The Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, is one of my favorite Shaker sites to visit. Although it hasn’t been a working Shaker community for decades, it’s the largest preserved Shaker village in the country. Moreover, it is the only one that offers both overnight lodging and a good restaurant.
I wrote about it last week in the Boston Globe‘s Food section in a piece called “A menu that reflects Shaker simplicity.” The article deals with the new chef Patrick Kelly’s “Seed to Table” program. His menus in the restaurant feature food from his kitchen garden and from farms in the adjacent bluegrass country near Lexington. Not only is the program in keeping with the locavore trends in contemporary dining, it also echoes the Shaker preoccupation with simplicity.
Kelly is just into his second year at Pleasant Hill, and there are some old-fashioned dishes on the menu that may not reflect his locavore culinary bent, but are so beloved by the restaurant’s patrons that he can’t take them off the menu.
One of those is the Shaker lemon pie. (Even with the summer heat, lemons don’t grow in Kentucky.) It is, however, a remarkably simple pie and makes a surprising dessert. It might seem counterintuitive to cook with the lemon rind, but it produces an interesting texture. And the ingredients are always available at almost any supermarket (including the pie crust).
2 large lemons
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
pastry for 9-inch double pie crust
1. Slice lemons as thin as paper, rind and all. Combine with sugar; mix well. Let stand two hours, or preferably overnight, blending occasionally.
2. Add eggs to sugared lemons. Mix well.
3. Turn mixture into 9-inch pie shell, arranging lemon slices evenly. Cover with top crust. Cut several slits near center.
4. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes or until knife inserted near edge of pie comes out clean.
Cool before serving.