Admit it: you love that supermarket eggnog that calls to you from the dairy case, right? CurvyMama freely admits that she loves it. But don’t think we’re strictly low-brow, either; we love the top-quality eggnog, too. So when December rolled around, our thoughts turned to eggnog… but in pie form. Yum! What a perfect pairing! (Big hat tip here to CurvyMama daughter #1, better known as Sweetie Pie Hannah, for putting this creamy idea into words.)
We’re certainly not the first to make an eggnog pie. We saw many recipes online, and we’re betting they’re yumtious. But we didn’t want to do what a lot of them did: make the pie from store-bought eggnog. We wanted to start from scratch, with good-quality ingredients.
We modeled our pie after the basic ingredients of any good eggnog, like the one in my cousin Jenn’s blog, Kitchy Cooking. Jenn published our family eggnog recipe, which has become something of a legend at Thanksgiving, with its generous heap of heavy cream and its butt-kicking dose of booze.
In CurvyMama’s eggnog cream pie, the Bourbon, rum or cognac are optional. But all the creamy, nutmeggy, eggy-ness will take you back to those childhood winters. We put ours in a gingersnap crust, too, which is another heavenly taste–and smell, when it’s baking–of cozy winter afternoons.
Without further ado, here’s the way to chase away holiday stress (especially if you slip the booze in).
Start with the filling. That’s because it has to sit and steep for at least a half-hour. While that’s happening, you’ll have time to make your crust.
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and half-and-half. Slice open the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds, and drop those into the milk mixture along with the bean pod. Add the nutmeg and the whole cloves. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a scald–hot enough to give off steam, and form tiny bubbles at the edges, but not to simmer or boil. Turn off the heat. Cover the pan and let the mixture steep for 30 to 45 minutes.
While the dairy mixture is steeping, make your crust. Preheat the oven to 350. Melt the butter and mix it thoroughly into the gingersnap cookie crumbs. Press it into a 9-inch pie pan and let it rest in the freezer until the oven has preheated. Bake for 7-8 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
You’ll probably still have some steeping time left on the clock. So whisk your egg yolks and sugar together in a small bowl. Put it in the refrigerator. In another small, round-bottomed bowl, combine the cornstarch, flour and salt. Set aside.
When the milk mixture has steeped 30 to 45 minutes, remove the bean pod and the cloves. Pour a half-cup or so of the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and whisk it until combined. Pour the liquid cornstarch mixture back into the pan. Whisk in the egg-sugar mixture.
Over medium-high heat, cook the custard, whisking constantly to make sure it doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan or cook into lumps. Cook and whisk until the custard thickens and comes to a boil, and then continue to cook and whisk for about two minutes more. If you’re using the rum, cognac or Bourbon, add it once the custard has come to a boil.
Take the custard off the heat and pour into a bowl. Cover immediately with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent the formation of a thick film.
Allow the custard to cool to room temperature, then spoon it into the baked cookie crust. Chill completely.
When ready to serve, combine the powdered sugar with the heavy cream and whip into stiff peaks. Spoon a dollop onto each pie slice as it is served, or heap onto the middle and sprinkle with gingersnap cookie crumbs. Happy holidays!
- 1 1/2 cups (7 ounces) finely ground gingersnap cookie crumbs
- 5 2/3 Tbsp. (2 7/8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 4 whole cloves
- A rounded 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 vanilla bean
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- A couple dashes of Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup rum, Bourbon or cognac (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
- In a medium saucepan, combine the half and half, cream, cloves and nutmeg. Slice open the vanilla bean and gently scrape out its seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the milk mixture. Heat mixture until steam rises from it but it's not simmering or boiling. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter. Stir with a fork to combine. Press into a 9-inch pie pan. Chill. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Set aside.
- In a small round-bottomed bowl, combine the cornstarch, flour and salt.
- When the cream and half-and-half mixture has steeped enough, remove the vanilla bean pod and the cloves. Stir about a half-cup of the dairy mixture into the dry ingredients. Whisk to combine, making sure the cornstarch has dissolved and there are no lumps.
- Put the cream mixture back on the stove over medium-high heat. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Whisk in the egg-sugar mixture.
- Continue to cook, whisking constantly to make sure the custard doesn't stick to the sides of the pan or cook into lumps. Cook and whisk until the custard thickens and comes to a boil. If you're using the rum, cognac or Bourbon, add it now. Continue to cook and whisk for about two minutes more.
- Take the custard off the heat and pour into a bowl. Cover immediately with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent the formation of a film.
- Allow the custard to cool to room temperature, then spoon it into the baked cookie crust. Chill thoroughly.
- When ready to serve, combine the powdered sugar with the heavy cream and whip into stiff peaks. Spoon a dollop onto each pie slice as it is served, or heap onto the center of the pie and sprinkle with gingerbread cookie crumbs.
- If at all possible, use freshly ground nutmeg for this recipe. Grinding your own on a microplane is ideal; but if that isn't an option, see if you can hunt down some freshly ground nutmeg in bulk at Whole Foods or an organic market. Nutmeg is such a defining flavor in egg nog that this pie really benefits from the heavenly smell and taste you get when it's freshly ground.