There is a Season with Molly Parr: Show-stopping cream pie: Inspired by Paul and Elizabeth’s Maple Cream Pie
|Published: 11-17-2023 12:15 PM
We have some big food holidays coming up, and I have a recipe that will steal the show. To be clear, this isn’t my recipe. Rather, it’s a recipe I have wondered about for years, which, quite by magic, was delivered straight to my door, and maybe yours too. I’m talking about the recipe for Paul and Elizabeth’s Maple Cream Pie, which was featured in the “Foodie” issue of the free Northampton City Lifestyle magazine that randomly started coming to all our houses.
P&E’s is exactly my age. We were both “born” in 1978, and it’s a place I’ve grown up visiting. Since COVID, we go out to restaurants far less than we ever did, save P&E’s for birthday takeout meals. I had already reverse-engineered their Kale Caesar Salad with Polenta Croutons — a big hit at RoshHashanah this year — but their wonderful desserts always stumped me.
To my great surprise, they shared the recipe for their cream pie filling with the magazine. It’s a custard recipe, which can be a challenge if you’re not paying close attention. My girls love telling people how I always burn the custard at Passover, and they aren’t wrong. But this was a winner in my kitchen, and it really wasn’t very hard to do.
This pie is a bit of an investment. It calls for all the dairy, a kajillion eggs, corn starch, and a cup and a half of maple syrup. Given the price of all those ingredients, I clipped the recipe and waited for the right moment to make pie happen: a birthday meal for my step-dad — the girls’ beloved Zayde.
There’s no instruction for how to make the wonderful walnut crust, so I made Jacques Pepin’s galette dough. It comes together in a food processor in just 30 seconds. Bake the crust, let it cool (warm pie crust and custard are not friends), add your custard and top with whipped cream. I whipped an entire pint of heavy cream, with about two tablespoons of powdered sugar. I know it sounds like a ton, but it came out looking like the photo from the restaurant.
The result is sumptuous. Perfection on a plate. The recipe makes enough for two pies, but I made only one crust, so I brought the rest of the filling for a Shabbat vegetarian potluck. That, on its own, got rave reviews.
This is a double batch filling — use your favorite crust or shell!
8 egg yolks
1 ½ cups sour cream
¾ cup corn starch
4 cups half & half
1 ½ cups maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
In a large saucepan, whisk together the yolks and whole eggs.
Whisk in the sour cream, followed by the corn starch, then half & half and the maple syrup.
Put the pot on the stove and cook it on medium/low heat, whisking occasionally as it heats, then nearly constantly as it thickens.
Occasionally scrape the sides with a spatula, then whisk in the clumps.
Remove from the heat when the mixture is thick, and the whisk leaves a trail in the custard. Do not over nor under cook!
Whisk in vanilla.
Banana: Slice approximately 4 cups bananas and place at the bottom of the pies. Pour custard on top.
Coconut: Toast 3 cups of coconut in the oven until evenly golden. Stir into the custard after the vanilla.
Chocolate: In a very small saucepan, melt 4 oz. butter. Off the heat, whisk in 1 cup cocoa powder smooth. Stir into the custard after the vanilla.
Pour into the shell and let cool completely.
Molly Parr lives in Florence with her husband and two young daughters. She’s been writing her food blog, Cheap Beets, since 2010. Send questions or comments to email@example.com.