In the continuing debate over baking supremacy, I’m always firmly Team Pie: Pies are much easier than cakes, and just as gratifying when you need a little something-something.
Last summer, my favorite story and recipe was/is the Chocolate Chess Pie made by Belmont minister Sam Warner. It’s the perfect potluck recipes: The ingredients are all staples, and you get two pies for the same work as one. And, well, chocolate chess pie, people.
It’s been bouncing all over the Internet for several months, and it had me at the name: Salt. Honey. Pie. How could I see that and not try it?
It’s also a chess-type pie, meaning it has a soft, custardy interior and just a hint of a crust on top. Like all chess pies, it’s easy to make. There’s only one thing about it: It definitely is a honey pie, so you have to like honey. But it’s a great showcase for great honey, so if you get your hands on something like sourwood, wildflower or Tupelo, this is the recipe for it.
Salty Honey Pie
Adapted from several online versions and “The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book.”
Dough for 1 single-crust pie
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons white cornmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup honey
3 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vinegar (white or apple cider)
1 to 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
Lightly butter a pie pan or plate. Place the crust in the pan, crimping the edges to form an edge. Place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes and heat oven to 375 degrees. Place a sheet of aluminum foil in the crust, pressing into the bottom, and fill with pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes, until just set. Remove from oven, remove foil and pie weights, and cool.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the melted butter, sugar, cornmeal, salt and vanilla extract to form a paste. With the mixer on lower, beat in the honey and the eggs, one at a time, then the cream and vinegar. Pour into the baked pie shell.
Place in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden and puffy on top but center is just a little jiggly.
Remove from oven and cool at least an hour. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve.
Yield: 8 servings.