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During Dining@Large's first Sugar Week in 2007, Elizabeth shared this recipe. "I love this pie. It has a spicy gingersnap crust, a thin layer of bittersweet chocolate custard and a layer of light, fluffy rum-flavored custard. It's topped with swirls of freshly whipped cream and shavings of chocolate. The recipe that follows is a version of one that was published in Majorie Kinnan Rawlings' 'Cross Creek Cookery.' In [the book, the author] describes it as 'a pie so delicate, so luscious, that I hope to be propped up on my dying bed and fed a generous portion. Then I think that I should refuse outright to die, for life would be too good to relinquish.'"
Makes: 6 servings
1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs (about 22)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon ginger
For the filling:
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 extra-large eggs, separated
1 2/3 cup milk
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons rum, strong and dark
1 teaspoon real vanilla
For the topping:
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon real vanilla
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
unsweetened chocolate for grating
For the crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the gingersnap crumbs, butter and ginger and press into 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Chill.
To make the filling, sprinkle the gelatin in the water to soften. In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate over hot water. Set aside.
Separate the eggs and beat the egg yolks in the top of a double boiler until thick and lemon-colored.
Scald the milk. (Don't let it boil.) Mix 1/2 cup of sugar, the cornstarch and salt. Add to the milk; stir until dissolved.
In a thin stream, add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Cook over hot water until the custard heavily coats a spoon. This can take as long as 20 minutes.
When thick, remove 1 cup of the custard, stir in the melted chocolate and the vanilla with a whisk. Spread on the bottom of the chilled gingersnap crust.
Add the gelatin mixture to the rest of the custard while it's still hot. Set it aside, stirring occasionally.
Beat the 4 room-temperature egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff but not dry, slowly adding the other 1/2 cup of sugar. Add the rum to the custard, then fold in the whites. Be sure they are blended completely, but don't deflate the egg whites.
Pour over the chocolate layer in the gingersnap crust. Chill for several hours until the custard sets.
For the topping, no more than an hour or two before serving, whip the cream with the vanilla and sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread decoratively on top of the pie, then grate chocolate shavings on top of it.
February 12, 2010