As the three of you probably know, peanut butter is my favourite thing, maybe ever. And though I've likely mentioned it before, in a twist, the peanut is not my favourite “nut” (though I guess it is my favourite legume). Instead, that honour goes to the cashew. I love cashews. I'm one of those people that shows up at your house, opens your can of mixed nuts, eats all the cashews and then leaves. In my defence, if I'm there long enough, I'll probably eat the whole can.
My intentions yesterday were not for pie. I wanted cookies. All week I had been planning on making cookies. Maybe biscotti, maybe oatmeal, who knew? But definitely cookies. Then for some reason I took a pre-made pie crust dough out of the freezer. Why? I don't know. Now I had to come up with what pie to make. I had no clue. What I didn't want was a lot of work or leftover ingredients. This negated pretty much everything I could think of. I was hoping that a trip to the grocery store would provide me with some inspiration.
Before leaving I had been leaning towards pecan pie, but as always I took a look at the price of pecans and decided against it (apparently my specific store doesn't like walnuts). However, the trip did yield a bag of cashews for something unrelated, and after another hour of not knowing what to do, I literally said, "nuts to this, I'm using cashews."
Pecan pie was actually the first pie I ever attempted. This specific recipe in fact. What drew me to it initially is that it was created with the idea that pecan pie is too sweet. I vividly remember that the pie crust was a disgusting, greasy, petrified mess but that the filling was fantastic; and I was hoping it would work just as well with the richer, creamier cashew. I was also excited about using salted cashews and potentially having a salty sweet pie. My only other adjustments to the recipe were to use honey, because I didn't have molasses (besides it's called Honey Nut Cheerios, not Molasses Nut... did you know they don't use real nuts any more?); and I removed the salt, because of the salted on the cashews.
The pie looked phenomenal coming out of the oven and I was hoping it would taste as good as it looked. It did. It's similar but different to pecan pie. Although if you ate it too fast, you probably wouldn't notice. The filling was as I remember, creamy, light, and sweet, but not so sweet as to make you cringe. The cashews, should you take your time to savour each bite, provide that distinct cashew flavour, which really pairs nicely with the sweetness of the filling. The texture of the cashew also works well, sturdy, but soft. Again, in that way that cashews are. Unfortunately, you don't get much (or any) of the salt from the nuts, but I can overlook that since it was terrific overall.
In the end, a very backwards, brain dead, Zelda filled Saturday, ended up being a sweet, nutty, pie filled Sunday. I owe it all to indecision, as I don't think I would have attempted it otherwise. Is this pie better than one with pecans? Your answer might come down to preference, but I would urge you to try it at least once. Even if you don't use cashews, I would highly recommend this filling. To date it's the best I've ever had. But with cashews it's an outstanding pie with a great and unique flavour. I now have two reasons for raiding cans of mixed nuts :).
Adapted from Simply RecipesCrust:
My favourite pie crust or your own :).
2 tbsp all purpose flour (18g)
1 cup light corn syrup
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup golden yellow/light brown sugar (55g)
2 tbsp butter, melted (28g)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups salted cashews, roughly chopped
Set rack at the bottom 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 375F. Have ready a 9" unbaked pie crust.
Pour pecans into the unbaked pie shell and spread evenly.
In a medium bowl add all ingredients and whisk until completely combined.
Pour filling over cashews and give the pie plate a few taps to draw up air bubbles.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the middle is just set. As a tip from Simply Recipes, Make sure to check on your pie at 20 minutes. If it's browning too much you may want to cover the exposed crust with tinfoil (I did this with 15 minutes remaining) (Total bake time for me was 40 minutes, which includes the door to the oven opened for about a minute as I put the foil on the pie.)