Have you ever heard of a Shaker lemon pie? I came across the very simple pie in my mom's copy of the Joy of Cooking a few days ago. It seemed like a great, straightforward recipe. The gist: zest two lemons, cut off the pith, macerate (read: soak in sugar) overnight, then make into pie filling with a few eggs.
Sounds good, right? After some more investigating, I found that Deb at smitten kitchen had done a slightly different version with success. I chose to make a version with no pith, as I am not a bitter-loving gal, and I prepared my lemons.
Minor flaw in my plan: I didn't count on the lemon juice/sugar mix that was sitting on the counter, ripe for pie, to be unwittingly turned into lemonade. There's been quite a bit of work in the garden going on around here, and sometimes you just want a good glass of ice cold lemonade. At least, that's what my mom told me after I realized she drank my pie filling.
Albeit refreshing, I was now down 24 hours of macerating and had no more lemons. Unwilling to go to the store for the umpteenth time, I chose to follow the same recipe with grapefruit.
I zested the grapefruit, sliced off the pith, and sliced the first one very thinly on the mandoline. At least, that was the plan. I ended up with a bowl of grapefruit pulp. The second grapefruit I supremed, to keep the segments intact without wasting a bunch of the flesh and juice.
24 hours later: grapefruit sugar met eggs and flour, went for a very loose swim in a double crusted pie plate, and came out golden brown and smelling delicious. I must admit I was concerned about the pie as I put it in the oven- the filling was not just thin, it was straight liquid with some grapefruit floating in it.
After very. very tenderly applying the double crust, I gently put the whole experiment in the oven.
Let me tell you: you should make this pie. Start now, so you can eat it in two days. Crisp and complex, bracing with a touch of bitterness but followed by creamy custard. Don't be afraid of the liquid filling, just be sure to wait to pull it out of the oven until it is completely set, with no jiggles. I chilled mine overnight and cut into it the next day, which allowed the custard to set properly.
I'll be trying this with other citrus as well. Lime Shaker pie? Maybe even pineapple Shaker pie. Yum.
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 T butter, melted
3 T all-purpose flour
1 egg white
Sugar, for dusting (coarse sugar would be better but I am out)
Wash your grapefruit and zest both throughly into a large bowl. Once zested, cut the pith off the sides with a sharp knife. Leave as little pith as possible behind. Supreme your grapefruit (cut into segments, avoiding the pith) into the bowl with the zest. Add the salt and 2 cups sugar. Stir, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside. Perhaps leave a note indicating it is not a beverage.
The next day, make your pie crust. Preheat your oven to 450 and roll your bottom crust into a 9" pie plate with a 1/2" overhang. Roll out the top crust and set aside (I always put mine back in the fridge until I'm ready).
Whisk up your grapefruit/sugar mix, as some of the sugar will have sunk to the bottom. Add the eggs, flour, and melted butter. Mix well, until very small lumps or no lumps of flour remain.
Pour your grapefruit liquid into the prepared bottom crust. Very, very gently, with the hands of a fairy godmother or some sort of magician, lay your top crust over. Press the edges together and gently- did I say gently?- cut off the excess crust with a sharp paring knife. Crimp your crust to keep the grapefruit soup inside. Cut a few steam vents in the top and brush with the egg white. Top with some sprinkled sugar.
Put the whole kit in the oven on a sheet pan. Cook at 450 for 25 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and cook an additional 30 minutes. Check for jiggling; remove the pie only when an area the size of a quarter in the center is jiggling slightly.
Cool on the counter, then chill in the fridge overnight to allow the filling to set.