The pie, which is what one used to call an icebox pie, was so good I remember it still. The recipe is long lost and I haven’t made it since, because I confess I have a little bit of a gelatin phobia (especially since it only comes in thin little sheets, here in France). But I decided to conquer my fear and make a pie.
In particular I want to make it for Thanksgiving. Since Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, the Europeans are curious about it, so I always go all out.
The French don’t know eggnog, so I thought it would be a good foodie adventure. Of course I can’t buy eggnog here, but this recipe doesn’t call for prepared eggnog--you basically make a homemade eggnog, and put it in a pie. With that tricky gelatin.
So, you don’t mind if I do a little Thanksgiving practice run with you, do you? I made it last night, and I have to say it’s just as good as I remembered, and dead easy. Make it for Thanksgiving if you wish, and if you have to make an extra pie or two to perfect your technique, well, c’est la vie.
RECIPE: Rich and Retro Bourbon Eggnog Pie
I found a recipe that was sort of close at Taste of Home, but I’ve tweaked it. And it must go in a chocolate crust. If you’re a southerner you can probably do that in your sleep. After all, when things get tough in the South, we Make a Pie.
First make and bake the chocolate cookie pie crust. I made the one at Chow, but instead of 4 tablespoons of butter, I used 3, plus 1 tablespoon of bourbon.
Then make the pie:
- 1 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin (or 2 ½ sheets of 3 x 5.5” , or 8x13 cm, sheets of gelatin. Order them here if you want to try them. They're said to dissolve better.)
- 1/4 cup cold water, if using powdered gelatin
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅔ cup milk
- 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1-1/2 cups whipping cream, whipped
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided
In a small bowl, soften powdered gelatin in the ¼ cup cold water; set aside for about 5 to 10 minutes. (If using sheets, put them in 3 cups cold water to soften. To use, fish them out, shake water off, and add to recipe, discarding water).
In a large saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in milk until smooth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to med-high and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks to warm them, and add them to the pan. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in softened gelatin, vanilla, bourbon, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.
Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into pie shell. Sprinkle with remaining nutmeg. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Serves 8.
(A thought: I didn’t try it, but I’m guessing you could lighten this up by cutting the cream to a cup and beating up a couple of those egg whites separately, and folding it all together. That’s typically how homemade eggnog is made).
In the COMMENTS: Anita of the It's a Funderful World blog is a happy Alliance Française member as is Julie, and Libbie has taken their classes in Paris. Rachel of And Then Make Soup says, no AF in your city? Start your own meet-up group! Suzanne in Louisville says there is such a group there called The French Connection. Natalia keeps up with her French through Yabla. If you haven't tried this, it's a most interesting and unique way to learn, on the web.
My condolences to anyone who is suffering through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I was in Charleston for Hugo and my house was trashed, so I feel your pain. Bon courage to all.