In January 1970, The Times published a recipe for brandy Alexander pie. It was an unassuming confection: a graham-cracker crust filled with a wobbly, creamy mousse and enough alcohol to raise the hair on your neck and then make your neck wobbly too. Later that year, Craig Claiborne, then the food editor, declared it one of the paper's three most-requested dessert recipes (the other two were cheesecake and pots-de-creme) and ran it again. Cooking Notes: The chiffon filling will be fluffier if you let the egg whites come to room temperature before whipping. The filling is made by folding whipped egg whites into a base thickened with egg yolks and gelatin. Be careful not to chill the base too much or the filling will be lumpy. Chocolate shaved into curls with a vegetable peeler was once a classy garnish. Why not? —Amanda Hesser
Combine the crumbs with the butter. Form in a 9-inch pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cool.
Pour 1/2 cup cold water in a saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Add 1/3 cup sugar, salt and egg yolks. Stir to blend.
Place over low heat and stir until the gelatin dissolves and mixture thickens slightly (it won’t be as thick as a custard). Do not boil! Remove from heat.
Stir the liqueurs or liquor into the mixture. Then chill until the mixture starts to mound slightly (this means that if you push a spoon (or your finger) through the mixture, it will clump up into a mound rather than stay flat as a liquid would).
Beat the egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining sugar and beat until the peaks are firm. Fold the meringue into the thickened mixture.
Whip the cream, then fold into the mixture.
Turn the mixture into the crust. Chill for several hours or overnight.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.