Directions for Filling
1. Using your sharpest knife (a serrated knife is ideal), trim each lemon to remove the stem end and tip. Slice each lemon crosswise, as thinly as you can possibly do it, into paper-thin circles. If you can drape them over the knife blade like the watches in Salvador Dali’s surrealistic paintings, you’re on the right track. Scoop up as much of the escaping lemon juices as possible while you work, and add them to the bowl of sliced lemons.
2. Chop the thinly sliced lemons coarsely, so that the largest pieces of lemon rind and pith are barely 1-inch long, again gathering escaping juices back into the bowl, to capture their bright flavor.
3. Add the sugar to the bowl of lemons, and stir to mix them together well. Cover and set aside at room temperature, for at least 3 hours and as long as overnight. Stir occasionally with a big spoon, to mix everything together well.
4. To complete the pie, heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9-inch pie pan with crust, leaving a 1-inch overhang.
5. Add the eggs, flour, and salt to the bowl of sugary lemons. Stir to mix everything evenly and well. Pour this filling into the piecrust. Roll the remaining dough into a 10-inch circle and place it carefully over the filling. Trim away the extra pastry, leaving a 1-inch overhang extending beyond the rim of the pie pan.
6. To seal the pie, fold the top crust over the edge of the bottom crust, Press the two crusts together very firmly, all around the pie. Crimp this folded edge in a pointed design. Or press the tines of a fork into the pastry rim, working around the pie to make a handsome design.
7. Cut 8 steam vents in the top of the pie, so that steam can escape, and the pie’s juices can bubble up. Place the pie on a baking sheet and place it on a rack positioned in the middle of the 400 degree F oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
8. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and bake until the filling is bubbling and thickened, and the pastry crust is cooked and handsomely browned, 30 to 40 minutes more. Place the pie on a cooling rack or a folded kitchen towel and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Ice cream or whipped cream complement this pie wonderfully.
This recipe comes from Southern Pies: A Gracious Plenty of Pie Recipes, from Lemon Chess to Chocolate Pecan, from Chronicle Books. Copyright Nancie McDermott. All rights reserved.
Directions for Double-Crust Pastry
1. Pulse flour and salt in a food processor until combined, about 3 or 4 times. Add cubed butter and shortening, and pulse until butter and shortening break down into pea-sized bits and flakes. With machine running, add 4 tablespoons ice water. Stop and pulse 4 times. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons water and pulse a few times more, until dough just begins to clump together.
2. Spread 2 layers of parchment paper or waxed paper on countertop. Turn piecrust dough out onto paper. Gather edges of paper up and use them to pull dough into a big lump. Open paper and divide lump in two. Wrap each half in plastic and gently shape into a flat plump disk. Chill 2 hours or up to 2 days.
3. To bake a pie, place one lump of chilled dough on a floured surface. Dust a rolling pin with flour, and roll out the piecrust. Starting from the center, roll outward, up and down, and on the diagonal, stopping to move the crust clockwise as you roll, so that it doesn’t stick to the surface. Add more flour as needed and keep moving around the crust to make a big circle.
4. When the crust is at least an inch larger than the rim of the pie pan, gently roll it onto your rolling pin and transfer it to the pie pan. Unroll it to line the pan, moving it around gently, to center it with even edges. Trim edges to 1 inch from the edge of the pan overhang. Push and tuck gently to place the pastry --- avoid stretching and pulling it to make it fit. If time, chill the pastry lined pie pan for an hour or longer.
5. When ready to bake, fill the crust, place top crust over filling, tuck it in, trim and crimp the edges to seal well, cut vents in the top, and bake as directed.