Lavender Crème Brûlée Pie
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WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
Crème brûlée, the light, silky custard with a crackly sugar top, is a mainstay on the dessert menu of fancy restaurants. We thought the textural contrast of the dessert would translate well to pie form, so we set out to develop a recipe for... Read More
GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
We like the flavor of the lemon pie dough in this recipe, but you can use any single-crust pie dough recipe. Do not use a broiler to caramelize the sugar crust. We love the pop of color candied violets add, but they are optional.
FOR THE DOUGH: Grate 2 tablespoons butter on large holes of box grater and place in freezer. Cut remaining 8 tablespoons butter into ½-inch cubes.
Pulse ¾ cup flour, sugar, grated lemon zest, and salt in food processor until combined, 2 pulses. Add cubed butter and process until homogeneous paste forms, about 30 seconds. Using your hands, carefully break paste into 2-inch chunks and redistribute evenly around processor blade. Add remaining ½ cup flour and pulse until mixture is broken into pieces no larger than 1 inch (most pieces will be much smaller), 4 to 5 pulses. Transfer mixture to bowl. Add grated butter and toss until butter pieces are separated and coated with flour.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons ice water over mixture. Toss with rubber spatula until mixture is evenly moistened. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons ice water over mixture and toss to combine. Press dough with spatula until dough sticks together. Transfer dough to sheet of plastic wrap. Draw edges of plastic over dough and press firmly on sides and top to form compact, fissure-free mass. Wrap in plastic and form into 5-inch disk. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Let chilled dough sit on counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes, before rolling. (Wrapped dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling.)
Roll dough into 12-inch circle on floured counter. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto 9-inch pie plate, letting excess dough hang over edge. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with your hand while pressing into plate bottom with your other hand.
Trim overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of plate. Tuck overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of plate. Crimp dough evenly around edge of plate. Wrap dough-lined plate loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
Line chilled pie shell with double layer of aluminum foil, covering edges to prevent burning, and fill with pie weights. Bake on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet until edges are set and just beginning to turn golden, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Remove foil and weights, rotate sheet, and continue to bake crust until golden brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer sheet to wire rack. (Crust must still be warm when filling is added.)
While crust bakes, whisk ⅔ cup sugar, eggs, cornstarch, and salt together in bowl. Bring milk, cream, and lavender to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Slowly whisk 1 cup of hot milk mixture into egg mixture to temper, then slowly whisk tempered egg mixture into remaining milk in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until custard is thickened, bubbling, and registers 180 degrees, 30 to 90 seconds (custard should have consistency of thick pudding). Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer into clean bowl, then stir in vanilla.
With pie still on sheet, pour custard into warm crust, smoothing top with clean spatula into even layer. Transfer pie to oven and bake until center of pie registers 160 degrees, 14 to 18 minutes. Let pie cool completely on wire rack, about 4 hours. Cover cooled pie loosely with plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Blot surface of pie dry with paper towels, then sprinkle evenly with remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Using torch, evenly caramelize sugar until deep golden brown. Sprinkle with candied violets, if using. Serve.