Serves a Crowd

Frozen puddle in the middle of a pothole pie

March  7, 2011
Author Notes

Or just pothole pie for short, because that is exactly what this pie looks like with the sheen of the gelatin before you add the cream. This pie is dark, and so has been this winter. But the inspiration comes from a very bright spot. Grandma Emiline from Wiscasset, Maine, always made a refreshing coffee aspic jelly from leftover brew over the holidays. With this in mind I set out to create a pie interpretation of this beloved coffee gelatin. The discovery of Evan Williams Honey Reserve Kentucky liqueur made with extra-aged bourbon infused with real honey adds a lovely spike. Using whatever whiskey you might like, this can be a solid form of an Irish coffee. Hey, it's close to St. Patrick's Day, isn't it? This may be my Irish blood talking. The ginger Domaine de Canton is another great option for a spike. This pie might look a little dark and scary, but I have enjoyed two pieces. Is that wrong, or just odd? In any case, there is a lot of caffeine in this pie. You will be wakeful to see spring roll in after a slice. Warning: don't try sampling this at home just before bedtime. It is best in the late afternoon. This keeps well: After 4 days the crust has softens without becoming soggy. —Sagegreen

  • Makes 1 pie
  • 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
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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.

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