A Flip-ping Good Pie
Updated: Jan 28, 2021
You’re welcome for that pre-post pun! And Happy Pie Day, y’all. A lot has happened in the last few weeks. I don't have the spoons for commentary right now, but I do have the spoons for pie (let’s be honest, I almost always have the spoons for pie).
My lovely boyfriend and I watch a lot of food videos on YouTube, from quick Korean street food clips to 40 minute long in-depth recipe demonstrations. One of the channels we watch, Townsends, explores 18th-century recipes and recreates them. We recently watched a video that was posted a year ago about an 18th-century cocktail- flip. It involves whipping up four eggs with some nutmeg and rum, then mixing everything with hot ale. I don’t do ale, for obvious gluten-laden reasons, but the rest sounded pretty tasty. Boyfriend made the drink a few times, and mentioned it might be good as a dessert. So clearly, I decided to figure it out immediately.
National Pie Day felt like a perfect opportunity! The egg-based drink lends itself perfectly to a custard pie, and the foam on top of the drink seems a whole lot like whipped cream. The tang from the ale is echoed in the crust. Each component is extremely flexible; the crust is gluten, soy, nut, and dairy free as well as vegan; the custard is gluten, soy, and dairy free, and can be altered to be nut free and vegan; the whipped cream gluten, soy, and nut free, and can be altered to be dairy free and vegan by substituting coconut cream for the heavy cream (but please be careful if you have a nut allergy: coconuts aren’t nuts, but many people who are allergic to tree nuts are also allergic to coconut). Each component can be made on separate days for maximum spoon retention. Also, you can use a pre-made pie crust, pre-made whipped cream, or both. It’s a definite three spoon deal if you make each part from scratch.
It’s been a hectic couple of weeks and I’ve been very scattered. So scattered, in fact, that I didn’t take any pictures of the pie crust or whipped cream making processes. Sorry about that. But I’ll still talk you through it. If you want some more in-depth looks at those, you can look here for a slightly different version of the pie crust and here for a slightly different version of the whipped cream.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
Starting with the crust! Slice up a stick of butter or butter substitute (I used earth butter) and freeze it for at least 20 minutes. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together water, coconut (or other nondairy milk), vanilla, and apple cider vinegar, and put it into the fridge to chill. In the meantime, mix the flour, salt, sugar, and nutmeg into a large bowl. When the not-butter is done freezing, mix it into the flour mixture. I usually do this in a food processor, but this time around I just used my hands. Not gonna lie, it hurt. My hands are in rough shape these days. But I digress. Mix the fake-butter in by pressing it into the flour until you get the texture of coarse, wet sand. You want to make sure there are still large-ish pieces of butter-imposter visible, because that’s how you get a nice, flaky crust. Pour the liquid ingredients over everything and work that in as well (or pulse the food processor) until a dough forms. Flatten the dough out into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and stick it in the fridge for at least an hour. You can totally leave it overnight if you need a spoon recharge.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Roll out the dough (between two layers of plastic wrap if you’re like me and need minimal cleanup) and transfer it to a pie tin. Put it in the freezer for about half an hour while the the oven heats up. When you’re ready, put a piece of parchment paper over the dough and then fill it with pie weights. Or rice or beans or sugar or whatever. Just make sure there’s enough to cover the bottom and the sides so you don’t get any big air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes, take the weights out, brush the dough with an egg wash if you want, put it back in and bake for another 10 minutes. Take it out when it’s golden brown.
The custard comes together relatively quickly. Put the coconut or other nondairy milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan on medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Then, separate the eggs. The yolks are for this recipe, and you can use the whites for all sorts of thing. Like a meringue or marshmallow topping if you don’t want to go the whipped cream route.
This little tool makes my life so much easier. Crack an egg and break it over the metal coil. The whites will slide through while the yolk gets caught by the coil. You can then put it in a large mixing bowl.
Repeat with all of the eggs and add the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and nutmeg to the yolks. Use a hand mixer (or whisk by hand...this is the choice I made for some reason, knowing that my arthritis and joint instability would make it difficult and frustrating) to whisk everything until the color has lightened and it has increased in volume.
At this point, it helps if you can get a tiny furry goblin to yell at you because he thinks the custard should be for him. It just really brings the whole thing together.
When the milk has just started to bubble, turn off the heat. Temper the eggs by adding small amounts of the milk at a time, while whisking continuously. This is to gradually bring the eggs up to the temperature of the milk in order to avoid making very weird scrambled eggs.
Pour the eggs into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Turn the heat back on to medium, and whisk until the mixture has thickened and big bubbles begin to pop. Then whisk another 2-ish minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the butter substitute (or actual butter). Once it has melted and combined with the custard, stir in the rum. You can either leave it that way, or you can put it back onto the heat to cook off some of the alcohol.
When the custard and crust are both warm, pour the custard in and spread it out. Then refrigerate it until the custard has set.
For the whipped cream, I did a little bit of improvising. I used a cup of heavy cream, half a cup of double cream, a quarter cup of brown sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Whisk by hand or use a mixer until you get stiff peaks. Then decorate the top of the custard to your heart’s content.
It tastes like old-timey winter! It’s satisfying, warm, and smooth...kind of like the drink, hopefully. It passed the boyfriend’s taste test, anyway, and that’s good and reliable!
For the Crust:
🥄🥄; makes one pie
8 tbsp earth butter (or regular butter), cut into cubes and frozen
2 1/2 tbsp ice water
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp coconut milk (or coconut cream for a richer texture)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup + 2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp nutmeg
Combine the wet ingredients in a liquid measuring cup and put it in the fridge to keep it cold.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl or in the bowl of a food processor.
Mix in the earth butter until you get the texture of coarse wet sand.
Pour the wet ingredients over the flour and butter, and mix until a dough is formed.
Form the dough into a disk wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°.
Roll out the dough between two layers of plastic wrap, then put it into the pie tin.
Put the pie tin in the freezer for about half an hour.
To bake, put a piece of parchment paper and pie weights in the unbaked crust.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Then, remove the weights and parchment, apply an egg wash if you’d like, and bake for 10 more minutes.
For the Flip Custard:
🥄🥄; makes one pie
2 cups coconut milk (or any nondairy or dairy milk)
1 tsp vanilla
6 egg yolks
6 tbsp sugar
2 tsp nutmeg
2.5 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp earth butter (or regular butter, or other butter substitute)
2 tbsp rum
Heat milk and vanilla on low in a medium saucepan until it starts to barely bubble.
Whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and nutmeg until the yolks lighten and increase in volume.
When milk bubbles, remove it from the heat.
Temper the eggs by slowly pouring warm milk into the eggs in small amounts while whisking continuously.
When the eggs come up to the same temperature as the milk, pour them into the milk saucepan.
While whisking, turn the heat back up to medium and heat until large bubbles form.
Continue whisking with the heat on for another couple of minutes.
Stir in the butter/butter substitute until fully melted and incorporated.
Stir in the rum.
At this point, you can either put the custard back on the stove or cover it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it until you’re ready to put it into a pie crust.
For the Brown Sugar Whipped Cream:
🥄; makes about 2-3 cups of whipped cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup double cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1. Put all ingredients in a large bowl and whip until it has doubled in size and stiff peaks have formed.