In my opinion, there is nothing more olde-kitchen, Americana, hearth and home than a pie.
Some of my favorite pies are what I like to call “Humble Pies”. And not in the sense of the proverbial gesture to be more unpretentious. But more in the sense of humble ingredients. Things you have on hand, in your cupboard or fridge. Like banana cream pie because you have a bunch of overripe bananas that you’re trying to eat before the fruit flies get to them. Or buttermilk pie, which is really just a simple, tangy custard baked in a pie shell.
My best friend makes a cottage cheese pie which is simple, delicious and folksy. It has wonderful texture and tastes like home.
I’ve had this recipe for Salted Honey Pie in my book for about 10 years and I never made it until we got bees. Before, recipes that included large amounts of honey didn’t fall into my category of “humble” because store-bought honey is expensive. Especially good honey. And when a pie relies on honey for it’s main flavor, I wanted it to be quality honey that tasted floral and sweet.
Now that we raise bees I include honey in many recipes. Not just to sweeten a cup of tea.
I was intrigued by the “salted” aspect as I found this recipe before the trend to “salt” every dessert became main stream. You can now find salted chocolate, caramels, ice cream, etc. So if you love that flavor combination, you’ll love this pie.
The original recipe is by Melissa and Emily Elsen of Four and Twenty Blackbirds.
But I’ve made a few changes to some of the ingredients to make the pie more accessible.
Salted Honey Pie
Makes one 9 inch pie
Preparing the Crust
You will need a pre-made, pre-baked, frozen pie shell.
I used a store bought one here, but you can use your favorite crust recipe. To pre-bake a pie shell you must weight the pastry so that it doesn’t puff up.
You can purchase pie weights for this purpose. They’re small ceramic balls that can be used over and over again to weight a pie. If you don’t have those on hand you can use any dried bean. I have a container of beans that I’ve used for years to weight a pie.
Place the crust in a 9 inch pie plate, crimp the edges decoratively and pour in the beans so that they’re even with the rim of the shell. (Do yourself a favor and place a piece of parchment in your shell before pouring the beans in so that you don’t have to pick beans out of your shell afterwards.)
Bake as directed.
Let cool and freeze until ready for the filling.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornmeal (the recipe calls for white cornmeal, but I find that yellow works just as well)
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c. honey
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vinegar (the recipe calls for white vinegar but I use apple cider)
1 tsp vanilla (the recipe calls for vanilla paste but vanilla extract works just as well and is not as expensive)
1-2 Tbsp flake salt (I’m using a pink Himalayan sea salt. Don’t use iodized table salt, it has a strong bitter flavor that doesn’t work well.)
Mix butter, sugar, salt and cornmeal to make a thick paste.
Add the honey, vanilla and vinegar and mix until well incorporated. Fold in eggs, add the cream and mix well.
Pour the filling into the pre-baked frozen shell and bake 45-60 minutes. Cover the rim of your crust with foil so the edge doesn’t burn.
The filling will puff up and the center will be a bit wiggly. Allow to cool completely. Top with sea salt.
The technique and ingredients seem similar to making a pumpkin pie, and you don’t typically bake the crust first for that. I wonder if you could just pour in the filling in an unbaked crust and bake for the allotted time?