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I have seen my life's version of Beatlemania and it revolves not around mop-headed crooners but around an Oreo Pie simple but extraordinary.
Camp Seafarer in coastal North Carolina is a magical, extremely humid place where your feet and hair can be as dirty as you want, 95% of the day is spent in a bathing suit, and there are songs and cheers for: hydrating; showering; sweeping the cabin floors; "rumpy rash" ("R is for rumpy! U is for you don't want it!" and so on); Noah's ark; and every kind of weather phenomenon.
But no top-of-the-lungs enthusiasm could compare to that surrounding Oreo Pie. Every evening (or was it 4:30 P.M.? I have no idea when we went to sleep or when we woke up to loudspeaker reveille), as we entered that massive, golden-wooded dining hall—with picnic table after picnic table lined with benches sturdy enough to support many pairs of stomping, jumping, dancing Rainbow sandals—I'd issue a silent prayer for Oreo Pie.
The ambitious among you will want to make your own Oreos, too.
And it wasn't just me. On one of the two (or three) blessed nights that the doors to the kitchen swung open to reveal tall speed racks of Pies, all fists would start to bang the tables, launching the ketchup- and mashed potato-smeared plates inches into the air. Then the upward motion: feet on benches, arms swinging towards the tall ceilings. Did some campers actually climb onto the tables themselves?
In my mind, the kitchen workers bowed. The campers cried. Some fainted. I pressed my fingers into my ears so as to scream louder. It was a friendly mob scene. And the Pie would all the more delicious, cooling our throats raw from shrieking.
Don't trust my word only: I have it from an insider source (a former camper and current counselor at camp) that "Oreo Pie is 100% the best dessert served at Seafarer. [...] Yesterday, we just had the pudding with crushed Oreos on top, and it tasted just as good. It was after grilled cheese and tomato soup—best meal ever!!"
As I remember it, Oreo Pie was elaborate: a frozen filling piped with whipped cream and mohawked with cookie halves. In reality, my source reminded me, it's much simpler than that: a vanilla pudding set in an Oreo cookie crust, with crushed Oreos on top.
So could it have been that much better than the floppy chocolate chip cookies or the banana pudding or the ice cream sundae buckets? Were we that sugar-deprived, drained from scurrying between tetherball, motor-boating, archery, sailing, riflery in the 95° heat? Or were we in a place where we were finally allowed—no, encouraged—to be the type of wildly silly that would feel embarrassing back home? Oreo Pie was the subject of our unbridled enthusiasm, of our full-force personalities.
Here, I make the pie as I remember it: A vanilla pudding (the recipe comes from Erin McDowell's forthcoming book!) lightened with whipped cream and flecked with Oreo crumbs is frozen in a cookie crust until you can take firm but creamy slices from it.
I guarantee it will taste good—and even better if you spend 20 minutes cheering about it first.
For the pudding:
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For everything else:
- 1 packet (14.3 ounces) Oreo cookies or other chocolate sandwich cookies
- 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- pinches salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
What's the best dessert you can make with Oreos? Answer that tough question in the comments below!