Saturday, September 24, 2005

Real Lemon Pie

Originally uploaded by wanderingcoyote.

Now I am truly back in business. I dug out my camera software from the depths of my little closet and installed it on this staff computer. Now you'll be seeing more of my creations!

I'm sure you're reading the title and groaning because it is yet another lemon/citrus recipe. Well, tough! I served this for staff dinner last night and it was fantastic. Not only did it look wonderful, it was bursting with lemony flavour. This is a simple recipe with few ingredients. I hope you like it.

Real Lemon Pie


4 thin-skinned lemons (I don't know how you tell a thin one from a thick one without cutting it first, but I just used what I had on hand)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs

Shortcrust Pastry

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
150g (5oz) chilled unsalted butter, chopped
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 - 4 tbsp cold water

1 egg, beaten, for glazing

1. Wash the lemons. Slice 2 unpeeled lemons very thinly and remove the seeds. Peel the other lemons, removing all pith and seeds, and slice the flesh thinly. Put all this in a bowl, not metallic, with the 2 cups of sugar and mix well, coating all the lemon with sugar. Cover and refrigerate over night.

2. Preheat oven to 350F. For the pastry, sift together the salt and the sugar. Sable in the butter. (Remember what sable means, from the previous post? No? Ok. Rub the butter in with your fingertips - quickly so it doesn't melt.)

3. When you have a cornmeal-like consistency, add the water, one tablespoon at a time and toss gently with a fork. Add just enough water so that the dough comes together and is rollable. Divide in half and roll out 2 10 inch circles.

4. Lightly grease a 9" pie plate. Line the pie plate with one disk of dough; cover and chill. Somehow chill the other disk of dough, too; I put it into a second pie plate for easy tranferring.

5. Beat the eggs well and add the lemon slices, mixing gently but thoroughly. Pour the filling into the shell and put on the "lid." Crimp the edges to seal them. Decorate the top with pastry scraps. Brush on the beaten egg you reserved for the glaze, and bake until golden brown - 55 minutes to an hour. But keep an eye on it. Let it cool completely before serving.

Notes to the Readership

- this is a great shortcrust recipe that comes out crisp and cookie-like. It can be used for other pies and tarts as well. Be sure to add the water gradually as I described because it shouldn't be sticky or wet. Neither should it be too dry so it's difficult to roll out. Also, be sure not to work your flour too much or else you'll get a tougher pastry.
- letting the lemons sit in the sugar overnight draws out the liquid from the fruit. This, combined with the eggs, creates a custard-like filling, so don't skip this step.

Questions? Comments? You know the drill.


ann said...

this looks FABULOUS! i have to make it.

Isabella di Pesto said...


Haven't been around for a while. (Don't ask.)

This looks devine.

You can neve NEVER have too many citrus recipes.

I'm making this tomorrow.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Isabella di Pesto said...


I made the lemon pie last night. The crust was perfect, but the filling ended up looking and tasting like lemon marmelade. I used the correct number of eggs and lemons, and absolutely "marinated" the lemons overnight in the the sugar.

Any idea what could have gone wrong?

Or maybe the pie should taste like lemon marmelade?

Wandering Coyote said...

Isabella: it depends on what you mean by "lemon marmalade". Are you talking about appearance, taste, or texture? It shouldn't have been clear like marmalade, but I would have expected some toughness of the skins, as happened with mine. Was it too sweet like marmalade? I think I'll need a few more details before I can ascertain what went wrong.

Was it palatable? Did you dislike it? Did your guests dislike it?

Isabella di Pesto said...

I guess I was expecting the lemon slices to somehow disintegrate into a custard-like lemon filling, like the lemon squares I've made.

There was an unevenness of taste, sometimes really tart, sometimes not, but I imagine that's because of the lemons I used. And I probably didn't slice them thin enough.

I'm not sure it was a failure as much as something I wasn't expecting.

I'm still eating it. No. I did not dislike it. I was just not prepared for the texture of the filling, I guess.

Wandering Coyote said...


This IS a very unusual pie for most of us. We're not accustomed to eating lemon peel for one thing. I don't think you did anything wrong; it's not supposed to dissolve into a custard as in the lemon square. The thinner the better with the lemons, though.

I'm not sure it was a failure as much as something I wasn't expecting.

-- I suspect you've hit the nail on the head with that statement.

Mine was very tart and lemony and next time I'm going to use less lemon because it was too much even for me, and I generally love strong lemon flavour. It's something I want to tinker with because this is a recipe worth keeping in my repertoire, so I'll keep you posted as I experiment further.

Mark Spurrier and Barbara Anne Patch said...

oh CAN'T have too many lemon recipes!

tshsmom said...

This is GREAT! I love lemon pie, but I HATE meringue. This is a terrific option. Thanks!

mister anchovy said...

I love lemon everything! (and meringue is fine too, thank you very much)


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