Holiday nog pie with coconut + gingersnap crust
This post was created in partnership with Califia Farms.
On Thanksgiving morning, I woke up extra early to relish the peace and quiet before the kitchen chaos began. I lit a few candles, turned on Tycho radio, then cozied up on the couch with a strong cuppa jo. This is my morning routine. My meditation. How I maintain my sanity. Before I do anything, I enjoy a mug (or two) of coffee from the piece of furniture that shouldn't have dark colored-anything anywhere near it.
Although I tend to have zero issues tuning out the early morning racket that comes with living near Colfax Avenue (it's like my misophonia is activated by the rising of the sun, or something), I couldn't help but fixate on the sound of the sirens as the fire engines left the station down the street. And I couldn't help but think about how shitty it would be to have to work on a day like today. I probably shouldn't be admitting this here considering I've got a reputation for having a pretty tough exterior (HEH), but I cried into my coffee for a good five minutes when I realized the people leaving the station in those trucks had to work in the event people like me tried burning down the house. And then I cried about the fact that I was crying but, eventually, gathered my composure and wiped my eyes, and decided to do something about it instead of sob into my coffee all morning.
To be honest, I had no idea what I would do to make myself feel less shitty about the fact that there were people who weren't going to get to enjoy Thanksgiving the way I was going to get to enjoy Thanksgiving. But then I opened the refrigerator and noticed the surplus of pie sitting on the top shelf, and I knew exactly what I would do. I sliced each pie, reserved two pieces for Thom and me, and then crammed as many slices as I could into a PieBox. After I completely butchered each of our pies, it hit me that I may not be able to deliver homemade baked goods to first responders because, well, some people are.. crazy. So I called dispatch and the guy on the other end (who initially seemed to not be too thrilled about the fact that he was working on Thanksgiving) enthusiastically told me that the guys at Station No. 8 would love some pie (OF COURSE THEY WOULD) and that he'd let them know to expect me. So I bundled up and made my way over to the station, then prematurely called dispatch, again, when I couldn't figure out how to get inside (I think they make it confusing on purpose). Moments after I found my way in, the guy I had been corresponding with came over a loud speaker and said, "Hey guys. That lady's outside with pie. You should probably let her in." Within seconds, over a dozen dudes flooded the main entrance and crowded around me and my tiny PieBox. And my eyes may have filled with tears because HOLY SHIT THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM. And they're so excited about pie!
I gave them a quick pie rundown (leaving out the fact that they were vegan after they all laughed at my inquiry of potential dietary restrictions) and then got the hell out of there because the tears were starting to well up and sunglasses are only good at concealing the fact that you're crying, for so long. Not that I really cared about some macho firedudes seeing me cry, but the thought of being remembered as the Crying Pie Lady was enough for me to make it a priority to GTFO of there as fast as I could.
When I got home, I posted a photo of our two, seemingly lonely pieces of pie, on Instagram, in hopes that someone else would be inspired to take their pie (or cookie or stuffing) surplus to those who found themselves working through the Thanksgiving holiday. And then I decided, instead of just limiting it to Instagram (and Thanksgiving), I'd do a blog post about it and urge people to do the same, come Christmas time. So I gathered some of my favorite people from the WWW and we made pie - lots of pie - and I'm here today to ask you to join us: let's #pieitforward, shall we?
PS - I'm going to be gone for XMAS so if someone would do me a solid and take care of the folks at Fire Station No. 8, I'd love you forever.
Notes: The trick to making a cookie crust with coconut oil is to add coconut flour to help absorb a bit of the oil. Since the stabilizers in plant-based milk products vary, I can't say with certainty that any holiday nog would work in this recipe. Try to get your hands on the Califia nog because it really is the best. If you don't like gingersnaps, you can make a pretzel crust, graham cracker crust, or replace the 'snaps with your favorite cookie. The whipped cream in the photos is not coconut whipped cream because I got a couple of bad cans (Whole Foods 365 brand has been off lately - anyone else have the same issue?). I whipped up a fancy, creamy topping with coconut milk powder, almondmilk, agar agar, and a few other things. I'll be sharing the recipe in the new year, once it's fool proof + perfected.
HOLIDAY NOG PIE WITH COCONUT + GINGERSNAP CRUST
1 bag (10 oz) gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup (30g) coconut flour
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/4 cup (46g) unrefined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
2 tablespoons (24g) Califia Farms unsweetened almondmilk
1 cup (210g) Califia Farms holiday nog
2 tablespoons (24g) (ginger) SNAP liqueur (or spiced rum)
1 can (13.5 oz) full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1/4 cup (50g) turbinado sugar
1/4 cup (44g) unrefined coconut oil
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly grated nutmeg
Coconut whipped cream
Gingersnap cookies, crushed
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line the bottom of an 8-9" tart or pie pan with parchment paper and spray with oil; set aside. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the gingersnap cookies, coconut flour, ground ginger (if using), and sea salt into a fine meal. While the processor is still running, drizzle in the coconut oil and continue processing until the crumbs have completely absorbed the oil (no more than 30 seconds), then drizzle in the almond milk and pulse just until combined. Press the mixture between your fingers to make sure it sticks together. If so, you're good to go, if not add additional almond milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture sticks together when pressed between your fingers.
Press the crumbs into the bottom of the tart (or pie) pan and up the sides. I like to spend a good five minutes making sure everything is compact and clean looking. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork about a dozen times, then transfer to the freezer to chill for 10 minutes. Once chilled, put on a baking sheet and place in oven. Bake at 325˚F for 11-12 minutes. Once baked, remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Once it's completely cool, wrap with plastic and store the crust in the freezer until ready to use. Will keep for up to one week. If completely frozen, thaw at room temperature before assembling the tart.
Put the nog and rum in a small saucepan (mine was 6" in diameter) set over medium heat and cook until reduced to a scant 1/4 cup (~50g); about 25-30 minutes (larger saucepans will require only 15-20 minutes of cooking, but I don't recommend a larger pan as it's easier to burn the mixture). Once the mixture has been reduced, open the can of coconut milk and scrape the thick, white cream off the top (you should have at least 200g of cream) and add it to the saucepan. Add the sugar, coconut oil, and nutmeg, and simmer on medium heat for about five minutes, whisking every minute or so. Off heat and set the pan aside to allow the mixture to cool for about 15 minutes. Once it's stopped steaming, place the crust on a level shelf in your fridge and slowly pour the mixture through a sieve (to catch any big pieces of nutmeg) and into the crust. Let it sit there for at least 12 hours then transfer to the freezer to firm up completely (two more hours).
When you're ready to serve, remove from freezer, top with freshly grated nutmeg, and slice. Let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Pie can be served as is (it's pretty damn delicious on its own) or topped with coconut whipped cream, crushed gingersnap cookies, and/or more grated nutmeg, if desired.
Yield: 8-10 slices