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Honey Chess Pie

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Ingredients

9-inch pie shell, partially baked (recipe follows)

¾ cup wildflower honey

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick (4 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons cornmeal, preferably white

2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 eggs, at room temperature

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

⅓ cup heavy cream

Pie Shell

1 teaspoon dry yeast

⅔ cup warm water

2⅓ cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Honey Chess Pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the pie shell on a sturdy baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Place the honey, brown sugar, butter, cornmeal, flour, vanilla, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is smooth. With the machine running, add the eggs, one at a time, processing until blended and scraping the bowl after each addition. With the machine on, add the lemon juice and then the heavy cream through the feed tube. Scrape the filling into the pie shell.
  3. Bake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the edges puff up slightly and the center is firm. Let cool completely before serving.

Baking Tip: Refrigerating this pie will make it easier to cut, but the flavor is best at room temperature. Try chilling the pie thoroughly, cutting neat slices, and letting them stand on their plates for at least half an hour before serving.

Pie Crust

  1. In a mixing bowl, proof yeast in 120-degree water until it starts to foam.
  2. Using the dough hook of the mixer, mix half the flour into the yeast/water mixture.
  3. Add the salt and olive oil and the remaining flour and knead with the dough hook until elastic, about 5 minutes.
  4. Set aside and let rest for at least 30 minutes before dividing and rolling.
  5. Divide dough into 4 4-ounce pieces and roll each into an 8-inch circle.

Partially Baked Pie Shell
This technique is for a pie shell you’ve made yourself or a frozen or refrigerated crust you’ve purchased. The time and temperature called for here result in what is technically a “blind-baked shell,” cooked just enough to hold a filling without turning soggy and to allow further baking without darkening the rim.

  1. Roll out one disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to a round 1/16 to 1/18 inch thick. Carefully fold into quarters or wrap over the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Ease the dough into the pan without stretching. Trim the edges to leave an overhang of about ½-inch. Fold under and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate the pie shell while the oven heats.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Whether using a store-bought prepared shell or homemade pastry, place the pie shell on a sturdy baking sheet to make it easier to maneuver. Line the pie shell with parchment paper and fill with 3 cups dried beans or pie weights.
  3. Bake the pie shell for 18 to 20 minutes. The dough should look fairly dry but not at all browned. Remove from the oven. Using a large spoon, scoop out the beans or pie weights. Remove the paper and let the shell cool completely before proceeding with your recipe. Be sure to save the beans; they can be reused many times.

Baking Tip: If you have trouble handling dough successfully, try rolling out the disk on a floured sheet of parchment paper or wax paper. Then you can just lift the paper and invert the dough into the pie dish.

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