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 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?
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.
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.
It is one of the best dessert surprises I’ve had in a 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.
One year ago: Orangettes
Nutmeg Maple Cream Pie
- 1 9-inch pie crust, either storebought or homemade
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (see Note)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lower oven temperature to 300°F degrees.
Prepare filling: In a medium saucepan — larger than you think you’ll need, because it can bubble over — over medium-high heat, reduce maple syrup to 1/2 cup, which takes about 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk in cream and bring back to a simmer, briefly. Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl with a pouring spout, if you have one.
In a medium bowl, whisk together yolks and whole egg. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle cream mixture into eggs. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve back into the bowl with the pouring spout, if using. Stir in salt, nutmeg and vanilla.
Bake pie: 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 with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, softly whipped cream, and a few gratings of nutmeg, if you wish.
Do ahead: Pie keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.