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Dream of a "White Christmas" with this pie

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One song that many of us love to hear at this time of year is "White Christmas". This beautiful song exquisitely paints a wonderful picture of what we hope to see at Christmas time. Though here in the Carolinas, it's rare to see snow at Christmas, we have had a few years where it did make an appearance!

Even if there's no snow in the Christmas forecast, you can still prepare something that may be next best thing to it, come dessert time here at Christmas: "White Christmas Pie". This is a vanilla-almond flavored pie that's light and creamy. It's also topped with shredded coconut for added flavor. To really make it attractive, you could serve it with crushed, sweetened strawberries or raspberries. You could also decorate it with red and green cherries, which would really bring out the holiday colors!

You start with a baked 9-inch pastry shell. For the filling, you make a custard, which contains unflavored gelatin. This helps the pie to set up as it chills. This is a cooked custard that calls for it to cool until the custard mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon. Then, you add vanilla and almond extracts, along with a meringue made of egg whites and sugar. Finally, you fold in real whipped cream. It goes into the pie shell and is topped with the coconut. It then goes into the refrigerator and chills several hours. Decorate it as you choose and it ready to be a part of a joyous occasion!

A few notes about the recipe: since raw egg whites are used in this filling, I would suggest using pasteurized egg whites, if you can find them. If not, another alternative is powdered egg whites. This can be found in the cake decorating section of some department stores and some larger grocery stores. The Wilton Company, who makes many products for cake decorating, makes a "meringue powder" which would work well in recipes like this one by following the directions on the label for egg whites. You can also find this where cake decorating supplies are sold. There is also one other product on the market called "Egg White Magic", which is made by the Sauer's Company. In this area, I've found this at the Ingles Supermarkets and it can be ordered online by following this link:

http://www.cfsauer.com/products.asp?id=7

While we're on the subject of Christmas baking and things decked out in white, I gave a recipe last year for "Santa's Cookies", which are wonderful shortbread cookies that are as pretty as they are good to eat. Here's the link to the recipe, if you don't already have it:

http://www.examiner.com/article/a-special-snack-for-santa

Now, since we're now into holiday baking, I'd like to share a link to a recipe that's most unusual, which is for a "Gingerbread Souffle". This would be very appropriate here at the holidays, since gingerbread is a favorite holiday treat. Here's the link to get the recipe and see how it's prepared:

http://www.examiner.com/article/gingerbread-souffle-recipe

Dream of a "White Christmas" by serving this holiday pie....even if there's no snow in the Christmas forecast!

WHITE CHRISTMAS PIE

  • 1 9-inch baked pie shell
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-3/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • 1 cup moist shredded coconut
  • crushed, sweetened strawberries or raspberries for serving (optional)
  • red and green cherries for decorating (optional)

Have pie shell ready. In a saucepan, combine the first 1/2 cup sugar, flour, gelatin and salt. Blend thoroughly. Gradually add the milk, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Set saucepan in a pan of cold water. Cool the custard, stirring occasionally, until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon. Blend in both extracts. With electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually beat in the second 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold into the custard, followed by the whipped cream. Pile into the prepared pie shell and sprinkle with coconut. Chill several hours until set. Serve chilled, along with crushed strawberries or raspberries or decorated with red and green cherries. Yield: 8 servings.

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