While it’s understandable that one might feel compelled to take a hiatus from baking during the summer, some desserts are worth turning on the oven for even if the temperatures are pushing triple digits. One such example is Lemon Shaker Pie, a sweet and tart confection that’s perfect any time of year thanks to its bright, citrusy flavor and flaky crust. Recently, Greenville, South Carolina-based sugar artist Jonathan Caleb—who has garnered a devoted following thanks to his pastel macarons and whimsical cakes (trust us, you check him out on Instagram)—shared his recipe with us, and we can attest that it is a winner. Here’s how to make it at home.
Lemon Shaker Pie
For the pie dough for double crust or lattice pies:
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup ice water
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup ice
For the egg wash:
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- Pinch of salt
- Demerara sugar, for finishing
For the filling:
- 3 Meyer lemons or 3 conventional lemons (Meyer lemons will have a slightly herbal taste)
- 2 cups water
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
To make the pie dough, stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to over blend).
Combine the water, vodka, cider vinegar, and ice in a small bowl. Sprinkle two tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, one to two tablespoons at a time, and mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining.
Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine. Cut the dough in half. Shape into a flat discs, individually wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow. Note: Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for three days or frozen for one month.
Roll out a pie dough disk and line a 9” pie tin. Place in the refrigerator to set firm. Roll out the remaining pie dough disk and trim to a circle 1” larger than your pie tin (use the tin as a template). Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm.
Freeze the lemons for 30 minutes until firm. Using a mandolin slicer, slice lemons on the 2mm setting and discard the ends. Place a strainer over a bowl and remove the seeds from the lemon slices. Forcefully squeeze the juice from the lemon slices and place them in a saucepan. Reserve the lemon juice collected in the bowl.
Combine two cups of water with the squeezed lemon slices in a saucepan and boil for approximately five minutes until the lemons are soft. Remove, strain, and press the lemon slices in a strainer. Discard all the boiled liquid (boiling the sliced lemons removes the bitterness from the pith).
Put the strained lemons, sugar, salt, and four tablespoons of the reserved lemon juice into a mixing bowl and stir. In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch with the remaining lemon juice and whisk. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the sugar-lemon mixture and pour into the chilled, unbaked pie shell.
Brush the rim of the bottom crust with the egg wash (this will act like a glue between both crusts) and gently place the top crust over the pie. Pinch the top and bottom crusts together and fold under. Flute or crimp the edge as desired.
Brush egg wash over the entire top of the pie crust, cut four slits in the top, and sprinkle with demerara sugar to finish. Bake the pie on the lower part of the oven for 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. After 20 minutes, lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. A pie shield may be used to keep the edges from over browning. Remove and allow to cool completely.