Friday, October 26, 2012

Rum Walnut Pie (Gluten Free)

As I mentioned in the recipe for chicken spaghetti, Rum Walnut Pie, whether gluten free or not, is a time consuming recipe. I told myself I wanted to get it done by 1:30 or thereabouts, so the pie would have plenty of time to set. I ended up finishing it around 4:00. But, nonetheless, it set nicely, and did not have to be slopped out of the pan with a spoon.
If you readers are thinking that rum and walnuts are a dispiriting combination, never fear, it also contains chocolate!
Most of the time consumingness lay in step 5. "Heat over simmering water until the mixture thickens and just coats the back of the spoon." Hmmm. Well, I heated and stirred, (because if you leave egg mixtures in a double boiler and don't stir them, you end up with scrambled eggs) and heated and stirred. After 45 minutes of this sweaty business, I finally decided that the mixture was fractionally thicker.
My husband stepped in with soothing words and whisked it for a while, off the heat, which made it thicker. Someday, I would like to take a course in the chemistry of cooking.
To make this gluten free, I used almonds, and, I confess, the walnuts that were supposed to go in the filling. I carefully bought almonds, but failed to notice that they were roasted and salted, not raw. So, I ran the handful of raw almonds from the cupboard through the food processor, and, when it didn't look like enough, I tossed in the half a cup of walnut pits I had for the filling. (After the fact, I learned that one can buy gluten free almond meal from Trader Joes.)
From there, I added the 1/4 cup melted butter and two tablespoons sugar called for in the recipe and pressed it into a pie pan. I baked it for ten minutes as called for, and then labored away on the filling. This is an excellent dessert for the hot months, which seem now to be stretching from April to October, instead of June to September, the way it used to be.
The other aspect of this pie that takes lots of time is that it is two-tone. The cook makes the filling without the chocolate, lets it chill for an unspecified amount of time (15 minutes is good),  adds the whipped egg whites and whipped cream and puts half of it into the pie shell. Then, she/he mixes the cocoa powder and walnuts with the rest of it, lets it chill for another unspecified while, and then spoons that into the pie shell, giving a layered effect. A word to the wise: while all this chilling is going on, set a timer. It is very easy to  sit down for what you think is going to be five minutes to watch the ball game, and three innings later find you have a bowlful of jelled mixture that won't combine with anything.

Run Walnut Pie

Pie Crust
2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (or almond meal or finely chopped almonds)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup grated for very finely chopped (in food processor) walnuts
1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup sugar
1 envelope plus one teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk or light cream
3 eggs separated
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 cup heavy cream whipped
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (three is better)
3 tablespoons hot water
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
whipped cream and walnut halves for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. To prepare pie crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, walnuts and melted butter. Mix well and press over the bottom and sides of a nine-inch pie plate to form a crust.
3. Bake ten minutes. Cool and chill.
4. To prepare filling, combine one-quarter cup of the sugar, the gelatin and salt in the top of a double boiler. Stir in the milk or cream. Beat the egg yolks lightly and stir in.
5. Heat over simmering water until the mixture thickens and just coats the back of a spoon. (This will probably take somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 minutes.) Remove from heat and stir in the rum.
6. Cool and chill until mixture starts to thicken.
7. Beat the egg whites until stiff and gradually beat in the remaining sugar. Fold into the chilling filling. Fold in the whipped cream. Turn one cup of mixture into the chilled crust.
8. Mix the cocoa powder with the water, cool slightly and fold into remaining pie filling along with the chopped walnuts. Chill in bowl until filling starts to set. Spoon over the white filling in the pie shell and chill until firm, at least four hours.
9. If desired, garnish with whipped cream and walnut halves before serving.
Serves 6.

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