T-minus one week until Thanksgiving is here in full force! Last week we prepped with cornbread stuffing with herbs and leeks, this week we have the perfect way to end the meal: salted maple pie.
I am always inspired by bakeries that make beautiful pies in fun flavors. They seem to get more press this time of the year as people are looking to outsource part of their big Thanksgiving meal. Back in North Carolina, East Durham Bake Shop shines this time of year, selling pies in all flavors at their shop and local farmers’ markets, and posting tantalizing photos of full pies, coffee, and pastries on their Instagram account. Here in Nashville, bakeries like Baked on 8th and Dozen Bakery, among others, have been showcasing their Thanksgiving treat menus for weeks with pies like salted caramel apple and buttermilk pear. But long before these local pie shops caught my eye, I admired Milk Bar in Manhattan, Four and Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn, and Sister Pie in Detroit – the original pie bakeries in my mind.
Salted maple pie may sound unconventional, but it is inspired by traditional Southern chess pie and these great bakeries of the pie world. Salted honey pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds and milk pie (formerly “crack pie”) of Milk Bar were the original inspiration. I later found a version of salted maple pie from Sister Pies bakery and made my own tweaks to the flavors of the filling and crust. I swapped maple syrup for honey in some of the other pies to give it a richer and deeper fall flavor, perfect for Thanksgiving. The sea salt sprinkled on top cuts the sweetness of the pie and creates a delicious sweet and salty combination that is hard to resist, while the crisp crust complements the smooth texture of the filling. While some recipes add apple cider vinegar to the crust, I found the flavor a little to abrasive when it was separate from the filling and the addition made the dough more difficult to work with. I also love love love my favorite all butter pie crust that can do no wrong ;) To add some of that acidity and balance out the sweet maple syrup, I added the apple cider vinegar to the pie filling itself. It is subtle enough that you wouldn’t know it is there at all, but it creates such a nice balance that I would miss it if it wasn’t added.
They say, “easy as pie,” and sometimes it is, but other times pie can be tricky. This is mostly for the crust. But, pie baking should also be fun! The outcome and the enjoyment from other guests always makes whatever work you put into it so worthwhile. In this salted maple pie we blind bake the pie crust to avoid a soggy bottomed pie. I have found that making the crust in an aluminum or metal pan makes it cook faster, where a ceramic or glass dish bakes at a slower rate. This can be tricky for your pie crust when blind baking, so keep an eye on the color and take it out before it gets dark. Remember, it will continue to cook and darken while the filling bakes, so you don’t want it to be too dark before filling it. This pie crust (and filling) recipe is great for a ceramic dish where you may need more crust to cover the taller edges. If you have a smaller dish you may end up cutting off more of the crust, but it is always better to have too much than too little. If you have scraps, you can cut them and use them as decoration on the final pie, or brush with extra egg wash, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, bake, and enjoy pie crust cookies!
Salted maple pie is perfectly chewy, filled with deep maple syrup flavor, and topped with sea salt to create that irresistible sweet and salty combination. It was such a hit in our house that when I asked what pies we should make for Thanksgiving, Will immediately said “I don’t care what other pies there are, but we need that maple one you made!” I hope it is just as big of a hit in your house :)
Salted Maple Pie
- 1 pie crust, recipe follows
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cups pure maple syrup
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon + few pinches salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, for topping
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2-4 tablespoons ice water
Make the Pie Crust
If using a store bought (frozen) pie crust, blind bake according to the directions on the package.
Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor or whisk together by hand in a large bowl. Add the butter and pulse a few times in the food processor, or quickly cut in with two knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Some larger pieces will remain. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture and pulse or mix with a fork. If your dough is still too dry to come together, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse or mix with a fork. It should come together in a ball.
Place the ball of dough on a piece of plastic wrap and press it into a disk. Wrap it in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or 1 day. If you are going to make it farther in advance, you can freeze the dough for up to 3 months, just thaw in the refrigerator before using.
Blind Bake the Pie Crust
Roll out the chilled pie dough into a circle a bit larger than your pie dish. Lay the circle over your pie dish and gently press it into the bottom of the dish. Cut excess dough and crimp the dough around the edges of the pie dish. Poke the bottom a few times with a fork. Place the dish in the freezer to chill for at least 15 minutes.
Make the Salted Maple Pie
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter and maple syrup. Whisk in the brown sugar, cornmeal, and salt.
In another medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolk, cream, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar until combined.
Slowly pour the egg mixture into the maple syrup mixture and whisk just until combined.
Place the blind-baked pie crust on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the edges of the crust with the beaten egg then pour the maple filling into the shell until it reaches the bottom of the crimps. If you have any extra, fill a ramekin and bake separately for an individual treat.
Bake the pie for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the edges are slightly puffed and the center only jiggles a little when shaken. It will continue to cook and set after you take it out as it cools. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and move the pie to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Once fully cooled, generously sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve.
Store leftover pie at room temperature or in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap. I love eating it straight from the fridge :)
Recipe adapted from Sister Pie