Are you ready for something to blow your mind? I’m not talking spaceships flying to the moon, or kitties being able to fly. Something that will really, seriously blow your mind.
I’m talking about this pie. Yes, it is actually even more amazing and mind blowing than discovering that kitties can fly. Or kitties eating pie in the sky as they fly. Nope. Not even close. This pie is full of absolute goodness: sugar and salt. What better a combination than those two things? (Let’s also not forget the powerful combination of honey and lavender. Holy wow.)
I’d actually been hesitant of trying honey pie for quite some time. For some reason custard has always freaked me out, and I’ve always been used to fruit pies. Banana cream and lime pie is fine, but a pie full of sugar? What’s the point? I’d heard about it time and again, but with a general reluctance to make pies in general (I always feel like they take more than half a day to make), this has been a long time coming. But oh man, am I glad the time finally came.
The first time I tried honey pie was at Sweedeedee, here in Portland, OR, just a few months ago. It had been hyped as the one absolute must try there, and I was in absolute heaven. There was even a puffy top that crackled as I stabbed my fork through the milky custard layers. I just loved the way it looked, like an anatomical variation of the layers of skin in the human body, similar to the diagrams I used to study in anatomy and physiology during college (so dorky, I know). Anyhow, I ended up finding a decent honey pie recipe and adapted this particular one from the Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Bakery in Brooklyn, New York.
I’m seriously amazed. I just had my first slice about 30 minutes ago and my jaw dropped. I wasn’t so sure how the addition of lavender and vanilla bean would do in it, but I honestly couldn’t taste an overwhelming aroma of lavender like I semi anticipated. Rather, it complimented the unique honey and vanilla flavors. And obviously, you add chunks of salt to anything and it makes it taste a billion times better. OBVIOUSLY. Yeah. I’m pretty stoked on this pie. If you’re looking for the perfect Spring day pie to make, this is absolutely it. I AM SO IN LOVE WITH THIS PIE IT’S RIDICULOUS.
- For the Crust:
- 2½ cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 8-10 tablespoons ice water with cider vinegar, or more as needed (combine 1 cup cold water, ⅛ cup cider vinegar and ice)
- For the Custard Filling:
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup lavender sugar (alternatively: crush 1 Tablespoon of dried lavender buds
- with a mortar and pestle or in a food processor pulse with ¾ cups of white granulated sugar)
- 2 Tablespoons cornmeal
- ¼ teaspoon fleur de sel
- ¾ cup raw honey
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup cream
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla bean (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tablespoons flake fleur de sel sea salt, for topping
- For the Dough: Whisk the dry ingredients together and blend with a hand-held pastry blender the chopped, cold butter, being careful not to overwork during this step. The butter should be in pea-sized chunks, not too big, but not completely incorporated.
- Slowly add the ice water and vinegar mixture and bring the dough completely together by hand, again being careful not to overwork. Aim to create a marbleized effect, so that the butter is still visible.
- Divide into 2 discs, wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour or more before use.
- To pre-bake a crust for a custard pie: Roll one disc of crust out to fit a 9-inch pan, about ¼ inch thick. Place in a buttered pie pan, and crimp the edges as desired. Allow to rest and cool in freezer or fridge for at least 20 minutes.
- Line the rolled-out crust with tinfoil or unwaxed parchment paper, add pie weights or about a cup of dry beans if you don’t have pie weights. Distribute them evenly. Also if you have it, line the edges with a pie crust shield (I use this pie shield cause it's adjustable!)
- Bake in a 375 F oven for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before filling with custard.
- For the Filling: With an electric mixer or by hand, combine melted butter with the lavender sugar, salt and cornmeal to make a thick paste. Add the honey, vanilla bean, extract and vinegar and mix together. Fold in the eggs, add the cream and blend.
- Pour the filling into a pre-baked pie shell and bake at 350 F for 45 to 60 minutes. It only took 45 minutes for me, but my oven runs a bit warmer than usual. The filling will slightly puff up like a marshmallow, brown fairly darkly, and the center will be just slightly wobbly. Once cooled (at least one hour), finish with a sprinkling of flake sea salt. Slice and serve with freshly whipped cream.