One of the super special things about living where we do, as far as we’re concerned, is the quantity of Meyer lemon bushes scattered across Berkeley and Oakland. The fruit is lemony, floral, and not too tart and makes the best lemon curd on Earth. And marmalade. And lemon ricotta pancakes. And cocktails. The zest grated over hot pasta with a touch of bright green first-press olive oil and a dusting of Parmigiano Reggiano? Swoon. And in desserts? Whoa nelly. Meyer lemons are amazing! So, to celebrate this fabulous fruit whose season is in full swing through about the end of March, we offer you a twist on a traditionally delicious pie. The Shaker’s were thrifty people – they kind of had to be, since life was pretty tough and special ingredients like lemons were precious – so they developed this recipe to make use of the entire lemon. While it’s delicious with regular lemons, we think the pie really shines with Meyer lemons. It’s less bitter, a bit more floral, and all together delicious. The kumquats add an extra level of flavor and pretty color contrast to the yellow of the lemon. The most complex part about making the pie is slicing the lemons nice and thin. If you have a few that are a bit thick, just macerate the fruit for a bit longer to soften them up.
- Your favorite double pie crust, unbaked (go for frozen if you hate making crust, just make the pie!)
- 4-5 medium Meyer lemons*
- 3/4 cup kumquats* (or a generous handful)
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1⁄4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 cup (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1-2 tablespoons turbinado sugar for dusting top crust (optional)
Prepare your favorite double pie crust recipe, enough for a 9-inch pie with top crust. Keep crust chilled until you’ve finished preparing the filling.
Slice the lemons and kumquats very thinly, discarding the ends of the lemons, removing the seeds as you go. Add them to a large bowl with the sugar and salt, stirring to coat the fruit completely. Allow the fruit to sit, covered, at room temperature for anywhere from 1 hour to overnight. The longer the fruit macerates, the more tender the rinds will become, so overnight is ideal but not completely necessary.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and flour, then add the butter and whisk until it is fully blended. Stir the egg mixture into the lemons.
Transfer filling to your prepared 9-inch pie crust. Brush the edges of the crust with egg wash or milk (water works in a pinch as well) and add the top crust. Crimp the edges as you like, with a fork or with your fingers. If using, brush the top crust with egg wash, milk, or water and sprinkle turbinado sugar across. Cut slits in the top crust for steam to escape.
Bake the pie for 20 minutes, rotating it once halfway through. Lower the temperature to 350°F and bake it for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and fully baked.
Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour before serving. You want the filling to set up before slicing, so it’s important to wait, even though you’ll want to eat it right away.
*Use organic fruit if possible. If you use non-organic, wash the fruit thoroughly with a fruit wash to remove any possible pesticide residue.