Sunday, November 18, 2007

nutmeg-maple cream pie

nutmeg-maple cream pie

Before I can tell you about this recipe, I need to ask you a few leetle questions. It will only detain you a minute or two, I promise, but it essential that we get some facts out in the open before we can proceed. I wouldn’t want to lead you astray.

Do you love maple syrup?

maple syrup

Do you flood your pancakes/waffles/French toast with so much maple syrup that you at times question whether they are simply a vehicle for your favorite sweetener, and have nothing to do with breakfast at all?

Do you wonder why, oh why, more desserts are not sweetened with this cozy ingredient, instead of granulated sugar, which is really so boring in comparison?

maple syrup, reducing

Have you tried to swap maple syrup for sugar in a dessert in the past, such as Pumpkin Pie, only to end up sorely disappointed that the maple flavor wasn’t pronounced at all?

Come, sit down next to me. [Hat tip.] Pull up a chair, let’s brew a strong espresso and stay for a while, because I have the dessert that you–and by you I mean we–have been searching for our whole lives.

nutmeg

There is no greater homage to the goodness of maple syrup than this Nutmeg Maple Pie (though I used a tart pan, because I am a rebel) from the New York Times archives. Yes, I worried that the nutmeg would distract us from the main event, too, yet it folded so eloquently into the final flavor, I entirely forgot it was there. I just knew there was something unrecognizably better. This tart is spectacular. It is breakfast, it is a late afternoon coffee break, it is calming, centering dessert after an elaborate dinner. It is that Thing, that recipe you’ve been searching for to bring to Thanksgiving this year, something so fall flavored, people won’t realize they’re breaking with tradition to eat it, but so innovative, you’ll get a break from the predictable.

nutmeg-maple cream pie

It is one of the best dessert surprises I’ve had in a good long while. And now, I’m off to bake the extra custard (because I had to be a rebel with the tart shell, which holds less) into a new crust. I can’t wait.

nutmeg-maple cream pie

One year ago: Orangettes

Nutmeg-Maple Cream Pie
Adapted from the New York Times

3/4 cup maple syrup
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 9-inch pie crust or tart shell.

1. Par-bake pie crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line pie refrigerated pie shell with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until beginning to set. Remove foil with weights and bake 15 to 18 minutes longer or until golden. If shell puffs during baking, press it down with back of spoon. Cool on wire rack. Lower temperature to 300 degrees.

2. Prepare filling: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce maple syrup by a quarter, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and egg. Whisking constantly, slowly add cream mixture to eggs. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a cup or bowl with pouring spout. Stir in salt, nutmeg and vanilla.

4. Pour filling into crust and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until pie is firm to touch but jiggles slightly when moved, about 1 hour. Let cool to room temperature before serving.


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