Make Ahead

Kumquat Shaker Pie

January 18, 2012
2 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

I'm intrigued by the idea of Shaker pie, also known as Ohio Lemon Pie. The Joy of Cooking recipe calls for 2 medium to large lemons to be zested then very thinly sliced and seeded. The zest and lemon slices are macerated in sugar for 2 to 24 hours, then combined with eggs, melted butter, and flour. The mixture is then baked in a double-crust pie shell. It sounds interesting and delicious to me in theory. In practice, though, I'm less than thrilled with the results. The pith from the lemons imparts an overwhelming bitterness, and even when the lemons are sliced exquisitely thin they have a tough and stringy texture. I tried several different variations on the theme with varying degrees of disappointment—too bitter, too sweet, not citrusy enough.... I finally felt like I struck gold with a combination of kumquats, lime zest, and lime juice. The resulting pie has bright citrus flavor – sweet and a bit tart, with barely a hint of bitterness. The texture is lovely—like a lemon curd enveloping tender pieces of kumquat. Add a flaky crust with a crackly sugar topping, and the pie is complete. This is the Shaker pie of my dreams, and it was well worth the effort!

Test Kitchen Notes

Kumquat Shaker Pie - Carefully seeding and thinly slicing a small carton of kumquats is a fairly time consuming activity. It's not how I usually spend my Sunday mornings. But this is Harlikearmor we're talking about here, and I had every faith that each step and detail she called for was actually in my own best interest, so I drank my coffee and slipped into a zen-like slicing meditation. Besides the slicing, the rest of the pie comes together in a snap. And oh the results! What you get is something in the same family as a lemon meringue or key lime pie, but with the dimmer switch thrown all the way up so that the gorgeous super-saturated sweet-tart citrus nature radiates brightly forth. Delicious, with a nice balance of sugar and acidity. There's a high crust to filling ratio (so make sure you have a good crust), but the filling is nowhere near overpowered. As with many tangy desserts, this is especially splendid with a touch of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. A total keeper. —fiveandspice

  • Makes a 9-inch pie
  • 6 ounces kumquats
  • 1 large lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (divided)
  • 4 large eggs (divided)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • your favorite double-crust pie dough (I used the Foolproof Pie Dough recipe from Cook's Illustrated)
In This Recipe
  1. Rinse kumquats and lime thoroughly. Cut kumquats in halves to quarters lengthwise, depending on the size. Remove the seeds. Slice the kumquats into eighth inch thickness. Place sliced kumquats in a small, non-reactive bowl. Zest the lime, and add the zest to the kumquats. Juice the lime into the bowl with the kumquats, making certain not to incorporate any seeds. Add salt and 1 cup sugar to the bowl. Stir to combine. Cover and set aside overnight, or up to 24 hours, stirring once or twice during that time.
  2. Place a rack in the lower middle position of the oven, and preheat the oven to 425°F.
  3. Separate one of the eggs, placing the white into a small bowl, and the yolk into a medium bowl. Set the white aside. Add the remaining 3 eggs to the bowl with the yolk. Whisk until foamy. Whisk the melted butter into the eggs in a steady stream. Whisk in the tapioca flour until no clumps remain. Stir the kumquat mixture into the egg mixture. Set aside.
  4. Roll out the bottom crust of your pie dough, and place in a 9-inch pie pan. Trim the top crust so it barely overhangs the edge of the pie pan. Give the filling a final stir, and pour it into the crust. Gently spread out the kumquat pieces.
  5. Add the water to the reserved egg white, and whisk until combined. Brush the egg white mixture onto the outer half-inch or so of the bottom pie crust. (This will help to create a good seal between the top and bottom crusts.)
  6. Roll out the top crust of your pie dough. Gently drape it over the pie. Trim so there is about a half-inch of overhang. Tuck the overhang over, so the edge is between the top crust and the pie pan. Flute the edges to seal. Brush the top of the pie with the egg white mixture, and sprinkle evenly with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Cut several steam vents in an attractive pattern near the center of the pie.
  7. Bake pie for 30 minutes. Rotate pie 180º and cover with foil. Decrease oven temperature to 350°F. Continue baking until the top crust has puffed up and a knife inserted into one of the steam vents comes out clean, about 25 more minutes.
  8. Let fully cool on a rack. Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, but bring to room temperature before serving.
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I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.