How to make it

  • Note:
  • Make sure that you use a very deep pie plate in order to accommodate the full quart of cream. Although the original recipe may not have used eggs (my neighbor Jean is a bit secretive about the ingredients), it did call for farm-fresh unpasteurized cream which behaves quite differently from the store-bought stuff. Hence the addition of eggs. Make the slices small since this is a very rich pie. It is also on the tricky side so I don’t recommend it for novice bakers. Finally, make absolutely certain that your oven is properly calibrated - if your oven is off by 30 or 40 degrees, the recipe may not work properly. (Purchase a Taylor oven thermometer, the horizontal model, to check your oven -- see "where to shop - oven themometers".)
  • 1. Mix flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture, tossing to coat butter with a little of the flour. Cut butter into flour with 5 one-second pulses. Add shortening and continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, about 4 more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into a medium bowl. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of water over the mixture. With blade of a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, then press down on dough with the broad side of the spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more water if dough will not come together. Shape dough into a ball with your hands, then flatten into a 4-inch wide disc. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.
  • 2. . If dough has spent more than one hour in the refrigerator, let warm up a few minutes on the counter before proceeding. Roll out dough and place into an 9-inch deep dish pie pan. Push dough gently down the sides of the pan. Trim dough around edge of pan leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold excess dough underneath edge and shape edge using a fork or fingers. Place in refrigerator for at least 40 minutes. (If you are not experienced with pie dough, I recommend that the dough be refrigerated overnight. This will allow time for the dough to properly hydrate, making it easier to roll out and prebake.) Place in freezer for 20 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove from freezer and fit a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil (the extra-wide rolls are best; if the foil is too narrow, use two sheets) over shell, pressing foil carefully into sides of pie plate and against the sides. Add pie weights or dried beans, enough to generously cover bottom of pie plate. Pile up the weights around the sides of the shell to help hold them in place.
  • 3. Bake on lower rack for about 20 minutes or until sides of pie shell are set. (They should not be moist and should be firm.) Remove foil and bake another 7 minutes.
  • 4. While crust is baking, gently whisk together the first 3 filling ingredients in a heavy saucepan and then heat, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to steam. Remove from heat. Whisk the eggs in an 8-cup Pyrex measuring cup or any other large heatproof pitcher.
  • 5. When the pie shell is almost ready, whisk 1/2 cup of the heated cream mixture into the eggs and then whisk in the remaining hot cream. Open the oven door and set a timer to 3 minutes. Reduce oven to 250 degrees. With the oven rack pulled a third of the way out, pour in the cream mixture and very gently slide rack back into place. Leave oven door open just a crack until the timer goes off. (The door will have been open for a total of 3 minutes.) Close oven door and bake for 5 1/2 hours. (The top will be a caramel color and when jiggled, the cream will still be wobbly.) Turn off oven and let pie bake an additional 1 1/2 hours.
  • 6. Remove from oven, sprinkle top with freshly grated nutmeg, and cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. (The pie will still not be completely set at this point.) Chill in the refrigerator until set. This pie is best served either cold or cool in small slices. It goes well with strong coffee.

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