2 large lemons (or 5–6 small ones)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
prepared pie crust for a double-crust pie
- Slice the lemons cross-wise (to make circles), rind and all, as thinly as possible, removing seeds as they appear. It's more important that the slices are thin than that the slices are perfect circles.
- Place the lemon slices in a bowl, alternating a layer of lemons with one of sugar. Mix the two. Let the sugar-and-lemons mixture stand in a refrigerator at least three hours, overnight if possible. Stir occasionally.
- Line a pie pan with half the pastry.
- Mix the four eggs and the vanilla with the lemons and sugar, then pour into the pie crust.
- Cover and seal the pie with the remaining pastry. Make small vents in the top crust.
- Cook the pie for fifteen minutes in a pre-heated oven at 450 F. then reduce the temperature to 375 F. and cook for about another 25–35 minutes, or until the blade of a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Thinner-skinned, sweeter lemons, work best; I prefer Persian lemons, or Meyer's lemons. Limes can also be good. A serrated knife may work best for slicing the lemons thinly. The pie is even better served slightly warm.
The "authentic" Shaker pie doesn't use vanilla; I think it adds a nice touch, but I've also used vanilla sugar. I suspect that the Shakers favored this recipe because it doesn't waste any of the lemons; only the seeds are discarded.