Salty Honey Pie courtesy of Four and Twenty Blackbirds

I’ve wanted to make a pie for the past couple of weeks. I haven’t made one since November and I haven’t bought one since before then. So it became part of my to-do list this past weekend and, honestly, it felt really good to go through the routine of getting ready to make another one. I looked through many sites for something interesting. I came across the women of Four & Twenty Blackbirds while searching for booze pies for St. Patrick’s Day. I checked my list to see what I still had in the pantry (I had most of what I needed) and the fridge (I had none of what I needed). I used their custard recipe but went with my crust recipe. Off to the store and back into the kitchen…

The crust:

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

3 tbsp. (or more) ice water

Blend the flour, sugar and salt together in a food processor. Add butter using on-off turns until mix resembles a coarse meal. Add ice water and combine. Form dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 20 minutes. Roll out into 13 inch diameter circle and transfer to a 9 inch pie dish. Trim the excess and crimp as desired. Freeze for 10 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 450F. Remove crust from freezer and line the bottom with foil. Add beans or pie weights to shell and bake for 15 minutes, until sides are set. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare your custard filling.

The filling:

1/2 cup butter melted

3/4 cup white sugar

2 Tbsp. white cornmeal

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup honey

3 eggs

1/2 cup cream

2 tsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. vanilla paste

1 or 2 Tbsp. flake sea salt for finishing (Maldon is a good choice)

Combine melted butter, sugar, salt and cornmeal to make a thick paste. Add the honey, vanilla and vinegar and mix. Fold in the eggs, add the cream and continue to blend.

Pour the filling into a pre-baked pie shell and bake at 350 F for 45 to 60 minutes. The filling will puff up like a marshmallow 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.

My pie looks a bit like it overcooked. I would recommend staying closer to 45 minutes of bake time and not split the 45-60 minutes into a 50 minute bake time, like I did.

I like the mix of the sweet and the salt. The salt hits the taste buds first and then the sweet kicks in. I suggest going light on the salt. It’s tasty and the texture doesn’t seem like the custard it’s designed to be.


Pie #13 – Banana Cream Pie

NOT a Frito Pie

Today’s selection comes to you courtesy of “Loud” Jen Beck. It was more of a plan B than plan A though. Her original request was something called Frito Pie. It isn’t something I would consider pie. It’s more like nachos and I would call it a pie in name only. Of course she had to counter that Shepherd Pie is also only a pie in name only as it has no crust. She would classify it as more of a casserole. That’s fine, I wasn’t going to make one of those either:)

I’m not a huge fan of bananas, let alone bananas in custard topped with whipped cream. Doesn’t mean I won’t eat it though…

The crust:

1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, about 16 graham crackers destroyed in a food processor

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (I used 1/3 of a cup as the crumbs seemed dry, and I like butter)

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients until well blended. Press evenly into a 9 inch pie dish, starting at the center and working your way outward until the crust is even on bottom and sides of pie dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack or your oven top to cool.

The filling:

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups of whole milk

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

2 tbsp. butter, softened

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 large ripe bananas

1 tbsp. lemon juice

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Blend in a bowl. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Slowly whisk in the milk, vanilla extract and the whipping cream. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and blend half the custard into the egg yolks. Combine the mixture with the yolks and return to the saucepan. Return to a boil and cook until thickened which is about 6 minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap. Cool the mixture before chilling in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Cut the bananas into 1/2 inch slices and blend in with lemon juice, gently. Fill the pie crust with one cup of the chilled custard mix. Place a layer of bananas. Repeat the layers twice. The recipe at this point says to refrigerate for 6 hours. Forget that! Topping stat!

The topping:

1 1/4 cup whipping cream

2 tbsp. confectioner sugar

1 large ripe banana, sliced into 1/3 inch pieces to decorate the top

cinnamon to dust the top

Beat the chilled whipping cream and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until firm. Slather the mix over the top of the pie. Place the banana pieces decoratively in the whipped cream. Dust with cinnamon.

I whipped the topping earlier in the day, while the custard was chilling. We have friends visiting from Houston and San Francisco and this evenings event was Texas roller derby. So basically the topping is one of those “plan ahead” things you can do if you need to tend to other things in your life. I got home at 10 pm and assembled the pie and will be having this with Jen, and others, tomorrow morning with my coffee.

Pie #11 – Gotta Have Samoa Pie

Let me start by saying congrats Green Bay! Nice job in the Super Bowl. Not super impressed with half-time or the commercials though…

So, Olivia asked me to make a pie out of Girl Scout cookies. It’s that time of year. Girl Scout cookies are everywhere and if you have a Girl Scout in your house, you probably can’t walk more than 20 steps without running into a box of cookies. I had originally agreed to do a pie with peanut butter sandwiches but couldn’t find the recipe when I looked for it. So, I went with a recipe I found on The Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana’s web site.  They have quite an impressive list of what you can do with them, from Cheese Cake, to Tarts, to Brownies, to Chocolate Sauce. The site’s a diet buster of major proportions. The recipe list is here.

The pie I made this week is called Gotta Have Samoa Pie. It’s a meringue pie created by a gentleman named John Ramsey and I guess they still call “Carmel Delights” Samoa in Kentuckiana. Or it’s an older recipe:)

The Crust:

2 packages Girl Scout Cookie Samoas (also called Carmel Delights)
1/2 stick butter

Coarsely chop one full package and six additional Samoas. Melt the half stick of butter. Mix and press into a standard 9″ pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes and refrigerate until firm.

The Filling:

3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 cups of milk (2% is fine but don’t do skim)
3 eggs, separated
1 cup flaked coconut, divided
1 tbsp. butter, softened
1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract, divided
1/4 tsp, cream of tartar (something I wasn’t really expecting and un-appetizing sounding)

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine 1/2 cup of sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Add the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Beat egg yolks with an electric mixer at high-speed until thick and lemon colored. Stir about 1/4 of the custard into the yolks and blend well. Stir the blended mixture back into the remaining custard and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. When mixture thickens to custard-level consistency remove from heat. Stir in butter, 3/4 cup coconut flakes and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until butter has melted. Pour mixture into your baked pie shell.

The meringue (which I did right this time):

Beat the egg whites at high-speed with an electric mixer until just foamy. Add the cream-of-tartar (blech) and vanilla, and gradually add the remaining 3/4 cups of sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form and the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes or until you can turn the bowl upside down and the meringue stays in place. I learned that one watching Top Chef.

Spread the meringue over the pie filling, covering to edge of pie dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of coconut. Bake at 425 degrees F for 5 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned.

It’s very chocolatey, custardy, sugary deliciousness. It’s a candy store in your mouth. I thank you John. And because I’ve already shown you a meringue pie, this week I give to you cat-in-a-party-hat.