Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Salty honey pie
I didn't mean to post - or bake - another pie so soon. But this weekend was the first one off I'd had in the last three weeks and I wanted to celebrate. I'd been invited to my friend Elizabeth's place for dinner on Friday night, I'd offered to bring dessert, and this recipe had been calling me ever since I got my hands on The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book early in the new year. Other than a dip in the ocean (which I also indulged in), what better reward could there be?
Salty/sweet is a truly magic combination. Here, the creamy custard of the honey filling is offset by fat flakes of sea salt so that the two flavours mingle in your mouth and draw you back for more, like siren song. That's what happened to us on Friday night. After consuming modest slices, we each went back in for just one more sliver...
Be warned: this pie is not for the faint of heart. There's a serious sugar component which is less a hit as it is a knockout punch. If this pie were a person (in contention for an Oscar next week), it would be Jennifer Lawrence's character Rosalyn in one of my favourite films of last year, American Hustle: seductive, surprising... and crazy dangerous. Don't make it in the science oven.
Salty honey pie
Adapted from The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book by Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen
I'll bet you could dial down the sugar and still end up with a perfectly sweet (and salty) pie.
Crust for a 9 inch single-crust pie, crimped and frozen (I used my favourite)
4 oz butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon white cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I used Maldon, if using table salt, just use 1/4 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup honey
3 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1-2 teaspoons flake sea salt, for finishing (again, I used Maldon)
Have ready and frozen one pastry-lined 9-inch pie pan, crimped.
Position a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 deg F.
In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar, cornmeal, salt, and vanilla. Stir in the honey and the eggs one at a time, followed by the heavy cream and vinegar.
Place the frozen pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet and strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the pie shell, or strain it into a separate bowl and then pour it into the shell. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-50 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, 30-35 minutes through baking. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed up high and the centre is no longer liquid but looks set like gelatin and is golden brown on top. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2-3 hours. Sprinkle with flake sea salt. Serve slighly warm or at room temperature.
The pie will keep refrigerated for 4 days or at room temperature for 2 days.