This recipe is adapted from "The Pie and Pastry Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I made this for a County
Fair and did not taste it. The design is what captivated me to make this pie.
Necessary equipment :
9 -inch pie pan; bubble wrap with small bubbles cut in a circle;
a pastry bag or a reclosable quart-size freezer bag; and a number 12 (1/4-inch) round decorating tube
Sweet Cookie Tart Crust or Vanilla Nut Crumb Crust, made with walnuts, for a 9-inch pie, pressed into the pan and chilled (recipe at the bottom)
3/4 cup or 9 ozs apricot preserves
4 large egg yolks or 2.6 ozs ( 1 egg white reserved)
2 1/4 tsp or 0.25 ozs gelatin
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup wildflower honey
1 liquid cup or 8.5 oz milk
3/4 liquid cup or 6 ounces heavy cream
2 Tbsp or 1 oz 1 egg white (reserved)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
To make Honey Ganache Bees:
3 ozs bittersweet chocolate
1/3 liquid cup or 2.75 ozs cream
2 tsp or 0.5 oz honey
1/3 of a 3-0z bar or 1 oz white chocolate, chopped
16 unblanched almond, slices
Make the Apricot Filling and Glaze:
Put apricot preserve in a food processor and pulse to break up the whole pieces of apricot. Remove 1/3 cup to use for the filling and set is aside. Place the remaining preserves in a heatproof glass and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbling thickly. Strain them into a bowl. You should have 1/3 cup of glaze and a scant tablespoon of pulp. If there is more glaze, reheat the glaze and reduce it to 1/3 cup or it wont't coat as well. Allow the glaze to cool to room temperature, then cover it and set it aside for the topping.
Spread little dabs of the pulp evenly onto the bake pie crust.
Make the custard filling:
Chill a small bowl for the whipped cream.
Have ready a fine strainer suspended over a small mixing bowl near the range. In a small heavy nonreactive saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, gelatin, salt, and honey.
In another small saucepan, scald the milk. Stir a few tablespoons int the yolk mixture; then gradually add the remainder stirring constantly. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk and scraping the sides, to just before the boiling point (170 to 180 degrees F) Steam will begin to appear and the mixture will be slightly thicker than heavy cream. It will leave a well-defined track when a finger is run across the back of the spoon. Immediately remove it from the heat and pour it into the strainer, scraping up the thickened custard that has settled on the bottom of the pan. Stir the mixture until it is uniform in color. Set it aside.
Make meringue 20 minutes before using it.
In a chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream until it mounds softly when dropped from a spoon. Chill.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg white until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Set the meringue aside briefly.
Chill the honey mixture by placing the bowl in a bowl of ice water with a tablespoon of salt added to speed chilling. Stir occasionally for the first 10 minutes and then slowly but constantly for about 10 minutes longer. (If you prefer, you can refrigerate the mixture, stirring occasionally for the first 10 minutes and then every few minutes.) When a small amount dropped from the spoon mounds very slightly on the surface before disappearing, immediately remove the bowl from the water bath and, using a whisk, fold in first the egg white, then the shipped cream. The mixture should be well incorporated but still streaky. Fold in the reserved 1/3 cup of whole apricot preserves until streaky but not fully incorporated. Finish by using a rubber spatula to reach the bottom of the bowl, as the heavier part tends to settle. (you will have about 4 cups of filling.) Pour it at once into the prepared pie crust and press the bubble wrap against the surface, bubbles down. Freeze for at least 3 hours, or until the bubble wrap can be removed without sticking to the cream.
Stir the apricot glaze topping until smooth. it should be very thick but still fluid. If it is not fluid, add a tiny amount of water but do not heat it. Brush or spoon it on the filling while the surface is still frozen solid, to maintain the honey-comb design. Refrigerate the pie for at lest 1 hour, to thaw, before serving decorate with honey ganache bees.
Making Honey Ganache Bees
Break the chocolate into pieces and process it in a food processor with the metal blade until very fine.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream and honey to the boiling point. With motor running, pour it through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process for a few seconds or until smooth. Scrape the ganache into a bowl and allow it to cool until it is thick enough to pipe.
Spoon the ganche into a pastry bag or plastic bag fitted with the number 12 tube. On a sheet of waxed paper, pipe a round ball for the head and , leaving the tube in place, continue piping a teardrop shape for the body, pulling the tube toward you gradually so that it tapers to a point. In the upper container of a double boiler, over hot water stirring often, or in a microwave oven, stirring every 10 seconds, melt the white chocolate. Scrape it into a parchment cone or plastic bag and cut off a very small piece of the tip. Pipe 3 narrow horizontal lines on the ganache body. Attach an almond slice to each side of the body, pointed end down, to form the wings. If the ganache is too soft to hold them in place, freeze or refrigerate the bees for a few minutes first. Slip the waxed paper with the bees onto a flat surface and place the finished bees in the freezers until firm enough to lift with a small metal spatula. They will stay flexible even when frozen solid, so the pointed tail end can be curved down slightly, using your fingers. Place the bees evenly around the edge of the pie so that the bodies rest on the crust and heads touch the glazed chiffon fillings, or place them randomly on top of the filling.
Can be stored in refrigerator for 3 to 4 days; frozen, up to 3 weeks.
Making the Crust for 9 inch Pie
Sweet Cookie Tart Crust
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1-inch cube ( 4 ozs)
1/4 cup sugar (1.75 ozs)
1 1/2 scant cups bleached all-purpose flour (7 ozs)
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp egg yolk (0.65 oz)
2 Tbsp heavy cream
In a food processor, pulse butter and sugar about 15 times or until the sugar disappears. Add the flour and salt and pulse again about 15 times or until the butter is no larger than small peas.
In a small bowl, stir together the yolk and cream. Add it to the mixture and pulse just until incorporated, about 8 times. The dough will still be in crumbly spices. Empty it into a plastic bag and press the dough from the outside just until it holds together.
Remove the dough from the plastic bag and place it on a very large piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap, knead the dough a few times util the dough becomes one smooth piece. Flatten it into a 6-inch disc. Wrap the dough well and refrigerated for 30 minuted, or freeze for 10 minutes until firm enough to pat into the pan or to roll.
Roll the dough between lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap to an 1/8-inch thick circle and cut an 11 1/2-inch dough circle. Place it onto a 9-inch pie pan and gently press the dough against the sides of the pan. Flute the edges according to your liking. Then refrigerate it for at least an hour before blind baking.
Preheat oven 425 degree F.
Place a parchment on top of the pie. Fill the parchment with rice or dried beans, making sure they are pushed up well against side of the pie pan. . Bake for 5 minutes then lower the heat to 375 and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the parchment and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes more.
For the Crumb Crust: (This is not baked)
1 1/3 cups or 5.6 ozs crumbs, lightly packed
2/3 cups pecans or walnuts
4 tsp sugar
2 pinches of salt
3/4 tsp of ground cinnamon (optional)
5 Tbsp or 2.5 ozs melted butter
Process the cookies with the nuts, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a food processor until the cookies become fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse about 10 times, just until incorporated.
Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, begin pressing the mixture into the bottom of the pie pan and partway up the side. To keep the crumbs from sticking to your fingers, it helps to place a piece of plastic wrap over the crumbs and press them through the wrap. then switch to a flat-bottomed straight-sided measuring cup or glass to smooth the crumbs over the bottom and all the way up the sides. Be sure to press the bottom thoroughly so that the crumbs are evenly distributed.
As you press the crumbs against the sides, they will rise about the rim. Use your left index finger to press against them from the other direction, forming a little ridge or peak. (Chilling the crust for a few minutes firms the butter and makes this task easier.)