Four & Twenty Blackbirds takes the flavors of boozy, creamy eggnog and pours it into a gingersnap crumb crust. There are plenty of eggs, and a little grogg (here, dark rum).
Excerpted from The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book by Emily and Melissa Elsen (Hachette Book Group). Copyright (c) 2013. Photographs by Gentil & Hyers.
- Yield:makes one 9-inch pie
- Active time: 40 minutes
- Total time:several hours, including baking and cooling
- 3/4 cup cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste (Nielsen-Massey makes a readily available one)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground cloves
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Gingersnap Crumb Crust
- About twenty 2-inch gingersnap cookies (enough to make 1 cup crumbs)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- Egg white wash (1 large egg white whisked with 1 teaspoon cold water) [optional]
To make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, grind the gingersnap cookies to fine crumbs. Add the sugar, salt, and melted butter and pulse just to incorporate.
Pour the crumbs into an ungreased, preferably metal 9-inch pie pan. Spread evenly over the bottom, and then create a circle about 1 inch in to separate the crumbs for the sides from the crumbs for the bottom. Start pressing the outer ring of crumbs evenly up the sides and into the corner (where the side meets the bottom) of the pan. Press the remaining crumbs evenly over the bottom to meet the sides; use a flat-bottomed cup to smooth out bumps. Freeze until solid, about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake on the center oven rack for 12 to 14 minutes, until fragrant and darkened slightly. If the crust slumps or cracks while baking, gently push the crumbs back into place, while hot, with a clean, folded kitchen towel. While hot form the oven, moistureproof the crust by brushing the bottom lightly with the egg wash, if desires. Bake for an additional minute to set the egg white wash. Cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate the crust for 10 minutes prior to filling to set the crumbs in place to make filling easier.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
Place the prepared crumb shell on a rimmed baking sheet.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend the softened cream cheese with the sugar, salt, vanilla paste, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves until well mixed.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the heavy cream, rum, and lemon juice.
Stir until well combined.
Carefully pour the filling into the pie shell; to avoid disturbing the crumb crust, slow the stream by pouring it over a rubber scraper and letting the filling dribble into the pan.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, about 25 minutes through baking.
The pie is finished when the edges are set and the center is no longer liquid but still quite wobbly.
Be careful not to overbake or the custard can separate; the filling will continue to cook and set after the pie is removed from the oven.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm, at room temperature, or cool.
The pie will keep refrigerated for 2 days or at room temperature for 1 day.