Another Thanksgiving, another excuse to put whiskey in pie. Our cousins hosting Thanksgiving graciously allowed me to bring desserts, so I could try some new recipes. In addition to an old but much-loved standby – the butterscotch pumpkin pie - I also made an eggnog tart with a bourbon coffee sauce and a gluten-free apple crumble with whiskey.
In my first attempt at gluten-free baking, I learned an important lesson. Taking out gluten does not have to mean taking out taste. After scouring mommy blogs, I originally chose a lovely-sounding recipe that used minimal butter and honey instead of sugar. I bought my gluten-free rolled oats and gluten-free flour mix and gave it a try. And I reaffirmed my rule that desserts should be desserts. If you want to be healthy, don’t eat a lot of them, but don’t try to make them healthy when you do. The apples didn’t soften right and the topping hardly covered the apples and burned. I ditched the gluten free recipe for a recipe billed as “the best apple crisp you'll ever have” with all of its buttery and sugar goodness and just made it gluten-free. And it made a dessert of lush, soft apples and a full crispy layer on top - with a hint of whiskey, of course. I served it with Scotch whipped cream and our hostess made salted caramel ice cream. It was a delightful twist on a holiday classic.
Cooking Instructions (as modified from the Ambitious Kitchen website)
The eggnog tart is really more of a cheesecake custard. I modified it from a recipe that called for cranberry jam to be layered below and above the eggnog filling. Instead, I layered chocolate on the tart crust and filled it with the eggnog layer, then topped it with a bourbon coffee sauce. It is rich and full of that eggnog flavor (although I would actually play with adding more nutmeg). The bourbon coffee sauce is thick and luscious – a caramel-like flavor that is delicious but unfortunately just the color of the turkey gravy (beware when putting away leftovers!). I recommend a little Scotch whipped cream to cut the richness a bit. But then I recommend a little Scotch whipped cream on most things.
Happy Whiskey Thanksgiving!
Tart Crust (From Whiskey Chocolate Tart on In the Kitchen page)
Preheat the oven to 300° F and position a rack in the center. Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a food processor, pulse the cookies into very fine crumbs. (You should have approximately 1.75 cups.) Place the crumbs into a bowl, add the sugar and salt, and stir to combine. Pour the butter over the crumbs and mix with a fork until combined. Turn the mixture out into the prepared pan and press it into the bottom and up the sides using your fingers or the bottom of a metal measuring cup. Place the pan in the freezer for about 5 minutes, then place on a baking sheet, and bake until the crust is just dry to the touch but not browned, about 12 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate pieces over the top and spread over the crust with spatula as it melts. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Blend cream cheese, crème fraîche, and sugar in cleaned food processor until creamy, about 1 minute. Add whole eggs, yolks, bourbon, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt and process until smooth. Pour over chocolate covered crust. Cover edge of tart shell with pie shield or foil and bake until filling is set but still trembles slightly in center, 35 to 40 minutes (filling will continue to set as it cools).
Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, cream, and corn syrup and stir until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, whisk in the bourbon and espresso, and set aside until slightly cooled, about 20 minutes. Before serving, whisk the sauce until smooth.