Forgotten Christmas Nesselrode Pie
See NOTE at end for more info on this deliciously creamy pie. Classically made with pureed chestnuts, I opted to use the flavor of roasted chestnuts instead. This beautiful Holiday dessert can also be Yanked with your other candied fruit as well. If you don't like the idea of uncooked meringue in the pie, simply substitute 2 1/2 cups whipped topping instead. As for the roasted chestnuts, they are in every supermarket now, in the produce section and only cost about $2 for a 5-ounce bag.(At least here in Maine and New England). Remember, however, that you can omit the chestnuts completely if desired.
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For 8 Serving(s)
- 1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs(about 9 squares)
- 4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
- 1 3/4 cup your favorite eggnog, or milk
- 1 (5-ounce)bag roasted chestnuts
- 1 (1-ounce)envelope unflavored gelatin *
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
- 1 cup candied green and red candied cherries, diced small
Forgotten Christmas Nesselrode Pie Directions
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. In a large bowl, work graham cracker crumbs with melted butter until completely moist. Empty into a 9-inch pie pan and press crumbs against the bottom and up the sides. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until you see the crust start to darken. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, add the eggnog and chestnuts. Bring to scalding over medium low heat. Stirring frequently, let simmer 5 minutes while gently crushing chestnuts to release flavor. After 5 minutes, remove from heat and puree in a blender or food processor. Strain through a fine meshed sieve back into saucepan, discarding bulk. Add egg yolks and gelatin, whisking until smooth. Over medium low heat, bring to scalding again while stirring frequently with a rubber spatula.
Once scalding and starting to get thicker, start constantly whisking while it cooks an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in rum extract and transfer to a large bowl. Place in refrigerator until it cools to room temperature, stirring a few times, about 30 minutes.
When ready, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar and continue beating on high until stiff peaks are visible. Remove custard from refrigerator, whisk a few times to smooth out and fold in the meringue and cut cherries until evenly mixed. Pour into prepared crust, loosely cover with film wrap and chill until completely set, about 3 hours.
Dollop with whipped topping and additional cut candied cherries to serve.
* For even more flavor and vibrant color, use 1/2(3-ounce)box lemon-flavored gelatin in place of unflavored. Heck, use lime or cherry flavored as well if desired. But I would suggest omitting the chestnuts because of the "flavor fight" flavored gelatin would have with roasted chestnuts.
NOTE: Some historians state that this pie was made in honor of Tsar Nicholas I by his chef, the famous Careme. This is untrue because Careme(1784-1833)only spent time in England, Austria and one or two other places. He did visit Russia upon the invitation of the Tsar, but stayed only a week or so and didn't cook one single meal while there. Nesselrode Pudding and Pie was first made by Monseur Mouy, the personal chef of the Russina diplomat count Karl Nesselrode(1780-1862). Muoy came up with dessert in honor of his employer and sad to say, it only enjoyed popularity for a few decades in Russia and beyond. Some say that it was an "iced" concoction while others state it was a creamy custard dessert using candied oranges and lemons. When this recipe surfaced in the U.S., it had been transformed into a cream pie using candied cherries and meringue, instead of simply an egg yolk custard.