Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lemon Two-Crust Pie - my version

I have never been able to make pastry.

I have "hot hands" and come from a line of women who are master pastry queens. My mother makes it in a machine, without thinking, and it's light and flaky every time. My paternal grandmother made it in a bowl with a knife and it was absolutely perfection. Not wanting to let down the family, on either side, I'm willing to give it another go.

I collect old cookbooks, really old, 1800 old. I line them up and read them and enjoy them and smile at the advice for young women sections. It never occurred to me to actually cook something out of them. It's going to be my new gig, I'm going to bring old school back into fashion, well, that's my theory anyway.

I was reading and found a recipe for a lemon custard, two crust pie. I thought it sounded interesting and I bookmarked it. Later, I read about an american 'shaker' style lemon pie that left the rind in. Marmalade pie? I was intrigued to say the least. I rather like lemon meringue pie and tend to make it without any meringue. Kind of like when my husband ordered, on an early date we had, "coconut shrimp without coconut".

I decided to attack the pastry portion of the pie. Before I go any further, it turned out amazing and I am taking myself OFF the "those who fail miserably at pastry" list. Make this stuff, it works!


1 cup of a/p flour
1 stick of cold unsalted butter (cut into teenie weenie cubes)
1 heaping teaspoon of salt.
Blend together with a pastry blender (I have to, hot hands remember) until it looks like peas in the flour.
Add 3T ice cold water and stir with a butter knife!! stir like crazy and it'll come together in clumps or not, if it doesn't, add 1T of ice water at a time and give it another few minutes.

As soon as you can reach in and make a solid snowball from the pastry, grab it together into a ball, cut it in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Toss it into the fridge.


3 medium lemons, washed, dried and sliced as thin as you can possibly slice them. You have to be able to see through these lemon slices. Remove any seeds and throw the slices into a bowl
2cups of sugar
1T salt
stir around, cover and leave it on your counter overnight. Stir it whenever you walk by if you feel like being more involved in the process.

Take the pastry out of the fridge when you are ready to make the pie. Turn oven to 425.

The standard 'shaker' pie leaves the rind in the pie, I don't like rind so I removed it. Carefully strain (pressing out all the juice from the rind) and add 4 eggs, 3T melted butter and 3T flour. Blend well.

Roll out one piece of the pastry to fit a 9inch pie plate. Pour the filling into the pie and cover with the other piece of pastry rolled out. Do whatever you want to the edge, I don't do pretty so mine are always a mess. Cut a slit or two to vent the steam.

Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, lower temperature to 375 and bake 25 minutes, it'll be golden brown. Leave it to come to room temperature and then get into it.

The pie is custard but not really, it makes you think it might be jelly or curd but it's really not. It has a thick but not smooth texture and the flavor is tart and fresh and slightly sweet. I think I like this pie alot.

I think the pastry is out of this world, completely flaky and lovely and as I said, I am off the "fail" pastry list for all time. I'm going to use this pastry to make my meatpie next week (yes, it'll be here) because it has a retro feel and my meatpie is old school. This pastry has no yolks or vinegar or mixtures of shortening or lard, it's flour, salt and butter and the layers explode in the heat of the oven.

I like this pie and hope you do too.



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