Shaker Lemon Pie

I am by no means a food historian but I think it very well might be a good career option down the road. I absolutely love reading about the history of certain foods; how they came to be and how they've evolved over time. Do you?
I am a lucky girl because often my freelance writing gigs allow me the opportunity to research food history...and get paid for it. Very lucky girl, indeed.

This month, in a cherished Lexington local publication called the Chevy Chaser, I wrote about Shaker Lemon Pie.
Not too far down the road from our little Smith Homestead is Shaker Village~ a dreamy, dreamy place founded by a Shaker community and preserved meticulously. You can eat at the restaurant and for dessert get a slice of this delicious pie.
For the full article, head over to the Chevy Chaser site.
And below...the recipe~

Shaker Lemon Pie
• 3 lemons
• 2 cups water
• 1 3/4 cups sugar
• 1/8 tsp. salt
• 3 eggs
• 1 T. cornstarch
• 2 unbaked pie dough shells (homemade or store bought)
1. Freeze the lemons for 30 minutes until firm. Using a serrated knife, slice lemons very thinly, tossing the ends.
2. Place a strainer over a bowl and begin removing the seeds from the lemon slices over the strainer. Squeeze the juice out of each lemon slice and place them in a saucepan. Repeat with all remaining lemon slices. Reserve the lemon juice collected in the bowl.
3. Add 2 cups of water to the saucepan with the lemon slices and boil for 5 minutes until the lemons are soft. Remove, strain and press the lemon juice through a strainer into a bowl. Toss the liquid (this is the bitter liquid from the rind).
4. Put the strained lemons, sugar, salt and 4 tablespoons of the reserved lemon juice into a mixing bowl. Stir.
5. In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch with the remaining lemon juice. Whisk. Add in the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the sugar-lemon mixture and pour into a chilled, unbaked pie shell.
6. Brush the rim of the bottom crust with cream (this will act as 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 the edges.
7. Brush cream over the entire top of the pie crust and cut 4 slits in the top.
8. Bake the pie on the lower part of the oven for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. After 20 minutes, lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
9. Remove and cool for at least one hour.



  1. Yum!!! Your blog inspires me to step outside of my knowledge (very miniscule as it is) of baking... I've read your blogs about cast iron skillet desserts and consequently had to run out and purchase my own. Can you believe I've been a home cooker living without an iron skillet for 10 years? Anyway, I haven't made your buttermilk cake, but I was inspired to make a peach upside down cake after reading latest Southern Living mag which featured dozens of recipes involving peaches. YUM! I've been to Shaker restaurant a few times and absolutely love their lemon chess pie.

  2. Hmmm, looks so delicious!

  3. I love Shaker's Village! Haven't tried the pie, will make sure to try it next time I visit. Thanks for the tip.

  4. Momuvfour76~ What a compliment! I am so happy this blog inspires you. Thank you! And yes...cast iron desserts. My go-to comfort food. Let me know if you get a chance to try the buttermilk cake recipe. Its a favorite of ours around here~

  5. Thanks Micha! And Nicolle~ its quite tart but oh-so-good.

  6. I tried to make Shaker Lemon Pie using the Shaker Village recipe, and it didn't turn out as nicely as yours did. I think I'm going to have to revisit it...

  7. I've also had this pie at Shaker Village on a visit several years ago. Have never tried to make it but will be pulling out the little paper cookbook I bought and giving it a try now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. I love food history too! I was lucky enough to get a box of old recipes when my husband's grandmother passed away. My favorites are written in her own hand. She also liked clipping recipes from papers and mags. I enjoy your blog and your local articles. I'm from Lexington too!

  9. If you have a mandolin slicer you can make this pie the way the Shaker Sisters did - just paper thin slices of lemon, sugar, eggs and a pastry crust top and bottom. This was the way Bob Jones served it at the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, Ohio (seat of the Shaker's Union Village) for years and years. I'm sure Megan's version is delicious, but I'll stick with the authentic recipe from "The Best of Shaker Cooking" by Amy Bess Miller and Persis Fuller.

  10. Thanks Michelle! I too love the recipes handwritten by my grandmother~ I keep them in a recipe box although I have considered framing some too.

  11. Violet~ Indeed, a mandolin slicer works great. Thanks for the informative comment!

  12. I Love your idea of framing the hand written recipes! I think I will do that and hang them in my kitchen. My husband will be pleased - he was so close to his grandmother! I think it is important to honor the past in small,but important ways.