maple cream pie

I ate this cream pie at least six times last winter. I went through so much maple syrup (use grade B, it has more flavor) that I should've been importing from Canada. So when I had to make something seasonal for someone I was sort of trying to impress, I turned to this. I figured, I'd made it before, it wasn't a common pie, and it was delicious. And I was short on time and it didn't take forever.

So I then did something completely asinine and I decided to try a pie crust I'd never used before. Now, because I taught myself to bake by starting with pie, I've never been afraid of pie crust the way a lot of people are. I forget that it's even possible to buy pre-made ones in the store because I don't see why anyone would do that. So I make my pie, take over, and we all eat. The pie disappeared. Success!

Later, the person I'd been trying to impress tells me, "I must admit that it made me a bit nervous when you said that you were bringing pie because I knew that if your crust had been bad, I would see you a bit differently."

So. I'm damn glad that pie crust turned out well. It's the mark of a halfway decent baker, apparently. Phew.

Nutmeg-Maple Cream Pie
New York Times
borrowed from Smitten Kitchen

3/4 cup maple syrup
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 9-inch pie crust (use whatever recipe won't betray you; this time around I went with Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours).

1. Par-bake pie crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line pie refrigerated pie shell with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until beginning to set. Remove foil with weights and bake 15 to 18 minutes longer or until golden. If shell puffs during baking, press it down with back of spoon. Cool on wire rack. Lower temperature to 300 degrees.

2. Prepare filling: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce maple syrup by a quarter, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and egg. Whisking constantly, slowly add cream mixture to eggs. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a cup or bowl with pouring spout. Stir in salt, nutmeg and vanilla.

4. Pour filling into crust and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until pie is firm to touch but jiggles slightly when moved, about 1 hour. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Yield: One 9-inch pie, 8 servings

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