Honey pie (#35)

No, I am not using some ghastly soppy reference to the lady in my life – although you are more than welcome to use whatever terms of endearment you so wish, however 1950s they may be. No, this is in fact a recipe for an incredible tart which you’ll dream of returning to.

I will flag something which Nigella may or may not mention in the original Simply Nigella recipe (I was naughty and cooked without reading the blurb). There are two ingredients in this one which most sane people would balk at. Firstly, polenta or fine cornmeal. Really? It took me ages to find cornmeal, believe it or not. A stern reminder to me to go looking for the hardest to find ingredient to begin with. Secondly, cider vinegar. I think this the third type of vinegar I now own thanks to this blog. I plain refused to buy more after this, although I am sure I will relent.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, please take the time and money to find and buy these two ingredients. For the few moments of sumptuous delight you get when biting into a slice of this one, it’s totally worth it. Sous-chef Nik had not just one but three slices. Speaks volumes.

Good things: You’ll taste it, and then you’ll see.

Bad things: Clear some space in your store cupboard for a couple of ingredients you might not use for a while.

Ingredients & requirements: you’ll need a 23cm flan tin for this, although I just used a same size cake tin.

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 60ml full-fat milk
    Filling:
  • 100g unsalted butter (soft)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of fine polenta or cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt flakes (and more to sprinkle later!)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 175ml / 250g of runny honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 150ml double cream
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar

For the base

  1. As some prep, I buttered my tin, just to be extra sure.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add and then mix together:
    1. 225g plain flour
    2. 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
    3. 125ml olive oil
    4. 60ml full-fat milk
  3. Once you have a slightly damp dough, put in the tin. Flatten on the bottom and then up the side of the tin. Try and get a decent bit of height on the sides (a centimetre?) just so you have enough for all that lovely batter!
    1. Nigella’s tip is a mix of some finger work, and some massaging with the back of a teaspoon. Worked a treat.
  4. Freeze for at least 1 hour. Leave in until the very last minute (see stage 6 in the next part).

For the actual pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and place a baking tray inside for the tin to sit on later.
  2. Melt the 100g unsalted butter in a small saucepan and set aside for 5 mins.
  3. Afterwards add the melted butter to a large mixing bowl, and then add and beat in the following:
    1. 150g of caster sugar
    2. 1 tablespoon of fine polenta or cornmeal
    3. 2 teaspoons of sea salt flakes
    4. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  4. Once combined, I’d put the mixing bowl on a scale and reset to zero. Then stir in the 250g of runny honey . The scales will prevent you from having to measure the honey in a separate pyrex and having to do that extra bit of washing up.
  5. We then beat the following three ingredients in order (so beat the first in, once done, the next, and so on):
    1. Beat in the 3 eggs.
    2. Beat in the 150ml double cream.
    3. Beat in the 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar.
  6. Take the tin out of the freezer with the pastry and then add the pie filling. It will be very watery, and swash about, so be a bit careful when place it on the baking tray in the oven. Bake for 30 mins, turn it around, and then bake for an extra 15-20 mins (so 45-50 mins in total).
  7. Put on a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with a 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt flakes (but don’t be stingy, the flakes add so much to the flavour). Leave to cool and set for 2 hours and then release from the tin.

Reflections:

So I think everyone involved was pretty happy with this . You do get a little worried when you’re cooking this one. It really does look like it’ll stay a watery gloupe right up until the last few mins. I’d take advantage of closer to 50 mins than 45 mins for it brown a bit more and cook through. Either way what you’re left with is a very thin layer of browning skin, then a top half of set golden pie with a lovely slightly more jelly bottom half of batter. It’s to die for.

The salt in particular also makes this one so delectable. The sweetness of the honey, tinged with the salty flakes, makes my mouth water even now.

IMG_1064

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