Total Time
Prep 2 hrs
Cook 1 hr

This recipe comes from Four & Twenty Blackbirds, a bakery in Brooklyn NY. It is a type of chess pie with honey added to the custard and topped with sea salt. You need the large, fine sea salt flakes for the topping for this recipe - Maldon works well here. The recipe calls for 1 to 2 tablespoons of sea salt to finish, but I find that one tablespoon is enough salt for my taste. Adjust accordingly to suit your preference for salt. I made this for our 4th of July cookout, and it was a big hit. The crust recipe calls for "ice water/ cider vinegar mixture" - I give the "recipe" for this in the instructions below. If you cannot find vanilla paste, you can use 1 teaspoon of vanilla. The "prep time" listed below includes the time needed to make, rest, and bake the pie crust. If you choose to use a store-bought pie crust this pie comes together very quickly, and the prep time is only about 5 minutes.

Ingredients Nutrition


  2. Combine 1 cup cold water, 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar, and 1/4 cup ice, mix well. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Using a pastry cutter, blend in the butter, being careful not to overwork during this step. The butter should be in pea-sized chunks - not too big, but not completely incorporated.
  4. Slowly add the ice water and vinegar mixture, one tablespoon at a time, and bring the dough completely together by hand, again being careful not to overwork. you may only need 4 tablespoons of the ice water/vinegar mixture - add another tablespoon if the mixture is still too dry to bring the dough together. Aim to create a marbleized effect, so that the butter is still visible. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour or more before use.
  5. Pre-bake the crust: Roll the dough out to fit a 9-inch pie pan, about 1/4 inch thick. Place in a buttered pie pan, and crimp the edges as desired. Allow to rest and cool in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Line the crust with tinfoil or unwaxed parchment paper, add pie weights or about a cup of dried beans if you don't have pie weights. Distribute them evenly.
  7. Bake in a 375º oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before filling with custard.
  9. Melt butter and combine with the sugar, salt, and cornmeal to make a thick paste.
  10. Add the honey, vanilla paste, and vinegar and mix together.
  11. Mix in the beaten eggs and the cream until all ingredients are well combined.
  12. Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie shell and bake at 350º for 45 to 60 minutes. The filling will puff up like a marshmallow and the center will be just slightly wobbly.
  13. Once cooled (at least one hour), finish with a sprinkling of flake sea salt.
  14. Slice and serve with whipped cream.