Pie making is one of the baking projects I can never seem to truly get a handle on. I’ve had challenging times finding the right crust, one that is not to flaky, not too buttery. I like shortcuts and fairly simple baking projects that yield great results, and sometimes I don’t have the patience for pie. I think that is my goal for the next year though. I want to master the art of pie baking, no matter how long it takes.
Luckily I have a little help on my side with that goal. Four & Twenty Blackbirds came out with their pie baking book at the end of last month and I want to make every. single. darn. pie. If you don’t already own it or know about these ladies and their pie baking shop in New York, you should. I made a variation of their Honey Pie but added lavender and fleur de sel and it blew me away. I knew that when I came across this custard-like shoofly pie that I was going to love it. I wanted to make a pie for Thanksgiving and already had rosemary on hand, so I went for this one. It’s almost like a coffee cake pie. Crumbly flour rosemary mixture on the bottom, honey egg milk mixture in the center, and crumbly flour mixture on top. And it all melds together in the baking and creates a deliciously tender, crumbly herbal yet spicy pie. All I can say is that this is the bees knees and it received rave reviews at the Thanksgiving dinner I attended last night.
Makes one 9-inch pie, serves 8-10
Rosemary Honey Shoofly Pie
For the Single Crust
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in pieces
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup ice
For the Filling
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- pinch of nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in pieces
- 3/4 cup raw honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, warm
To make the Single-Pie Crust
- Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-sized pieces of butter remain.
- Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or small bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, mixing and cutting in with a pastry blender until full incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until the dough comes together in a ball with a few small bits remaining. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring the dough together, sprinkling a bit more water to incorporate the dry bits. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to mellow out the crust. Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen up to 1 month.
- Take your refrigerated dough out to let sit for about 5 minutes before rolling and crimping into your 9″ pie dish. Refrigerate the dough in the dish for about 30 minutes to rest. Once fully chilled, use a fork to prick all over the bottom about 15-20 times (this helps eliminate air bubbles). Place the crust in the freezer.
- Position the oven racks in the bottom and center positions, placing a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Have ready 1 egg white whisked with 1 teaspoon water to brush the crust with during baking. When the crust is frozen solid (about 10 minutes), line it tightly with a piece or two of aluminum foil.
- Pour pie weights (I use dried garbanzo beans) into the pan and spread them so they are concentrated more around the edge of the shell than the center. Place the pan on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pan and baking sheet from the oven, lift out the foil and pie weights, letting the crust cool for a minute. Use a pastry brush to coat the bottom and sides with a thin layer of egg white glaze to moistureproof the crust. Return the pan on the baking sheet to the oven’s middle rack and continue baking for 3 more minutes. Remove and cool for at least 10 minutes before filling.
To make the Filling
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the sugar and rosemary leaves, processing until the rosemary is chopped into very fine pieces (the sugar may turn green–it’s super cool!). Add the flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and butter, processing into a coarse meal. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, beat the honey and eggs together. Mix in the milk, salt, and cider vinegar. Stir the baking soda into the warm coffee, and slowly stream into the honey mixture.
- Place the prebaked pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread about one cup of the crumb mixture evenly in the bottom of the shell, gently pour the honey mixture over the top, and sprinkle on the remaining crumb mixture.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-55 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, about 30-35 minutes through baking. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is slightly firm to the touch but has some give. Be careful not to overbake or the custard can separate; the filling will continue to cool and set after the pie is removed from the oven. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2-3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Pie will keep refrigerated for 2 days or at room temp for 1 day.