of being able to julienne veggies beautifully in a blink of an eye, and most of all, of walking out of this 6 week course with the ability to write my own cookbook. first off, my knife skills are fine, i haven't chopped off a finger yet. 2nd, julienning is overrated. and last, i don't even want to write a cookbook! besides, it takes more than a mini cooking class at a community college to bring forth such a culinary ninja. giada di laurentiis had to start somewhere (it was in paris at le cordon bleu, fyi). basically, i had to set my expectations. the course i signed up for is American Cuisine, just a culinary look into regional american cooking. i realize now that i could've just looked up random recipes from different regions of the country and i'd be set but there is something to be said about being in an actual kitchen classroom, with a professional who knows what they're talking about. yes, there are dishes that i've already played with but there are also dishes that i'd never know about had i not joined. granted, i've only had 3 classes under my belt and this post is about my 2nd class but i can say with conviction that i'm very pleased with this cooking course. i love that the instructor walks us thru the recipe, explaining the ingredients, and also providing the regional history behind the dishes. then she lets us loose to get into groups to prepare the dishes, walking around to provide tips and encouragement. at the end of the night, we all sit around, sampling what we've made.

speaking of the 2nd class, we went to Ohio. i think the instructor thought about going to Chicago but really, how often would one want to hit Ohio? so she chose Cincinati Chili, which i've already tackled. she also decided on the Shaker Lemon Pie. Apparently, Ohio Shakers used to travel by boat to Louisiana to buy lemons. and being notorious for not wasting anything, they used the entire lemon, even the bitter pith. in class, we used meyer lemons, which are sweeter. the key to this pie is slicing the lemons paper thin. for my part, i was excited about using meyer lemons but i was more excited about the handmade pie crust. i hate pie crust with a passion, it just does not work for me. however, the instructor demonstrated how to make it flaky, walking us thru the process. she made the bottom pie crust and let me do the top crust. i need to invest in a pastry blender. i think this kitchen toy will be my next splurge. :) (Fyi, the pie is a 2 day process, plan accordingly)

Shaker Lemon Pie

Shaker Lemon Pie

2 Meyer lemons, washed
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
4 T butter, melted
3 T flour
1 egg white
Course cut sugar
Double crust (recipe to follow)

Finely grate the lemons and place zest in a non-reactive bowl (plastic or glass). Using the slicing blade in the food processor, slice the lemons paper thin. Discard the seeds and trim excess peel.

Add the slices and juice to the zest. Toss with sugar and salt. Cover and set aside for 24 hours at room temperature.

Mix with the eggs, melted butter and flour. Pour into prepared pied shell. Roll out the top crust and place over the pie. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust and crimp edges.

Beat the egg white until frothy and brush over the top. Sprinkle with the course cut sugar. Cut several slits with a knife.

Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. Shield with foil if browning too quickly. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 20 minutes.

Note: you can add 1 tbl. cornstarch to mixture to prevent eggs from curdling under the high heat.

Classic Pie Crust
9" Pie Pan, Single Crust

1 1/3 cup flour
pinch of salt
6 tbl cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tbl cold shortening
3 1/2 tbl ice water (or more as needed)

Mix flour and salt. Add the butter and shortening, using a pastry blender
Mix well until it resembles course meal. Add the water and work into a ball. Only add the additional water if you cannot form a ball. Flatten the ball into a disc. Wrap in wax paper and freeze for about 15 - 20 minutes. Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Gently rest the rolling pin over the pie pan and allow crust to fall into the pan. Smooth the corners and trim excess crust over the edges.

Note: it was warm in the kitchen the night we made the crust, it's best to have the room be cold when making this.

verdict:
i was not a fan of the pie. the crust, yes but not so much the lemony interior. it's a combination of marmalade and lemon curd, both of which i like separately but not so much together. however, i'm pleased to know how to make pie crust properly and i would be interested in playing with meyer lemons again.

Today's Song: Stone Temple Pilots, Sour Girl


6 comments:

  1. This looks great - my husband loves lemon, he'd adore this.

    Pie crust is a pain, and the better the crust is the more of a pain it is. I've finally gotten the technique for my grandmother's down, but it involves several days and lots of cursing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love Meyer lemons. Try making my Meyer lemon shortbread bars. More curd-like with a shortbread cookie crust. Not sure how I'd feel about curd and peel.

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  3. Shakers DID make use of the Erie Canal and products often traveled from one community to the next. Their sister communities in New York, Kentucky and Florida made access to lemons possible.

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  4. Fearless Kitchen, several days?! OMG. i thought the whole freezing for 15 minutes was a pain! :) if i were to ever make this again, i would cut back on the sugar, it was a bit too sweet for my liking. you should def make this for your husband, please let me know your thoughts.

    WC -- i definitely see the meyer lemon appeal and i'd like to play with it some more. i will check out your shortbread bars. like you, i was a bit apprehensive about the use of the peel and srsly, i was right.

    Anonymous -- thank you for the information, my instructor may have mentioned but i didn't note it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Fearless Kitchen, several days?! OMG. i thought the whole freezing for 15 minutes was a pain! :) if i were to ever make this again, i would cut back on the sugar, it was a bit too sweet for my liking. you should def make this for your husband, please let me know your thoughts.

    WC -- i definitely see the meyer lemon appeal and i'd like to play with it some more. i will check out your shortbread bars. like you, i was a bit apprehensive about the use of the peel and srsly, i was right.

    Anonymous -- thank you for the information, my instructor may have mentioned but i didn't note it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. This looks great - my husband loves lemon, he'd adore this.

    Pie crust is a pain, and the better the crust is the more of a pain it is. I've finally gotten the technique for my grandmother's down, but it involves several days and lots of cursing!

    ReplyDelete