Until reading up on this recipe and deciding it had to be made just to sate my curiosity, I didn’t know much of anything about what honey pie was. The only real association I had with it is The Beatles’ song “Wild Honey Pie” on their White Album. You say the words “honey pie” to me and I’ll just think “Hun-ney Piiiiieeeeee!” followed by some discordant guitar chords, then somehow seamlessly transitioning to “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill.”
Well. Now I will think differently. Because now I have made a real, actual honey pie, and I have tasted it too. And it is so freakin’ amazing.
I’ll be the first to admit, this pie looks a bit unassuming. The color is a tad nondescript and the crust looks burnt. Although I should hasten to note that it didn’t smell or taste that way; still, this pie prompted me to purchase a pie protector for the future.
And yet… this pie is so unbelievably delicious that you might want to make sure the kids are out of earshot when you take your first bite, because it’s entirely possible that an expletive will involuntarily fly out of your mouth – it’s that good.
Honey pie is basically a regular pie crust, blind baked, that is then filled with a custard, but the twist is that the custard uses honey instead of sugar. The honey gives is a more interesting and slightly floral flavor, and then big flecks of sea salt are lightly sprinkled on the finished product. The custard was perfectly cooked; its velvety softness contrasted beautifully with the flaky crunch of the pie crust. So amazing. Try it if you’ve never before had a piece of this deliciousness. And if you are already familiar, hopefully you’re now craving it again!
Source: slightly adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English
Pie dough to fit a regular 9-inch pie plate, unbaked (I used a half recipe of this delicious pie crust)
1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup good quality honey
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3-4 pinches of Fleur de Sel, or other large-flake sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a 9” pie plate (not deep dish). Trim the crust overhang and crimp the edges decoratively, if desired. Prick the bottom of the crust 6 to 7 times with a fork, then place the shell in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, then remove from the oven, leaving the oven on at 400 F.
Remove the dried beans or pie weights and parchment paper from the crust. Cool it completely before filling.
Prepare the filling: warm the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Watch carefully and remove from the heat just before bubbles begin forming on the surface of the milk. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs, honey, vanilla, kosher salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Add the warmed milk to the egg mixture slowly, whisking in a bit at a time before adding more. This will temper the eggs and not scramble them.
Once all the milk is added to the egg mixture, whisk thoroughly to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated.
Pour the filling mixture into the prepared pie crust. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes. The center should be jiggly but not liquidy. If desired, place a pie protector around the outside crust halfway through baking.
Remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle the fleur de sel all around the top. Cool at least 1 hour before serving.