Alison Roman is known for her delicious yet unfussy recipes. Her new book Sweet Enough (Clarkson Potter, 2023) takes the same approach for the sweeter side of meals. The perfect example is right here, a simple but stunningly delicious old-fashioned pie. Here’s what the author had to say about the recipe:
From my lemon-obsessed point of view, I can confirm in a totally unbiased way that this is the best pie in the world. The name comes from the Shakers, a religious community who famously make use of the entirety of anything (an animal, a piece of wood, a whole lemon). It’s going to be sweet, of course, but it will also be bitter, complex, and tart because of the whole lemon, custardy because of the eggs, and a little salty, flaky, and crunchy because of the pie crust. It’s also going to be easy and foolproof, perfectly set and golden brown each time, as if touched by some sort of baking angel. It’s going to be everything you want a lemon bar to be but more and better.
Makes one 9-inch pie
The Only Pie Crust
- 2½ cups (362 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) kosher salt
- 2½ sticks (10 ounces/285 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, chilled
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup (60 grams) ice cold water, plus more only if you absolutely must
Lemon Shaker Pie
- 2 Meyer or large regular lemons (about 10 ounces/300 grams), very thinly sliced and seeded
- 1¼ cups (260 grams) sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- Kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Make the Pie Crust
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and toss to coat it in the flour mixture. Using your hands, smash the butter between your palms and fingertips, mixing it into the flour, creating long, thin, flaky, floury, buttery bits. Once most of the butter is incorporated and there are no large chunks remaining, dump the flour mixture onto a work surface.
- In a measuring cup, combine the vinegar and ice water and drizzle it over the flour/butter mixture. Run your fingers through the mixture like you’re running your fingers through your hair, just to evenly distribute the water through the flour until the dough starts coming together.
- Knead the dough a few more times, just to gather up any dry bits from the bottom and place them on the top to be incorporated. You will be tempted to add a tablespoon or two more water now—resist if you can, add only if you must.
- Once you’ve got a shaggy mass of dough (it will not be smooth and it certainly will not be shiny), knead it once or twice more and divide it in half. Pat each piece into a disc about 1 inch thick. Wrap each disc individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Make the Pie
- Set aside a few lemon slices to put on top of the pie. In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the slices with the sugar and a good pinch of salt. Toss to coat and let sit at least 2 hours, up to 24 hours, refrigerated.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the lemons from the fridge and whisk in 3 of the eggs and the flour.
- Dust a work surface with flour. Roll out each disc of dough to a round about 14 inches in diameter. Lay one into a 9-inch pie plate, letting the dough slump into the edges, leaving the overhang. Pour the filling into the crust. 4 In the other dough round, use a paring knife to cut in a few vents or simply prick all over with a fork. Drape it over the pie filling, then, using your thumb and forefinger, press the top and bottom crusts together to seal the two pieces together. Using the tines of a fork, press the crusts together onto the pie plate, creating an even tighter seal. Then, using a knife or scissors, trim any excessive overhang.
- In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg and a teaspoon or so of water together. Brush the pie all over with the egg wash and arrange the reserved lemon slices on top. Sprinkle the whole thing with sugar.
- Bake until the crust is deeply golden and evenly browned, 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. Let cool at least 2 hours before serving.
- Eat with thick clotted cream, mascarpone, or crème fraîche.
- This pie can be made 3 days ahead, wrapped and stored at room temperature or refrigerated.
- FYI, FWIW, this is maybe one of the few pies that are better at room temperature, even chilled.
Sweet Enough Copyright © 2023 by Alison Roman. Photographs copyright © 2023 by Chris Bernabeo. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.