Ingredients for Pie Filling
- 2 large lemons
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 5 eggs, well-beaten (4 for filling, 1 for egg wash)
- 3 tbsps salter butter, melted
- 2 tbsps raw sugar
Ingredients for Pie Crust
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp table salt
- 2 tbsps sugar
- 12 tbsps (1 ½ sticks) salted butter, cold and cut into ¼ inch pieces
- ½ cup lard, cold and cut into ¼ inch pieces (there is a difference between lard and shortening – lard makes better crust).
- ¼ cup water, ice cold
- ¼ cup vodka, cold
Tip for Pie Crust
1. Make pie crust according to directions.
2. Fit pie crust into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Chill crust thoroughly in refrigerator for 30 to 40 minutes while preparing the lemon filling.
Directions for Lemon Filling
1. Put 2 large lemons in the freezer for about 15 minutes. (Cold lemons are easier to grate and cut)
2. Remove lemons from freezer and finely grate only the yellow rind (not the white) of each lemon onto a plate.
3. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the end knobs off of each lemon. Slice each lemon into razor-thin slices.
4. Cut off the white part (pith) and remove the seed, leaving just the pulp.
5. Cut the pulp into quarter and put into a bowl with the yellow grated peel.
6. Add the sugar, salt and vanilla extract to the lemon pulp and grated lemon peel. Cover and let stand from 4 hours to overnight on counter or in refrigerator.
The longer the filling is allowed to macerate (or soak), the more the sugar permeates into the citrus, adding sweetness and flavor. Stir mixture occasionally to further blend.
Prepare to Bake
1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Whisk 4 eggs well. Add the eggs and the 3 tbsps of melted butter to the lemon mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
3. Remove prepared chilled pie crust from the refrigerator and blind-bake in 425 F oven for 10 minutes, or until crust is almost beige but not even close to brown.
4. Remove crust from oven and turn the lemon mixture into the pie crust. Cover with a top crust, sealing the edges by crimping them with your fingers. Slice a few slits in the top of the crust near the center of the pie.
5. Make an egg wash: Whisk egg, adding a splash of water. Brush the egg wash all over the top of the crust. Sprinkle crust evenly with 2 tbsps of raw sugar.
6. Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F and bake for an additional 40 minutes or until pie is golden brown, center is not jiggly, and a knife inserted near the edge of the pie comes out clean.
Remove pie from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. The longer it cools, the more it will set up, making it much easier to slice for serving.
Note for Pie Crust
Vodka binds with the gluten keeping the dough moist and flaky. Its alcohol content evaporated during baking.
Apple cider vinegar can be substituted for vodka and will make your crust extra tender.
Directions for Pie Crust
1. With about 2 quick pulses, process the flour, salt and sugar in food processor until combined.
2. Add the butter and lard to the mixture and process for 15 seconds until the dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps. It will resemble cottage cheese curds with no uncoated flour remaining.
3. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute the dough evenly. Add the remaining cup of flour and give the dough 4 to 6 quick pulses until the mixture is distribute around the bowl and the dough mass has been broken up.
4. Empty the dough into a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle the vodka and ice water over the dough.
5. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix and press down the dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together.
6. Divide the dough into 2 equal balls and flatten each into a 4-inck disk. Cover each dough ball with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes until ready to use.