Shaker Lemon Pie

When I was in middle school, I made my fair share of lemon bars, and
was always dismayed at the piles of lemon carcasses that I had to either
had to pound like mad to make very weak lemonade with, or throw away. It’s too bad; I had read that the pith of citrus is very bitter and should be avoided, both when zesting citrus and making marmalade…Hmm…

When we were in California, I got some amazing lemons from my aunt’s friend’s tree. These lemons were not your typical lemons that have knobbily thick skin and a small core of lemon meat inside the skin. These had the thinnest skin you’d ever seen, were full of lemon meat, and were ever so slightly soft to the touch, an indication of its juiciness. When I cut the first one open, my nose was screaming “FRESH!” 

What could I make with such perfect lemons? How could I make sure I took advantage of their juiciness, fragrance, and non-sprayed skin?

Maybe I have some Shaker in me, because according to my research, they didn’t want to waste food either! This
avoidance of food waste led them to create this pie, hence Shaker Lemon
Pie.This uses whole lemons. No waste. Think of  the perfect intersection of lemon marmalade and lemon curd, and you have Shaker Lemon Pie.

The first time I made this pie was a month ago for Pi(e) Day. The store only had tiny lemons, so I decreased the sugar to 1 1/2 cups. That first pie was more like marmalade than lemon curd. This second time, it was more like lemon curd than like marmalade, which was definitely a product of the lemons that were bleeding juice all over the cutting board as I sliced them. Most grocery store lemons do not have as much juice as the ones I used, so keep that in mind!

This may be my favorite pie now…

Shaker Lemon Pie
adapted from Saveur and Kenji

2 large lemons (ideally from a friend’s tree, but in most cases, organic or unsprayed is nice)
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
4 Tbsp butter, melted
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour 

8 oz all-purpose flour
4.5 oz whole wheat pastry flour (or just 4.5 oz all-purpose)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
20 Tbsp butter (2 1/2 sticks)
6 Tbsp ice water

1. Slice lemons as thinly as possible- either with great knife skills or a mandoline. After slicing them into rounds, pick out and discard any seeds, and cut each round into quarters. Add sugar and salt, mix well, cover, and keep at room temperature overnight. Let the sugar and salt do its magic!

2. Make dough following Kenji’s method. Divide into 2 balls, flatten out. If you make the pie dough the same day as when you slice lemons, feel free to refrigerate. If you make the pie dough the day you want to make the pie, refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling out. 

3. Preheat oven to 425F.

4. Add eggs, butter, and flour to the lemon/sugar/salt mixture. Roll out the first round of dough, making sure to roll out rounds that are about 2 1/2 to 3 inches longer than the diameter of your pie pan. Place the dough in the pie tin, making sure not to pull on the crust. Pour the egg/lemon mixture on top of the crust.

5. Roll our your second round of dough the same size you did with the first and place on top of the egg/lemon mixture. Seal the crust, crimp with a fork, or flute the edges.

6. Use a knife to cut vents in the pie.

7. Bake at 425F for 30 minutes or until the edges of the crust start to brown. Lower the temperature to 350 and bake for 25-30 more minutes, or until both the top and bottom of the crust are brown.

8. Cool for at least 30 minutes before digging in.

Shaker Lemon Pie
Shaker Lemon Pie for Pi Day

shaker lemon pie


  1. Peggy

    could those have been the Meyer lemons?

  2. meggers616

    Hi Mama,
    I don't know! I thought so, but the flesh was so yellow that I didn't think it could be Meyer…not sure anymore 🙁

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