Salty Honey Pie
Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch… You know that I looove you. I can’t help myself!
I am in excellent spirits today. The sun is shining, Tony and I finally set a date and confirmed our wedding venue, I have pie, and my sister, Rachel, and her boyfriend leave for Italy tomorrow! I might be more excited for their trip than they are… I have spent countless hours creating and revising what I like to refer as, “The Perfect Itinerary.” It is my finest work yet. We have Lake Como trips, wine tasting, lunch in the countryside, Rome, site-seeing, hiking, Cinque Terre, boat rides, laying out, Amsterdam, Red Light District, bike rides, picnics, Milan EXPO, panzerottis, and maybe a few trips to museums sprinkled in between… We’ll see… We’re in Italy, after all.
I have been limiting my dessert consumption to once a day in preparation for their visit because I’m pretty sure I am going to gain 10 pounds while they’re here… However, this pie sang to me and I figured if I only eat a slice a day upon their arrival, I could chalk it up as a success. I’m alllll about moderation.
This pie was seriously so good and so unique. It has a flaky, buttermilk crust and a delectable honey-flavored custard filling that has no resemblance to flan, which I loathe. Ah, and then there’s the top crust (is that a thing?)… It has almost a caramelized finish to it and then it’s sprinkled with a healthy serving of sea salt.
In my humble opinion, the addition of sea salt on any dessert automatically bumps it’s score up 2 points… Salted brownies, salted cookies, salted chocolate, salted chocolate milk, salted caramel, and now salted pie. It’s a match made in heaven.
In typical Claire fashion (things get crazy when Tony isn’t around), I was standing over this pie dish eating my daily slice of pie and sprinkling flakes of sea salt on every individual bite. I just couldn’t get enough.
Oh, and if that doesn’t convince you to make it immediately, it’s also a pie that tastes more delicious with each passing day… So it’s truly a great option when you’re home alone and want to eat a pie to yourself.
½ cup (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold buttermilk
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon white cornmeal
Scant ½ teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
¾ cup honey (I use raw sage honey)
3 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt
- To make the crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers (or a potato masher), work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk. Use a fork to bring to dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. Add a bit more buttermilk if necessary, but you want to mixture to be shaggy and not outwardly wet.
- On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. That’s perfect. Gently knead into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Allowing the dough to rest in the refrigerator will help re-chill the butter and distribute the moisture.
- To roll out the pie crust, on a well floured surface, roll the crust 1/8 inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a pie pan. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan. Fold the edges under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven.
- To make the filling, whisk together melted butter, sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a medium bowl. Split vanilla bean and add the vanilla bean scrapings (or extract, if using) into the butter mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in honey. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine. Whisk in heavy cream and vinegar.
- Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Bake pie for 45 to 55 minutes until pie is deep golden brown and puffed around the edges and set in the center. Open the oven and rotate the pie halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature, and sprinkle with sea salt just before serving.