I have been wanting to make this pie forever. I’m not exaggerating – I think I saw this recipe at least four years ago and it’s crossed my mind more times than I can count since then. I’d see my mandoline, or a bin of big, gorgeous lemons at the grocery store, and think, “I have GOT to make that lemon pie!” The only real reason I can think of for not doing it sooner is that I didn’t have a counter to roll out dough for the crust – and it turned out that when I finally did make it, I was pressed for time (and space, and patience) and ended up using store-bought crust.
Did you just click away in a surge of disgusted judgment? It’s okay, I understand and I’m okay with it. If you have more time and a bigger counter, sub in your favorite crust recipe – the original recipe, linked below, has one. Regardless of whether you use scratch-baked awesomeness or a simple refrigerated crust to house it, just make this pie. I’m still kicking myself for waiting four years. There’s a whole list of things I love about this pie:
- It uses whole lemons, peel and all. I love this. Makes me feel all efficient and non-wasteful and stuff.
- I get to use my mandoline (note that you don’t NEED a mandoline for this, like you kind of do with this- thinly sliced with a knife works just as well here)
- It feels sophisticated enough to bring to a snooty dinner party (although I guess I don’t really go to snooty dinner parties) while still being un-fussy enough to crowd around and try a few bites directly out of the pie dish while it cools.
Don’t be afraid of the whole kit and caboodle of the lemons – they macerate in sugar for a full day, and by the time they make it into the pie, any bitterness is long gone. The end result is a perfect mix of tart lemon and sugary sweetness, with a bit of chewiness from the peels surrounded by sweet, zesty lemon curd. And you don’t have to use Meyers – I did because I had just impulse bought (surprise, surprise) two bags of them, but regular lemons will yield the same result (let’s be honest, once you soak something in sugar for a day, you don’t really have to worry about what it was originally).
This is a springtime pie if ever there was a springtime pie. It deserves to cool on the windowsill in a light breeze and be served at a picnic table outside. And it definitely deserves to be made without a four year wait.
- 2 Meyer lemons (or regular lemons)
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- 4 Tbsp (57g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3 Tbsp (25g) all-purpose flour
- 2 prepared pie crusts, or use your favorite double-crust recipe
- Sugar, for the top crust
- Wash lemons and dry thoroughly. Zest the lemons into a medium non-reactive bowl. With a mandoline slicer or sharp knife, slice lemons as thinly as possible, removing the seeds as you go. Add slices to zest and cover with sugar and salt. Stir to combine. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours (I did 24).
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Place one pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate – the edges should slightly overhang the pie plate.
- Whisk together eggs, cooled melted butter, and flour until well-combined. Add to lemon-sugar mixture and stir well.
- Pour the filling into the pie crust. Lay the other pie crust on top of the filling and seal the edges by folding the top crust over the edges of the bottom. Cut several steam vents into the top crust and sprinkle with coarse or regular sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes and reduce the oven heat to 350. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, until crust is golden brown (if the edges are browning too quickly while baking, cover them with foil).
- Cool on a rack for at least an hour – the filling will set as it cools. Serve at room temperature.