Meet eggnog in pie form. This pie is not kidding around—“not for sissies,” says Heatter. She preferred to make the graham cracker crust, freeze, and carefully remove it from the pie pan for fancier presentation, but we hope she'd forgive us for taking the lazy way out. Adapted slightly from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts (Knopf, 1974). —Food52
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups
graham cracker crumbs
For the filling:
(1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
dark rum, divided
heavy cream, for serving
In This Recipe
For the crust:
Adjust rack to the center of your oven. Preheat to 375° F.
In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar, then add the melted butter. With a rubber spatula, stir and press against the bowl until completely mixed. The mixture will look crumbly but will hold together in place when pressed firmly.
Turn the crumb crust mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and press firmly and evenly to distribute over the sides first, and then the bottom. Be careful that the top of the crust is not too thin. To shape a firm edge, use the fingertips of your right hand against the inside and press down against it with the thumb of your left hand. After firmly pressing the sides and the top edge, press the remaining crumbs evenly and firmly over the bottom. There should be no loose crumbs.
Bake in the center of the oven for 8 minutes, or until very lightly browned on the edges. Cool to room temperature before adding the filling.
For the filling:
In a heatproof glass measuring cup or small heatproof bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a heatproof glass measuring cup. Let stand.
In the bowl of an electric mixer at high speed, beat the yolks. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir 1/4 cup the rum into the gelatin. Place the cup or bowl in a small pan of hot, shallow water over moderate heat until the gelatin is dissolved. Stir with a metal spoon so that you can see when the granules have dissolved.
Beating on low speed, slowly add the warm gelatin mixture to the egg yolks, scraping bowl with a rubber spatula to keep mixture smooth. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup rum.
In a separate chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream until it holds a soft shape, not stiff. Set aside.
Place the bowl of the egg yolk mixture into a larger bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally until the mixture starts to thicken to the consistency of a medium cream sauce. This may take as long as 15 minutes in a small, narrow bowl.
Once it has thickened, fold one-quarter of the egg yolk mixture into the whipped cream. Fold in another quarter and then fold the cream into the remaining egg yolk mixture. If necessary, gently pour back and forth, from one bowl to another to ensure thorough blending.
Fill the shell as full as possible without letting it run over. There will be some leftover filling. Let it stand at room temperature while you chill the filled shell (only about 7 to 8 minutes in the freezer, or a bit longer in the refrigerator) until the filling is semi-set. Then pour on the remaining filling, mounding it higher in the center.
Refrigerate 5 to 6 hours, or more. Serve topped with whipped cream.