Monday, May 23, 2011

Momer's Cigar Box: Shaker Lemon Pie

My great-aunt Willa (left) and my grandma, Momer.

In this installment of Momer's Cigar Box, I'm using a recipe from my great aunt, Willa Bennett. Aunt Willa is from Birmingham Alabama but moved to Hawaii when her husband took a job at Pearl Harbor. After he retired, they moved to Lanai, then finally to Missouri where her son lived. She died at age 84, leaving behind a recipe for Shaker Lemon Pie.

This recipe intrigued me because it uses whole lemons, rather than just the juice. I've never seen anything like it so had to give it a try.

Shaker Lemon Pie
2 large lemons
2 cups superfine sugar
4 eggs
pastry for a 9" 2-crust pie

Wash and dry lemons; slice into paper-thin slices. Remove seeds. Sprinkle with sugar and toss gently to cover all slices. Let stand at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours. Stir occasionally. Prepare pastry; line 9" pan. Combine beaten eggs with lemon mixture and pour into unbaked pie shell. Cover with top crust that has been slashed for steam escape. Bake 15 min at 450 degrees. Lower to 350 and bake 30-35 minutes longer. Serve warm. 8 servings. 422 calories per serving. (Recipe is from Redbook Magazine, August 1976.)

Janet's notes:
I used 3 medium lemons and let it sit about 6 hours. Since I knew all the lemon slices would show, I opted for one crust instead of two so it would look pretty--plus, two crusts just sounded like it would be so dry. I put whipped cream instead of the top crust.

What I Did Wrong: Sliced the lemons too thick. I was trying to slice as thin as possible while keeping them in rounds. Next time I won't worry about the look of the lemons, since the look of lemon slices in a pie is striking anyway and some of the slices were tough.

Verdict: I loved this. I love tart things and the filling was sour enough to be refreshing but still sweet, and the lemon peel gave it a tiny bit of bitterness that my husband didn't care for, but that I liked. This would be a showstopper at your next summer picnic or dinner party. Email for my address so you'll know where to send the invitation.


  1. Ooooo, this looks awesome! May have to try it out :D

  2. This looks delicious - Hunky would devour it, lemons are his favorite!

  3. Thanks for the tips. I am going to get out my mandoline and give this one a try. Looks delicious!

  4. Thanks for the recipe, it was pretty hard to find!