East Coast USA Revisited:
Shaker Lemon Pie Recipe
The day was bright and sunny, the sun kissed my neck as I sat at a long refectory style table bench with a glass of cloudy home-made lemonade and a slice of Shoo-Fly Pie; the county fair was in full swing and besides all the livestock, entertainment and food stalls, there were several people from the local Amish community selling their home-made preserves as well as fresh fruit and veg. I’d been to fêtes in the UK before, but an American County Fair is a little different, although there’s still a tent where all the bakers and cooks vie for the coveted Blue Ribbon (first prize) for one of their home-made entries. There were pots of “bread and butter pickles”, glowing jams and jellies, dill pickles by the dozen as well as cakes, biscuits (scones) and pies, all set out to be tasted and judged, hopefully with a chance of winning that coveted rosette and certificate.
It seems like another life, and I suppose in a way it was, that I lived in Elizabethtown in PA (Pennsylvania) which is in Lancaster County. I was lucky enough to see and meet some of the local Amish community and I remain as fascinated today as I was then about their way of life. As well as the rich agricultural landscape and scenery in PA, there were lakes and woods where I’d picnic with friends, and I never forget the day I saw a group of young Amish girls on a picnic, all dipping their toes in the lake, overlooked and chaperoned by several elders, They clucked and cooed like chickens and doves as they paddled and laughed, there was no need of any swimming attire to immerse themselves fully in the cool water, just paddling in the warm sun seemed to suffice.
But it’s a Shaker recipe I would like to share with you today, brought about as I searched through my recipe clippings and as I reminisced about my time in PA; the Shakers are a religious group that broke away from the Quakers, founded in Great Britain during the 18th Century, many of them settled in the USA where they still have village communities in certain states, notably New England and Ohio. They are known for their simple and frugal lifestyle, hence this pie recipe uses ALL of the lemons, and nothing is wasted. It’s a beautiful pie with an unctuous tangy citrus filling and a crisp crust…..the filling is a cross between a lemon meringue pie filling and lemon curd.
The recipe I am sharing today is my adapted version from an old recipe clipping I had from Saveur magazine – although they have an on-line version here: Shaker Lemon Pie. I was delighted with the results, and even my dessert-hating husband loved it, as it wasn’t too sweet. The essential thing is to make sure that you slice the lemons VERY thinly and allow them to macerate in the sugar mixture overnight – so, you need to plan this pie the day before you want to bake it and serve it. Although it wasn’t a pie that I had enjoyed when I lived in PA, it brought back other happy “citrus” memories……. eating fresh fish with lemons on the Amalfi coast of Italy, as well as grilled sea bream in a little shack in Cyprus, served with a thick butter enriched lemon sauce.
The making of the recipe has also awakened my wanderlust, and I’m hankering for another trip back to the USA, so I can taste my way around some other states I’ve not yet visited; I’d like to visit New Orleans and sit in a bar listening to jazz as I make way through a plate of Jambalaya or devour a Po-Boy, before enjoying a bowl of gumbo. I may have a look at my diary for the rest of the year and treat myself to a “taste and travel” holiday! But for now, I’ll have to make do with a slice of this heirloom pie, with a cup of Yorkshire tea. I hope you enjoy this pie recipes as much as we did, if you make it, PLEASE do leave a comment and let me know if you enjoyed it. Karen
My previous “travel, food and inspire” recipe post:
This pie has been made JUST in time for British Pie Week, 2nd March to 8th March, where you have more excuses to eat more pies, which is always a bonus in my book!