Make Ahead

Kumquat Shaker Pie

January 18, 2012
2 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Makes a 9-inch pie
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

What You'll Need
  • 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)
  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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  • Elizabeth Charvat
    Elizabeth Charvat
  • Yocelin Perea
    Yocelin Perea
  • Kitchen Butterfly
    Kitchen Butterfly
  • EmilyC
  • arielleclementine
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.

47 Reviews

Elizabeth C. April 12, 2020
I made this this week, with fruit from a neighbor's tree. We're all stuck at home, and I've been loving having the time to bake. I'd never met them before but brought them a quarter of the pie and now we're new best friends. I shared slices with a bunch of other friends and neighbors as well. Everyone who tasted it loved it, thanks!! Will definitely make it again.
Antonia A. January 22, 2019
Meyer lemons make the original pie recipe easily and beautifully.
CobyLyn July 1, 2018
Our tree yielded about 10lbs of fruit this month. I just popped the pie into the oven. Not sure how the crust top will raise with the foil on top. And I subbed monkfruit sugar and coconut sugar. Excited to taste how it turns out!
CobyLyn January 22, 2019
The pie turned out AMAZING, thank you! Also made preserves and candied fruit.
emmybecca May 3, 2018
that is really good
Yocelin P. March 12, 2018
Have you heard of this new pan called the Quicky Pan? Cooks anything you want under 8 minutes. Its amazing because it leaves the food crispy and feels like it just came out the Oven. You have to check it out!
Robin J. February 4, 2014
This sounds wonderful. I want to make it for my bookclub, but one member can't eat gluten. Is there something I could do with the filling and not make the crusts?
hardlikearmour February 5, 2014
I pondered your question, but can't come up with a great idea for the filling sans crust.
Antonia A. January 22, 2019
The King Arthur Flour website has quite a good gluten free pie crust recipe.
Kitchen B. June 22, 2013
This pie was a hit!

Though I created a 'swamp' pie by dropping my top crust into the filling, it baked up beautifully.

I used the Cooks Illustrated pastry crust (via Serious eats: and had no regrets in the making thereof.

I thought the finished crusts were beautiful - flaky, crisp, buttery but I could taste the vodka. I didn't mind it except I felt I would get intoxicated - being light headed and all.

My friend who received a 1/3 of the pie LOVED that the vodka came through. She was totally taken in.

I loved the filling - it was soft, and fresh and tasty. The kumquats are truly a delight.

Leftovers were warmed in my toaster and even 2 days later were as 'new'.

The whipped cream accompaniment was on point!

Definitely a keeper of a recipe. Thank you!!
hardlikearmour June 22, 2013
Glad it went so well! I've never detected the vodka in the CI pie crust -- my palate probably isn't as good as yours!!!
Kitchen B. June 16, 2013
Just made this.....its cooling down, fresh out of the oven! Everything went swimmingly for step 6 when I deftly dropped my top crust into the filling, leaving parts of it submerged...but it worked out well. Thank God!!

The 'readiness test' worked well too - my knife emerged clean and I'm waiting for the tasting! Will report back....but I have a sneaky feeling....all will go well! Thank you for widening my kumquat horizons.

It dried up in the first half hour of baking
hardlikearmour June 16, 2013
I'm glad it's worked out so far! I hope you enjoy the final step of eating it!!!
Kitchen B. June 22, 2013
it dried up after the first half hour of baking.....the submerged top crust, I meant to say!
Bonnie B. April 3, 2013
I've made tons of Shaker Lemon pies. The secret is they must be very thin skinned and left to soak in the sugar for a couple of days. Another great way of making the Lemon is to cook the lemon slices in the sugar with a lemon juice.
I am intrigued by this Kumquat pie. So, today I am making one.
hardlikearmour April 4, 2013
I had trouble even with the Meyer lemons I tried -- maybe the commercial ones are inherently thicker skinned! I'll try soaking them in the sugar for longer, though and see if I can get a good Shaker Pie!
Bonnie B. April 10, 2013
Hard..See if you can find Sweet Lemons or Lemonade Lemons. And look for thin skinned ones. When I buy lemons I run my thumb over the skin to feel the thickness of the lemons. I also look to see if the pores are deep and large, if they are it's too thick of a skin. I also roll the lemon between my hands if it gives a little then the skins are thin. Also I look to see how shinny they are. Also I smell them..some have a natural sweeter smell. Those are just some of the things I look for when buying lemons. I also find the smaller and yellower the lemon is seems to be thinner skinned. Meyers lemons are always what I use when making a Shaker Pie.
Bonnie B. April 10, 2013
Wish I could send you some lemons and Kumquats...most of my neighbors have those tree, I just pick about 5 pound of Kumquats the other day from my neighbors tree. At the farmers market they were $5. Yikes!
hardlikearmour April 11, 2013
You're definitely making me envious!
EmilyC February 2, 2012
Congrats on the CP, hardlikearmour! What a beautiful, creative recipe.
hardlikearmour February 2, 2012
Thanks, EmilyC! Congrats, to you too!
arielleclementine January 30, 2012
i ate a slice of this amazing pie for breakfast this morning and it rocked my world. absolutely brilliant! so thrilled to have met you and tasted this delicious treat!
hardlikearmour January 31, 2012
Thank you, kindly, AC! It was my good fortune to be able to meet you and Henri ;-)
BlueKaleRoad January 26, 2012
This is a gorgeous pie, HLA! I made a Shaker pie once years ago - it sounded so enticing but I didn't love it. Using kumquats is inspired! Just yesterday I saw limequats...something new so I picked up a few to try.
hardlikearmour January 26, 2012
Thank you, BKR! I didn't love the first few attempts at Shaker pie I made, but I do love this one. I'm pretty sure any of the "eat the skin and all" citrus fruits would work. If you get a chance to try it, do let me know.
EmilyC January 19, 2012
Love this! I've long been intrigued by Shaker pie but have never made one for fear of it not turning out well. Thanks for doing the dirty work and experimenting so I don't have to!
hardlikearmour January 19, 2012
Thank you, EmilyC! Making pie is pretty dirty ;-)
aargersi January 19, 2012
That is one gorgeous pie. I think kumquats are the new black :-)
hardlikearmour January 19, 2012
Thanks, aargersi! Maybe we should make pie while I'm in Austin!! I think kumquats are the new Meyer lemon ;-)
mrslarkin January 19, 2012
so beautiful! i love kumquats. Nicely done, hla.
hardlikearmour January 19, 2012
Thank you, mrsL! I've had kumquats before, but don't think I realized how good they really are until they solved my frustration with making this pie.
fearlessem January 19, 2012
I too have had exactly the same problems with shaker lemon pie... And I agree with boulangere below -- this variation is genius! Can't wait to try it!
hardlikearmour January 19, 2012
Thanks, fearlessem! The kumquats are the perfect solution - they are barely bitter and their skin is perfectly tender. They take slightly more effort to prep, but the end result (in my mind) is miles better!
gingerroot January 19, 2012
What a lovely pie, hla! I'm glad you finally found a combination that you were happy with. Having used kumquats for the first time myself this week, I can almost taste this.
hardlikearmour January 19, 2012
Double thank you to you, gingerroot! I'm pretty sure you put the idea of kumquats on my radar.
Midge January 19, 2012
Wow, this sounds amazing hla! I need to track down some kumquats.
hardlikearmour January 19, 2012
Thanks, Midge! My favorite local grocery has all sorts of amazing citrus in stock right now - kumquats, limequats, bergamot oranges, etc... I hope you'll be able to find some locally. I suspect any of the "quats" or calomondins would work in this recipe, though you may have to alter the sugar a bit.
Midge January 19, 2012
Lucky you. Kumquats and calomondins actually grow here so I'm excited to get a tree or two soon. Saving your recipe for when I have a bounty of my own.
hardlikearmour January 19, 2012
When I was a kid my maternal grandparents had a house in Florida with a calomondin tree. We loved those sour little fruits! I hope you grow some lovely citrus!!
boulangere January 19, 2012
I'm a Quaker, and I love your scientific analysis of this pie. Your version is nothing less than genius!
hardlikearmour January 19, 2012
Thank you, B! I must confess I don't know much about Quakers or Shakers - will need to do some studying I'm afraid. Kumquats were a perfect solution to my problems. If I were a genius I'd have figured it out much faster considering kumquats are meant to be eaten skin and all!!
TheWimpyVegetarian January 19, 2012
Oh man, this looks great HLA. Your crust looks sooo flakey!! I'm trying to find tomorrow to make something with kumquats too - I love them! They're such an underrated citrus I think.
hardlikearmour January 19, 2012
Thank you, CS! I freeze the butter, which helps to leave some larger chunks so it's especially flaky. The kumquat flavor is divine - intensely orange and slightly floral to me. I hope you have time for tinkering tomorrow!