Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nutmeg Maple Cream Pie #2

I didn't write about this pie earlier today because:

1-Work was busy

2-I forgot my card reader (and who wants to read a blog without pictures??)

3-I thought that the pie was fine, but it didn't knock my socks off like I wanted it to.

However, I came home from a long day at work (see excuse #1) and though I was planning on just cleaning my oven tonight I couldn't help but have a little piece of pie while my Oven Off was sitting for 20 minutes, and after my second taste test, I feel a lot more inspired about this pie than I did yesterday. I actually had to restrain myself from eating too much which is why I'm blogging right now (15 more minutes left on that Oven Off). So...I'd say that if nothing else, this pie ages well.

The good news is, there is more. I liked it. Usually, I'm not much of one for custardy/creamy pies. I'm a fruit pie-type of a girl, but I also believe in using what's in season, and I know those berries at the store did not come from any place near New York City...so I'm exploring some non-fruit or, shall we say, winter-ish type of pies.

Any way, what am I saying? It was good. I liked it. How do I rate it? Um...well, I need to set up some rating system, but until then, let's just say it was a delightful little flavor, especially today. The first day I felt that the nutmeg overpowered the maple, but I still liked it. Today: tasty.

Were I to make this again, I'd serve it maybe at a summer brunch with berries on the top (or some type of berry sauce-like it's a breakfast food) or at Thanksgiving with pumpkin ice cream (for a little twist on a traditional theme). But just beware that from my minimal experience with custard pies (this being only my second one), it seems like day number two is much better than day number one. Let it cool...and I mean, really cool.

What was right:

The texture. The texture was very silky. One of those textures you want to let melt on you tongue just a little bit. The crust. I am still admiring this crust. It was really nice to work with and it has such a good crunch and at the same time is such a wonderful flakiness about it. I know I'm kind of a werido, but with every bite, I'd look back at the crust and look at the lines of flakes from the broken edge. Also, I'd say it was a nice level of saltiness: complementary but not overpowering. I could go on, but know this: Great Crust. (Thank you Julia Child for the recipe.)

Where I went wrong:

I'm not going to say that it was overcooked, but it definitely wasn't undercooked. How, oh how do you figure out what the directions mean when they say: "Bake until pie is firm to touch but jiggles slightly when moved?"

What? It jiggles and it's firm? Everything I know about in this world tells me that you can either be firm or be jiggly. Not both. (See my derriere.)

So maybe it was a tad too long. It's a little brown on top...and maybe too firm when cooled? (If that's possible?) I ended up cooking it at least 1:25. Next time, I'd try it around 1:15 or even 1:10.

The Reviews:

Well, like I said before, I'd make it again, but not anytime soon and it would have to be with the right meal or right situation to merit a creamy, nutmegy, maple pie. The crust, however, would be a great go-to crust, if you're looking for one. It's fairly easy and elegant...if it's okay to call a pie crust elegant.

Ryan's review: he wouldn't have me make it again, but he liked it enough that he ate more of it today. So...I guess we call that and okay pie, but please note, before you write it off because of that, he's not really one for custard pies either.

The Crust: For one 9-inch pie crust
(adapted from Julia Child)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons (or more) cold water

Whisk flour, salt, and sugar in medium bowl. Add butter and shortening and cut until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons cold water. Work mixture with fingertips until dough comes together in moist clumps, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°F. Roll out dough on floured work surface to 10-inch round. Carefully transfer dough to 9-inch pan. Press dough onto bottom and sides of pan, pressing to adhere to sides. Fold down and roll 1/2 inch of dough sides inward, forming a double-thick edge at the top of the pan. Pinch or press with a fork to set. Freeze for 20 minutes.

Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake crust until sides are set, about 15 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Pierce bottom of crust all over with fork. Continue to bake until bottom is set and pale golden, about 18 minutes longer. Remove from oven and cool in pan on rack.

The Nutmeg Maple Cream Filling
(Adapted from the New York Times)

¾ cup maple syrup
2¼ cups heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 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.

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.

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.

1 comment:

  1. THAT SOUNDS INCREDIBLE! I can't wait to try it! I love your pie making idea! I'll take pie over cake any day! I wish my husband way making me 52 pies for the year! Strike that... I wish YOU were making ME 52 pies! :) Way to go- good luck and thanks for stumbling across my blog. (The church DOES make it a small world, and the internet makes it even smaller. :) I guess we just can't help that we like to cook right?