Money is tight, so I do what I always do when I am stressed out over something. I turn to my cupboards and start rummaging around. I made a Lemon Shaker Pie yesterday. If you like lemons and you are not afraid of homemade pastry, then this is your pie. It's not for everyone, I will admit. John calls it my Lemon Pledge Pie and there is a touch of furniture-polish-citrusy-fresh taste about it, but I have always regarded the lemon as such a gorgeous, compact little fruit that is terribly underutilized. This recipe uses the entire fruit, and I like that.
First you need two largish lemons. If you only have teensy ones, you will need three or four. Should you be fortunate enough to own a mandolin (Martha Stewart's kitchen assistants totally have to borrow hers), dust it off and use it to shave a pile of paper-thin slices of lemon. If you don't (I don't), sharpen your best knife and do the best job you can, picking the seeds out as you go. Layer the slices in a bowl and cover with two full cups of sugar. As the fruit macerates, it will throw off a lot of fluid, so stir it all up every once in a while. Let it sit like this, covered and on your counter, for at least 24 hours, or even 48 hours if you have the extra time.
Beat four eggs with a pinch of salt and a fat teaspoon of cornstarch, then mix this into the syrupy, sugary, lemony goodness that your skinny slices have turned into. This is your pie filling. Take a moment to inhale deeply, because it smells wonderful. Set it aside and roll up your sleeves for some pastry work. I have a blog post on making pie crust, and we will pretend that you have read it and are now an expert in home pastry. Roll out two crusts, and place one of your crusts in a 9 inch pie pan. Pour in the filling and then cover it with the second crust. Cut off the excess crusts around the sides and pinch to seal the top and bottom crusts together. Cut a few slashes in the top crust so that it can breathe while it's in the oven. Bake your pie for about 45-55 minutes at 350F, until the top is nicely browned and your nose and eyes tell you it's ready. I always bake my pies on a baking sheet because, invariably, a little bit of the fluid bubbles out and all of a sudden, your whole house will smell like burnt sugar.
The pie needs to set up a little bit before you cut into it. Most pies do. Make a pot of piping hot tea to help cut the sweet tartness of the pie. It's wonderful served warm or cold. If you absolutely adore lemon curd, you will love this pie.