This week on the farm we are hosting 24 roaring bee hives. My family has been using the same Bee keepers for over 40 years. The blossoms are bursting forth here on our orchard and there is audible buzz that I can hear when I walk around in the evenings. I love honey bees. I love honey. I love all butter crusts and I love pie. Its been ions since shared one of my favorite farmhouse recipes with you all and Salted Honey Pie has been on my mind for days. Almost every friday morning, when I was City kitty in NE Portland, I would to walk to go have a slice of pie and french pressed coffee at this unbridledly precious, spot called Sweedeedee's. Sweedeedee's is the most Portlandia restaurant in all of portland and I mean that with the upmost affection and reverence. Everything that I adore is served in this darling honeycombed eatery/bakery. One thing that they are famous for is their Salted Honey Pie. At Sweedeedee, that pie is a must-order, its custardy sweet filling is villainously rich, its crust light and flaky. This pie is a game changer! My dear friend Liza, introduced me to this magical place and I am indebted to her for being such a wonderful scout of all things delicious in Portland!
At Mt. View Orchards we are huge fans of honey bee's and invest greatly in their viability and sustainability in our region My grandfather used to say the best decision a farmer can make is to protect and care for their bee hives. Did you know that Honeybees are the only insect that produce food eaten by mankind? Honey bees have 170 odorant receptors, compared with only 62 in fruit flies and 79 in mosquitoes. Their exceptional olfactory abilities include kin recognition signals, social communication within the hive, and odor recognition for finding food. Their since of smell is so precise that it could differentiate hundreds of different floral varieties and tell whether a flower carried pollen or nectar from metres away. My favorite fact is that honeybee's communicate with each other by dancing? The honey bee's wings stroke incredibly fast, about 200 beats per second, thus making their famous, distinctive buzz. A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour. Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water; and it's the only food that contains "pinocembrin", an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning. (Cue the Honeypie song by the Beattles)
We can thank bee's for over 1/3 of our diet. Let's hear it for the Bee's! This morning I am celebrating their powerful pollination work around our orchard by making a Salted Honey Pie. Salted Honey Pie is a Revelation and I encourage you all to make this pie this weekend to celebrate the powerful and beautiful work of Bee's. xoxo your grateful, honey loving farmer
Salty Honey Pie
makes 1 9-inch pie
For the Crust:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold buttermilk
For the Filling:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon white cornmeal
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
3/4 cup local honey (I use raw meadow foam honey)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt (I used Vanilla Sea Salt from The Meadow)
To make the crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers (or a potato masher), work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk. Use a fork to bring to dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. Add a bit more buttermilk if necessary, but you want to mixture to be shaggy and not outwardly wet.
On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. That’s perfect. Gently knead into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Allowing the dough to rest in the refrigerator will help rechill the butter and distribute the moisture.
To roll out the pie crust, on a well floured surface, roll the crust 1/8 inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a pie pan. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan Fold the edges under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place a rack in the center of the oven.
To make the filling, in a medium bowl whisk together melted butter, sugar, cornmeal, and salt. Split vanilla bean and add the vanilla bean scrapings (or extract, if using) into the butter mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in honey.
Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine.
Whisk in heavy cream and vinegar.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Bake pie for 45 to 55 minutes until pie is deep golden brown and puffed around the edges and set in the center. Open the oven and rotate the pie halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature, and sprinkle with sea salt just before serving. Enjoy! (adapted from Joy the Baker)