A couple years ago Joe and I drove through Pie Town, NM; you might remember me mentioning it from our travels to the Gila Cliff Dwellings and the Catwalk Recreational Trail. It’s an enchanting little town who’s claim to fame is three pie restaurants with a long history of selling pies since the 1920’s. They are Pi-O-Neer, Pie Town Cafe, and The Gathering Place. On our visit we stopped at the Pie Town Cafe and had a slice of Apple Cranberry Pie and a slice of Pecan Pinon Pie. Talk about WOW, that slice of Pecan Pinon Pie was something I had never tasted before, the filling was similar to the texture of a pecan pie but the taste indicated there was honey or possibly maple syrup along with or in place of corn syrup. That pie has never left my memory and today I finally made the Pinon pie of my dreams. I set out to test the different versions that might taste similar to Pie Town’s pie. I mixed a teaspoon of corn syrup with honey and another teaspoon with maple syrup. I set it in front of Joe and had him taste to find out his thoughts on what tasted best to him and I did the same. We both agreed that the honey combined with corn syrup was the one. From there I decided to give it a little kick by adding some red chile flakes to the filling. After all I’ve already made an Apple Green Chile Pie with Pine Nut Streusel and that turned out amazing. I am happy to say my Honey Pinon Pie tasted way better than I ever imagined. You never know what will inspire you when you travel off the beaten path. Pie Town is one of those places!
The ingredients include sugar, butter, eggs, corn syrup, honey, vanilla, salt, ground red chile and pinon nuts (pine nuts).
Crack the eggs in a small bowl and add salt.
Add vanilla as well.
Whisk them all together, set aside.
In a 2 quart heavy bottomed saucepan, add sugar, butter and honey.
Add the corn syrup to the mix.
Heat on medium to gradually melt the butter, sugar, honey and corn syrup together.
Once the butter has melted completely and the sugar has dissolved, remove from the burner and let cool slightly.
Once the mixture has cooled a bit, begin to add the eggs a little at a time whisking continuously to temper the eggs.
Time to add the red chile. You can use NM Red Chile or Guajillo. I grind my own chiles and like them roughly ground. If you buy it already ground, it will probably be a finer ground. I wanted a hint of red chile without the heat so I went with the Guajillo chile, it’s milder and has a good flavor.
I started with a teaspoon of red chile and tasted it. It needed more so I added another 1/2 teaspoon. Stir it all together.
When I made the pie crust for the Apple Cranberry Pie, I made 2 extra pie crusts to put up in the freezer. It was so easy to put this pie together by having a ready made crust that thawed in the time it took me to make the filling. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell. Place some aluminum foil around the edges of the crust to keep it from browning too quickly.
Sprinkle the pinons over the pie filling until it’s completely covered. I had no idea how many I needed but it was about 1 cup give or take a few. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes longer. Remove the aluminum foil 5 – 10 minutes before you remove the pie from the oven.
This took approximately 50 minutes for the center of the pie to set.
Let cool completely before slicing.
Have you ever heard of a Salted Honey Pie? Actually I haven’t ever tasted one but I decided to sprinkle some flaked sea salt on top like they do on the salted honey pie just to see what it was like. It was so good, I think I will sprinkle a little sea salt on my next slice too!
Honey Pinon Pie with Red Chile
2/3 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Butter
1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Corn Syrup
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons ground Red Chile, I used Guajillo Chiles that were roughly ground. Can use NM Red Chile
1 cup Pinon Nuts
Unbaked 9″ Pie Shell, (recipe from Cook’s Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together the eggs, salt and vanilla in a small bowl, set aside.
Combine sugar, butter, honey and corn syrup in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Remove from heat and let mixture cool slightly. Add the beaten eggs and whisk constantly to temper the eggs. Add red chile and stir until evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into a prepared unbaked 9″ pie crust. Sprinkle pinon nuts on top to cover pie. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, turn down the temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking for 35 – 40 minutes more or until pie is set in the center.
Tip: Cut 1 inch aluminum foil strips to secure around the outer edges of the pie crust with toothpicks. This will prevent the outer crust from browning too quickly. Remove foil the last 5 – 10 minutes of bake time.