Dec 28, 2012

Chocolate Chai Pie with Homemade Boozy Eggnog Ice Cream

Homemade Boozy Eggnog Ice Cream and Chocolate Chai Pie were my biggest experimental recipes this holiday season.  I love them!  SOOO GOOD!

There are two types of people in the world:  1) Those who like eggnog, and 2) Those who think eggnog is disgusting.  I'm personally of the former group.  Which are you?

I've only ever had the grocery store carton variety of eggnog.  Though that's too thick for my liking, so I usually cut it half / half with skim milk...and add a sprinkling of nutmeg to the top.  Mmmm.

This year I got it in my head that I REALLY wanted to make homemade eggnog.  Never have I done it before.  But this year was my year to attempt it, despite several people telling me it was hard.

It's not.

I stole Alton Brown's recipe exactly.  Super tasty.  Not hard.  I made two batches; one for drinking as is, and another for trying it as ice cream.  Both turned out super tasty.

Alton Brown's Eggnog Recipe
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in colour.  Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved.  Add the milk, cream, bourbon, and nutmeg...stirring to combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of another stand mixer and beat until soft peaks form.  With the mixer still running, gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Whisk the egg whites into the milk mixture.  

*Here's where I deviated from the recipe slightly to make ice cream.  Chill your final eggnog mixture for about 15 minutes so it's cold.  Pour into your cold ice cream maker and let it churn for about 20-25 minutes. 
Also note, this is a little more "icy" over "creamy" because a) it has alcohol which is harder to freeze and b) it has meringue egg whites.  But it's super yummy!

Once I finished that, I decided I wanted to a) have a yummy contrasting flavour to serve with the ice cream, and b) use my brand new Pampered Chef Pie Slice 'n Serve.  Sooo, I made a Chocolate Chai Pie!!  I found my inspiration in this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.  But I changed a few ingredients and steps, as follows.

Chocolate Chai Pie
1.5 cups whipping cream
4 black tea bags ( I used Tetley Black tea)
58 vanilla wafers, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1.5 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup butter, softened
1.5 teaspoons ground cardamom
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled 
*When I make this again, I will add a little less ground cardamom (simply because I ground my own from pods, which makes a more intense flavour.  And I would use more chocolate.*

In a small saucepan, heat the whipping cream until just simmering. Remove from heat, and add the tea bags, pressing to immerse the bags into the cream.
Cover the saucepan and let it stand for 30 minutes to steep thoroughly.  Remove the tea bags, carefully squeezing them over the mixture to extract as much liquid as possible.  Discard the tea bags, and set mixture aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Crush the vanilla wafers into small crumbs.  I used a meat tenderizer, and vented my frustrations.  :)
In a medium sized bowl, combine the crushed vanilla wafers, 1/4 cup melted butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla.  (I should have crushed my wafers smaller, but I was impatient.  oops)
Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch or 9.5-inch pie plate (I used 9.5-inch).  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until firm.  Cool completely on a wire rack.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the 1/2 cup softened butter on medium to high for approximately 30 seconds.  Then add the powdered sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.  Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Add the melted chocolate and cream mixture, beating until just combined.
Beat until just combined.
Cover and chill for about 15 minutes.  Then beat for another 3-5 minutes until the mixture thickens and ribbons form.
Spoon the mixture into the cooled pie crust.
Smooth the surface.
Cover and chill for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.  Serve with a scoop of the homemade eggnog ice cream.  
And *swoon*.

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