I am just not mathletic. I use “kitchen math” daily, but the higher shelf stuff is something I appreciate as a beautiful science of things that effect me (and everything else) but that I don’t quite get. So when Pi Day comes along, I am definitely excited, and not just because we celebrate it with one of my favorite foods. I actually do understand pi a wee bit, about as much as the average person does. It’s an irrational number, and there are no repeats. As a baker I understand this.
Baking is full of little irrational things that are but shouldn’t be- no cake, pastry, loaf of bread, etc.,is ever exactly the same as the one before, no matter how exact your methods are. It’s a rough truth to embrace. No repeats.
Watched pots really don’t boil. The more frustrated one gets when putting crumb coating on a cake, the more the cake rebels. And no matter how many baguettes you make, they will each be just a teeny bit different. Irrational, but true.
Loving Shaker lemon pie is completely rational, though. It is tart and bright, a little bitter, a bit creamy, and altogether delicious. Use Meyer lemons if you have some around, and your pie will be a little sweeter.
Shaker Meyer Lemon Pie with Pistachio Crust
3 medium Meyers lemons
1 c. sugar
Cut the lemons into thin slices, removing the seeds as you go. In a food processor, chop the lemons together with the sugar until very finely chopped. Add the and process briefly to combine.
Let the mixture rest overnight before baking.
1/2 c. + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp roasted, unsalted pistachios
3 oz cold butter, cubed
Combine the flour, sugar, salt and pistachios in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process to the texture of coarse cornmeal. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. pistachios
4 oz. cold butter, cubed
1 Tbsp. cold water
Combine the first four ingredients in a food processor, chopping until the nut pieces are very small. Add the butter and chop to a course cornmeal texture.
With the machine running, add the water in one shot and process just until the dough begins to come together. Shape into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Roll out the pistachio crust to 1/4″ thick. Place in a 9″ tart mold and press into place. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Place a clean coffee filter on top of the chilled dough and fill with pie weights. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dough begins to turn light brown around the edge and only half baked at the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
Pour the filling into the pie shell.Evenly sprinkle the topping onto the filling. Return the pie to the oven (being careful not to spill the filling). Bake another 25-35 minutes, or until the filling is set and golden.
Cool to room temperature before serving.