Friday, April 10, 2020

Making Pie -- and Memories

One of my favorite childhood memories is 'helping' my grandmother cook and especially when she was making pastry -- probably for a chicken pie. She would  put leftover scraps of pastry on a cookie sheet and let me sprinkle them with sugar, then bake them for me to enjoy.  I've been wanting to do this with Josie and at last I did.

She was eager to help--a little too eager at times as I tried to roll out the pastry and little fingers kept creeping onto the countertop during the tricky maneuver of getting the pastry into the pie pan in one piece. I probably got a little fussy. I definitely got quite floury and buttery.

But she was great at the sugar sprinkling part and, after a brief moment of skepticism, decided the little pastry bits were 'scrumptious and yumptious."

I couldn't get pictures of much of the ordeal  preparation for reasons that may occur to you. But not only did I get to recreate my memory, the Shaker Lemon Pie, from a recipe I found HERE, may be my favorite pie ever. It's definitely the best pie crust. The filling is like lemon curd, with thin slices of lemon in it. Very sweet and very tart at the same time. And the buttery crust was still spectacular and flaky after being in the refrigerator for several days.

Yield: serves 8 

·    2 cups sugar
·    14 tsp. kosher salt
·    2 large lemons, zested and thinly sliced, seeds discarded
·    4 eggs
·    4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
·    3 tbsp. flour 
·    34 cups flour, plus more
·    10 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
·    2 tbsp. vegetable shortening
·    1 tsp. kosher salt
·    5 tbsp. ice-cold water 
INSTRUCTIONS: Note! Step one must be done the day before you make the pie!

1.    Start the filling: Toss sugar, salt, and lemon zest and slices in a bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
2.    Make the crust: Pulse flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a food processor into pea-size crumbles. Add water; pulse until dough forms. Divide dough in half and flatten into disks; wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.
3.    Finish the filling and bake the pie: Heat oven to 425°. Whisk eggs in a bowl until frothy. Whisk in melted butter and 3 tbsp. flour; stir into reserved lemon mixture. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 disk dough into a 12" round; fit into a 9" pie plate. Trim edges using a knife, leaving 1" dough overhanging edge of plate; pour in filling. Roll remaining disk dough into a 12" round and place over top of pie. Pinch top and bottom edges together and fold under; crimp edges and cut 5 steam vents in the top crust. Bake until crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 350°; bake until golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.


KarenB said...

I can remember doing the same when my mother baked a pie. We sprinkled the pastry bits with cinnamon sugar. And that pie sounds delicious!

Barbara Rogers said...

My childhood memories of pie crust scraps, which I passed along to at least one of my children, was to roll a ball of all the scraps together, then flatten that and then cut strips, which were covered with sugar and cinnamon and then rolled up into pinwheels and baked. Oh they were almost as good as the pie. Well, to us kids anyway!

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

Shaker lemon pie has been one of our favorites since having it at Pleasant Hill Shaker Village more than 40 years ago. Getting the slices thin enough is the secret.

Vicki Lane said...

Hey, Jim, good to hear from you! Yes, my slices could have been thinner--and will be next time.

Sandra Parshall said...

A marvelous pie, and the leftover crust from any pie can be baked into treats, either sprinkled with sugar and made into tiny layered pastries with jam or other “fillings.” Maybe Josie will soon reach a point where she can handle the leftovers while leaving you to manage the pie itself. Putting sugar and cinnamon in a salt shaker and giving her a jar of jam with a tiny spoon would help her get it right.

NCmountainwoman said...

My mother was not much of a baker but dear Granny more than made up for it. I spent a lot of my childhood in her kitchen "helping" her bake and cook. She died when I was ten but left me with wonderful memories which I passed on to my own children, both of whom are excellent cooks.