Shaker Lemon Pie

Mitchell Davis

James Beard Foundation, NYC

“Made with whole lemons, this traditional Shaker pie has an intense lemon flavor. The trick is to slice the lemons as thin as possible so that they almost disintegrate. I use a sharp mandoline and slice the lemons crosswise into rounds, removing the seeds as I go along. But if you don’t have one, use a very sharp knife, cut the lemons in half lengthwise, place them cut side down on the cutting board, and slice them crosswise as thin as possible. If you can find fragrant Meyer lemons, they make a superb pie.” –Mitchell Davis


  • 2 lemons, rinsed, dried, ends removed, and sliced paper thin, seeds removed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Pie dough for two 9-inch crusts, well chilled
  • 4 large eggs


Place the lemon slices in a medium bowl and toss with the sugar. Allow them to sit and macerate at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll about two thirds of the dough into an 11-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Carefully transfer this dough to line an 8 to 9-inch pie plate. Trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold this overhang under the edge of the crust to reinforce it. Line the crust with aluminum foil, fill with dried beans, rice, or pie weights, and bake for 10 minutes, until the crust begins to set. Remove the beans and foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes, just until the crust is set. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Turn down the oven temperature to 400ºF.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with 1/4 cup water until light and frothy, 2 or 3 minutes. Pour the eggs over the lemon and sugar mixture and mix well. Roll the remaining crust on a lightly floured work surface into a circle 10 inches in diameter. Pour the lemon mixture into the prebaked piecrust. Transfer the dough to the top of the pie and trim so that there’s less than 1/2 inch of dough overhanging. Tuck the overhang between the pie plate and the edge of the crust. Poke two or three holes in the top crust to allow steam to escape, and set the pie in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350ºF and continue baking for 25 to 30 more minutes, or until the crust is very nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving.


One 9-inch covered pie, enough for 8 to 10 servings