Make Ahead

Maida Heatter's Rum Pie

October 29, 2015
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • For the crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 ounces butter, melted
  • For the filling:
  • 1 tablespoon (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark rum, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream, for serving
  1. For the crust:
  2. Adjust rack to the center of your oven. Preheat to 375° F.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  1. For the filling:
  2. In a heatproof glass measuring cup or small heatproof bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a heatproof glass measuring cup. Let stand.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer at high speed, beat the yolks. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 5 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. In a separate chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream until it holds a soft shape, not stiff. Set aside.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Refrigerate 5 to 6 hours, or more. Serve topped with whipped cream.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Theresa Lemieux
    Theresa Lemieux
  • ateweles
  • Scribbles
  • Smaug

6 Reviews

gretchen O. December 9, 2018
My mother made this pie and I remember it fondly.
Sometimes instead of a graham cracker crust, she made a chocolate cookie crust (same directions as the graham crackers) and added chocolate curls on top. No need for extra whipped cream.
This was THE pie on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Jill W. November 17, 2015
Delicious! Definitely a boozy pie. Tasted better the second day as the flavors had melded more and the custard had firmed up. Will make again for the holidays. Did the nutmeg grate on top - added a nice flavor and visual touch.
Theresa L. November 12, 2015
This looks like the bomb. Will try with fresh grates nutmeg and call it eggnog pie.
ateweles November 11, 2015
Any chance this works equally well with bourbon instead of rum?
Scribbles November 5, 2015
Oh my gosh! For years my Mother made a pie that sounds exactly like this. Last year I asked her if she still had the recipe and she couldn't come up with it - so happy to see this and can't wait to try it...thanks!
Smaug November 5, 2015
Glad to see one of Ms. Heatter's recipes featured- she is one of the best cookbook authors ever; her recipes always work (other than the notorious lemon cake, and she tried to have the publisher recall that book) and are always good. She somehow manages to include any information you could possibly need, without being verbose or finicky.