Serves a Crowd

Frozen puddle in the middle of a pothole pie

March  7, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes 1 pie
Author Notes

Or just pothole pie for short, because that is exactly what this pie looks like before you add the cream. This pie is dark, just like this past winter. The inspiration came first from an actual pothole on my street, and then from a fond family memory. Grandma Emiline from Wiscasset, Maine, always made a refreshing coffee aspic jelly from leftover brew over the holidays. I set out to pay homage to both the pothole and the beloved coffee gelatin. —Sagegreen

What You'll Need
  • 4.5 ounces dark thin chocolate cookie wafers (Jo-sef gluten free or Nabisco famous work)
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon Saigon cinnamon, optional
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted premium butter, melted
  • 1-2 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar, to taste
  • peel of one Meyer lemon, divided
  • 1/2 ounce unflavored gelatin
  • 1 ounce cold filtered water
  • 15 ounces hot fairtrade Columbian coffee
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
  • @1/3 cups Muscovado sugar, suggested, to taste
  • 4 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • splash of Domaine de Canton, Jameson, Evan Williams Honey Reserve Kentucky liqueur or other whiskey, optional
  • shavings of dark chocolate or other garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crush the wafers using a wooden masher or food processor. Add the espresso powder, ginger, cinnamon and 1 or 2 tbl. sugar. Distribute these evenly in with the crushed wafers. Pour the melted butter into the mix and stir. Press the mix into a pie plate.
  2. Bake for 15-20 minutes until set. Let cool and then pop in the freezer for about an hour.
  3. Add half the lemon peel to the hot coffee. Sprinkle the gelatin onto the cold water; let sit for 5 minutes. Then whisk in hot coffee until the gelatin completely dissolves. Stir in the sugar, to your desired level of sweetness. The more sugar, the softer the gelatin. Of course you could be devilish and spike the coffee at this point with your favorite whiskey, or ginger cognac but you decide. Let cool. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  4. Then pour the chilled gelatin mix into the chilled pie shell. Let set in the fridge for about 3 hours to gel thoroughly.
  5. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add a little splash of the liqueur (or your choice of whiskey) to the cream if desired. Chill until serving. When ready to serve, plate the pie slices. Add dollops of the cream. Garnish with cut lemon peel, shavings of chocolate or pinch of spice.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • dymnyno
  • EmilyC
  • TiggyBee
  • mrslarkin
  • checker

28 Reviews

dymnyno March 12, 2011
I think that this is the most unique and creative recipe of all. And, it sounds delicious! I love your really piqued me into reading the recipe.
Sagegreen March 12, 2011
Thank you so much for the compliment, dymnyno. If you were faced with such a barage of potholes, one right after the other, you may well be driven to such crazy lengths. I photographed them just over the course of a few days, missing some of the best match photo ups...they change overnight! The pie aged very well over the week I might add!
dymnyno March 12, 2011
I know the feeling! Diamond Mountain Road is a disaster! The patch crew comes about once a week to turn the potholes into speedbumps!
EmilyC March 11, 2011
This, hands-down, is the most interesting photo that anyone has submitted to this contest, and I mean that in a good way! I love that your grandma's aspic inspired the pie.
Sagegreen March 11, 2011
Thanks, EmilyC. It was on my way to work this morning that I spied the mud puddles that looked just like cafe au lait when I decided to change the options for this recipe to include half and half for the coffee gelatin, not just black coffee.
TiggyBee March 11, 2011
Sagegreen, you are adorable!
Sagegreen March 11, 2011
Aww, thanks, TiggyBee!
mrslarkin March 11, 2011
I'm always impressed with your creativity! This sounds fabulous. Cream and sugar for me, please. The photo is great!
Sagegreen March 11, 2011
Thanks, mrslarkin. I just changed my recipe to include the ways folks most prefer their coffee!
checker March 11, 2011
Off topic, but related... On the rare occasion that I find myself at a makeup counter I have a great time standing there reading the names of lipsticks. They are so funny, and I always wonder how they get their names. Your recipe page feels a bit like that, and I am having so much fun reading through it.
Sagegreen March 11, 2011
Thank you so much, checker. In fact I choose lipstick colors often by the names! This week I am trying to come up with the appropriate name to either look or taste.
TheWimpyVegetarian March 11, 2011
This looks so creatively wonderful - so you!! I've gotta try it. And I LOVE the name.
Sagegreen March 11, 2011
Thanks, CS. It is a pretty simple pie. Hope you try it and let me know what you think.
Lizthechef March 10, 2011
Somehow, I missed this - so creative! Love it!
Sagegreen March 10, 2011
Thanks, Liz. I really like the taste! My neighbors thought I was photographing potholes to complain to our town.
luvcookbooks March 9, 2011
it's another oh my! i luv jell-o (it's quite beautiful) and gelatin recipes to make something that tastes better than jell-o from a box. also luv the play on words and have been busy cooking with whiskey since making the Autumn Cocktail from @food52 this fall. Last made Caramel Sauce with Single Malt Whiskey two weeks ago and then sat with friends and small tumblers of whiskey after the ice cream with caramel sauce, bittersweet chocolate sauce and a few grains of fleur de sel, sugar cookies on the side.
Sagegreen March 9, 2011
Thanks, luvcookbooks! I have been photographing potholes trying to find the best match. This really tastes good, too. I have an unspiked pie to finish. I had one piece with the sun shining through that was a gorgeous amber shadow. Btw I got a new piece accepted in a show at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center with an April 23rd opening!
Midge March 8, 2011
You are covering the landscape! This is great sagegreen.
Sagegreen March 8, 2011
Thanks, Midge. It is my landscape architecture background. This captures my real world of late winter here. Love all your scrumptious tarts this week!
Greenstuff March 9, 2011
I have heard that landscape architects are remarkably creative cooks, who like to get together and show what they've all come up with. You are proving that right! Incredibly cool. Besides the landscape, I love the idea of coffee aspic--I think we could all find a lot of uses for that.
Sagegreen March 9, 2011
Thanks, Greenstuff. We do have pretty great potlucks in my department! And I love coffee aspic, black, no sugar.
Sagegreen March 8, 2011
The new photos are uploaded. Winter this season can be pretty ugly.
thirschfeld March 7, 2011
love it!
Sagegreen March 7, 2011
Thanks, Tom! I am honored. It is kinda different. Tomorrow I may upload a photo of the pothole and the pie, side by side, esp, if it goes below freezing tonight.
hardlikearmour March 7, 2011
Yum! Irish coffee pie!
Sagegreen March 7, 2011
Thanks for noticing this! It is probably best described as Irish coffee jello pie, bit it looks just like the pot holes I walk over on my way to work. I do like the pie rendition!
Sagegreen March 7, 2011
but it looks...meant to type (not bit).
hardlikearmour March 7, 2011
funny, my brain read it the way you meant it so i didn't even notice the typo!