Courtney Dudman Donley is the “C” behind C Salt Gourmet. She makes truffles, brittle, and other delectables.
Confession- I’ve previously gone on the record swearing that I am not, and will never be, a baker. This is not for lack of love of baked goods- in fact 2 of my 3 favorite foods on earth are cinnamon rolls and key lime pie. Even though as a chocolatier I work with a notoriously temperamental and exacting ingredient, baking has never come easily to me and, to quote the song this pie is named for, “I’m in love but I’m lazy”.
But this Pie-A-Day project has captured my attention. After weeks of reading blog-post after blog-post, pie after pie, out loud to my husband he gave me the gentle kick in the arse I needed to step out of my comfort zone and make a damn pie, already.
Since we fell in love listening to ‘The White Album’… and since he planted sage in his garden for me… and since I happen to have in my possession the most mind-blowing honey I have ever tasted, this is it: My Wild Honey Pie, with pine nuts and home-grown sage.
To Make the Pie
I used the Vodka Pie Dough recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. Or frozen pie crust (for my fellow bake-ophobes/lazies).
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
2/3 cup Demerara Sugar
Zest of 1 orange (or Tangelo, because that’s what I had)
5 Whole, fresh sage leaves
3/4 cup Wildflower honey- I’m swooning over some from ‘Back Yard Beekeepers’
2/3 cup Demerara Sugar
2 sticks Unsalted Butter
1 eggs plus 2 yolks
6 oz Freshly toasted pine nuts- buy them raw and give them a light toast in a dry pan.
Set your oven to 325. Lightly flour the pie pan. Roll out the crust and place it in the pie pan and then let it chill in the freezer while you work on the filling.
Heat the cream on low-do not boil- with the sage, orange zest and 1 pinch of sea salt for4 minutes. Set aside. Boil honey and sugar until dissolved= it will foam and bubble. Check periodically to see if the sugar is dissolved by lifting the spatula and looking through the mixture for granules- but don’t touch! Way hotter than boiling water. Add in butter, a bit at a time.
When combined, set aside to cool.
Remove zest and sage leaves from cream and whisk in eggs, then combine the cream mixture with the honey mixture thoroughly. It might take a few minutes, but keep working at it- it will come together.
Pull pie crust from freezer and place on a cookie sheet. Pour in your pine nuts and smooth them out across the bottom of the pie. Pour the filling mixture over the pine nuts- easy does it! Give it a stir to bring some of the nuts to the surface, then sprinkle very lightly with sea salt. Bake for an hour until its mostly set and brilliant gold.
Let it cool. Maybe add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to your slice. “I like it like that. Oh!”