Sunday, December 21, 2014

Eggnog Chiffon Pie

I had thought that the true "original" eggnog contained rum for the alcohol content.  In passing the eggnog case at the grocers I saw "Southern Comfort" eggnog, which means some people prefer bourbon or whiskey.  Then this got me thinking.  After some research, I found that the the choice of alcohol varied in the early years, depending on the location of the creator.  However, the most standout variation must have been George Washington's mix.  His recipe contained rye whiskey, rum and sherry.  It also seems that the egg part was a secondary component, for his original recipe did not list the exact number of eggs used.  No worries though, I declined to pursue making his stout recipe for this pie filling. This particular pie is made with rum and no other alcohol.  I have stuck with my original idea of what eggnog should be spiked with.

The photo above really makes this pie look like cheesecake.  It is far from cheesecake.  For those of you that have had any type of chiffon pie, you know all about that billowy and wonderful light as air texture. As a bonus, the rum eggnog filling is encased in a crisp cinnamon graham pecan crust. The crunchy flavorful addition is truly an asset to the whole dessert.

Instead of the heavy chocolate desserts this year, why not try this pie?  It may turn out to be a keeper that finds its way to your table every Christmas season.

Eggnog Chiffon Pie
adapted from Pie by Ken Haedrich

Ingredients/Graham Cracker Crust
1 cup plus 2 tbs graham cracker crumbs
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tbs firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tbs flour
1/4 cup or 1/2 stick melted butter

Ingredients/ Filling
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
3 egg whites, room temp
2 tbs water
3/4 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup dark rum
3 tbs sifted confectioners sugar
1 envelope plus 1 tsp unflavored gelatin

For the crust: Place all ingredients in a food processor except for melted butter.  Pulse until nuts are very finely chopped and all ingredients are blended evenly.  Pour into a bowl and stir, picking out and breaking up any large nut pieces the processor may have missed.  Then pour in the melted butter and mix until all crumbs are damp. You can use clean hands or a fork for this process. Set aside.

Prepare a pie pan by buttering the interior and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Dump the graham mixture into the pie pan and press evenly in bottom and up the sides.  Place in freezer for 3 minutes.

Remove pan from freezer and put in preheated oven and let bake until lightly browned. Crust should be done in about 7 minutes.  Remove and place on cooling rack.  Once completely cool put pan in refrigerator until ready to fill.

For the filling: fill a small bowl with the water and rum.  Then sprinkle the gelatin powder evenly over the top.  Set aside.  The next part of the filling will be making the creme anglaise.  Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until blended.

Place a saucepan over medium heat and add the half and half.  Let the cream come to a simmer, taking care that it does not boil.  Remove from heat.  Whisk in 1/3 cup of the hot half and half into the egg yolk mixture.  Continue to whisk and stream in the rest of the warm half and half.  Pour mixture back into saucepan and place over medium low heat.  Continue to stir until it reaches a consistency thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Run your finger through the coating and if it leaves a path, it is done.  The time to complete the consistency change should be about 5 minutes. This batter is commonly called creme anglaise.

Remove from heat and mix in the gelatin mixture.  Let the batter come to room temperature and then transfer to a bowl and place in refrigerator.  While you are waiting, place a metal bowl and beaters of a hand mixer in the freezer for about 2 minutes.

Take out the bowl and beaters from freezer and set up your mixer to create the whipped cream.  Pour the heavy cream into the bowl and beat on high speed until soft peaks form.  Sift in the confectioners sugar and then beat the mixture until it becomes firm, about 1 minute.  Then place the bowl of sweetened whipped cream in the refrigerator.

Next, clean and dry your beaters to prepare for the egg whites.  Check your creme anglaise to see if it has reached the right consistency.  It should be as thick as raw egg whites.  If it is not, place back in refrigerator and check every 10 minutes until it reaches the right consistency.

Once the right consistency is achieved, remove the creme anglaise and the bowl of whipped cream from refrigerator.  Fold half of the whipped cream into the creme anglaise until blended.  Then blend in the rest of the whipped cream.  If lumps of whipped cream still remain after some folding, pour through a sieve to remove the lumps. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, add the egg whites and beat with handheld mixer until you have reached the stiff peak stage.  Then add 1/2 cup of the whipped cream mixture and beat for about 30 seconds.  Pour this into the rest of the whipped cream mixture and fold together with spatula.  Once blended, empty this filling into the prepared pie crust and smooth the top.  Tent with foil and place in refrigerator to set up for a minimum of 2 hours and maximum overnight.

You are welcome to serve with a dust of nutmeg on top with a side of whipped cream.

I wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas Holiday!
                                     **LAST YEAR: Gooey Butter Cookies**