It is Spring here, but no one seems to have told the weather that. Melbourne is cold, drizzly, windy. That, in my mind, means that it’s still pie season. Who am I kidding – when is it not pie season? I’ll eat pie any day of the year. But I think I enjoy them more in the cozy warmth created by cocooning oneself against the cold, miserable outdoors.
There are a few recipes out there for salty honey pies that I was drawn to instantly. Salty and sweet – my favourite combination! Unfortunately though, they all turned out waaay too sweet for me. Sickeningly, tooth-achingly sweet. While I’m sure many people love it that way, I decided to concoct a recipe better suited to my tastes .
Honey is slowly infused with earthy, floral rosemary straight from the garden. Butter is cooked to smokey nuttiness. Salt is added for contrast, cream for depth. It is still deliciously sweet, but not sugary enough to send you straight to the dentist. It is, to my mind, the perfect dessert. I hope you find so too.
Browned Butter Rosemary Honey Pie
I’ve found that it’s best to make the honey a few hours before making the pie. The rosemary flavour can easily be lost beneath the honey and browned butter, so let it infuse for at least 2-3 hours.
330g/1 cup mild-flavoured honey (I used a mixed blossom)
5 sprigs rosemary
Put the rosemary in a small saucepan and pour over the honey.
Bring to boil over a medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Take off the heat and let cool in the saucepan until needed.
Adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book
Enough for single crust pie + decorative braided edge
280g/1 3/4 plain (all-purpose) flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. white (granulated) sugar
170g/6 oz./1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
180ml/3/4 cup cold water
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Handful of ice cubes
Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a shallow bowl. Add the butter and toss to coat. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the water, vinegar and ice.
Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like sandy breadcrumbs with some bigger, pea sized lumps of butter dispersed through.
Sprinkle 2 tbsp. of the water over the flour and butter mix and cut through using a pastry cutter, spatula or your hands. Continue adding water, a tbsp. at a time, until the dough mostly comes together.
Turn out on the bench and give a quick knead to incorporate the dry parts into the dough.
Divide the dough into two parts – 3/4 and 1/4 of the dough. The 3/4 portion will act as the base of your pie, the smaller portion will be your decorative border. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Once rested, roll out the larger portion of dough to fit your pie tin. Roll it big enough so there is an overhang of dough. Fold the excess dough underneath itself to make a rim. Place it back in the fridge and chill for at least half an hour.
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.
Meanwhile, roll out the rest of the dough. Using a ruler, cut 1/4″ strips of the dough and place them on baking paper.
Braid three steps together, continuing until you’ve used up all the dough and the braid is long enough to go around the rim of your pie. When a strip is too short to braid, use a little bit of water to attach the next strip to it and continue braiding.
You may need to chill your dough at points throughout this process, as it will be too fragile to work with if it gets too warm, and it will shrink once baked.
Brush the rim of your chilled pie crust with egg wash and attach the braid, pressing gently but firmly to make sure it adheres. Chill again for at least half an hour.
To partially blind-bake, line your pie crust with foil and fill with pastry weights (I just use rice or dried chickpeas because I’m cheap) and bake for 5-10 minutes, until the edge of the pastry has set but not browned. Remove the foil and weights, brush with egg wash and return the base to the oven for 5 minutes, until dry.
Adapted from Kinfolk
100g/1/2 cup white (granulated) sugar
25g/2 tbsp. plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup/125ml cream
To brown the butter, place in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Lower the heat to low and cook until foaming. Once the foam has subsided, stir until the butter turns a deep brown and smells nutty.
Place the saucepan containing the infused honey over a medium heat to melt it. Once melted, strain into the saucepan containing the browned butter. Let the mixture cool slightly for about 10 minutes.
In a bowl combine the sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in the butter and honey mixture, lemon juice and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well with each addition. Whisk in the cream.
Pour the filling into the partially pre-baked pie crust and bake for 60-70 minutes. It should be a deep golden brown, with puffed up edges and a slight wiggle in the bottom.
Cool at room temperature for at least 4 hours before eating.