Monday, October 25, 2010

A Pie You Set on Fire

Apparently the Northend cousins have an affinity for the same nautical themed spirits - namely Sailor Jerry's (and NOT Captain Morgan's - blegh). Matt and I discovered Sailor Jerry's in the midwest (far away from any bodies of water) when we accidentally missed some obscure "blue law" window for alcohol purchases at the grocery store. We were looking for Bicardi Black - a spiced rum with a high enough proof to light on fire - for a surprise dessert for my mom and dad who were on vicarage there in Kansas. We managed to find a liquor store willing to sell some of their stock just before closing but no Black was to be found! What ended up going home with was better tasting than anything I've ever lit on fire before.

This pie was a serendipitous combination of last-minute Pie-of-the-Week cooking and last year's nectarine harvest. Mamma Sheean had sent us home from our visit last weekend with a big box of vegetables and huge vacuum sealed bag of frozen nectarines. I was determined to use them in a pie, but my Pie book doesn't have any nectarine recipes. In keeping with my unique-pie pursuit, I tried Googling different nectarine recipes and came up with a "Cajun Nectarine Pie" - but the only spice every iteration of the recipe called for was cinnamon. Yum! But boooooorrrrriiinng. With the nectarines almost completely defrosted on the counter top, I was running out of time to make a decision.

And that's when the bottle of Sailor Jerry's toppled from the cabinet onto my head. INSPIRATION STRUCK! Well... that would have been the ideally dramatic way of inspiration striking - but truth be told there was simply a very large bag dark brown sugar sitting next to the sink BELOW the open cabinet with Sailor Jerry's inside NEXT to the melting nectarines which had somehow ended up next to lighter. True story.

With "cajun" still in my mind, I found myself wondering if Bananas Foster had ever been Nectarine Foster... and then, of course, if anyone had ever put it in a pie... and VIOLA!
Danica's Nectarine Rum Pie.
(If this gets famous, I'm makin sure my name is in the title!)

4 lbs of frozen nectarines (the juices will cook off and diminish the weight)
1 c of firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c, 2 Tbsp of butter
4-5 shots of Sailor Jerry's (or spiced rum of 90 proof + 1 tsp of vanilla + tsp of nutmeg + 1 tsp of ground cardamom)
1 partially baked bottom pie crust shell
1 unbaked top pie crust
*2 Tbsp lemmon
*2 Tbsp of flour

In a nutshell:

I started by draining off all the water from the frozen nectarines. I didn't squeeze the juices off, but drained them pretty throughly and saved about 1 cup for later.

I browned a 1/2 cup of butter in a large 12" sauce pan and added the brown sugar and the nectarines, sautéing as best I could and adding juice as I saw fit to keep things moist and create a syrup, over about 5 minutes.

I continued adding juices as I needed to as well as an extra 2 Tbsp of butter, and stirred the mixture while things started to caramelize.
(NEXT TIME I made this pie I will sautee the nectarines without the brown sugar.)

When the consistency was such that I could scrape the nectarines and juices with a spatula and reveal the clean bottom of the pan for a few seconds I removed the pan from heat and spread the nectarines evenly over the surface. Then I added about 2.5 shots of Sailor Jerry's over the entire surface and lit it on fire! When the fire died out (after about 3 minutes), I stirred the mixture and repeated with another 2 shots.

Then I added 3 tsp of cinnamon and 1.5 tsp of ginger while I let the mixture cool, just a bit, before putting it into a partially baked pie crust.

I botched placing my top crust & added sprinkled brown sugar which ended up looking burnt =/
I also didn't rotate the pie half-way and burnt it a smidgeon.

I topped the pie with new, uncooked crust, poked some holes and stuck it in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees and broiled on high for an extra 3 minutes to brown the top crust.

I highly recommend Sailor Jerry's over any other spiced rum!! It has hints of vanilla and cloves that compliment the simply spices added by hand so very wonderfully.


*Next time, I want to add 2 Tbsp of flour to the caramelized mixture just to give it a tiny bit more body, although.... the nectarines were super juicy and soft because of their previously frozen state. I imagine fresh ones will require that flour. I would also recommend adding 2 Tbsp of lemon juice in this stage - I didn't have any, but I imagine that it would really bring out a wonderful gingery pucker with the incredibly sweet nectarines.

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