Oh this pie. Normally I wouldn't try a brand new pie recipe on a holiday like Thanksgiving, but just reading this recipe made my mouth water and I knew it had to be good. What I found odd about it, though, was that it was called a cream pie when clearly it was a custard pie. Sure there's quite a bit of cream in it, but it's the egg content that really informs the texture. This pie was like an especially good version of those eggy custard tarts at Chinese bakeries that I grew up eating. And the key to it's awesomeness was this:
Fresh nutmeg. It has to be fresh for this. The dimensions of spiciness and warmth that you just don't get in the pre-ground nutmeg is what made this pie sing.
It wasn't the most beautiful pie, due mostly to my impatient decision to pour the filling into the crust while it was still rife with bubbles from whisking. The color is perhaps a little lackluster. But no one is going to care what this pie looks like, they're just going to want to eat it. Recipe after the jump:
NUTMEG-MAPLE CREAM PIE
From The New York Times, November 15, 2006
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
1 pre-baked 9-inch pie crust (see recipe).
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
Yield: One 9-inch pie, 8 servings.