AKA: Blue Bayou Monte Cristo Pie This pie has multiple elements, but it’s worth every bit of the effort! You’ll need:
9.5 in pie pan
Rolling pin and gallon zip lock bag for crushing cookies
Scale (to the gram)
Large, medium, and two small bowls
Stand mixer with a paddle attachment as well as a whisk attachment
Candy thermometer and an instant-read thermometer
Spatulas/Scrapers, wooden or silicone spoons
225 g Nilla wafer cookies
20 g non-fat milk powder
25 g granulated sugar (2 Tbsp)
3 g kosher salt (3/4 tsp)
55 g unsalted butter, melted (1/2 stick), plus 14-25 g, as needed
INGREDIENTS, RASPBERRY PUDDING:
50 g whole milk (room temperature)
6 g cornstarch
180 g whole milk (room temperature)
2 large egg yolks (room temperature)
150 g granulated sugar
2 tbsp raspberry powder
4 tbsp raspberry puree
2 g kosher salt (1/2 tsp)
110 g unsalted butter, cold, cubed (1 stick)
2 gelatin sheets
INGREDIENTS, LIQUID CHEESECAKE:
225 g cream cheese, at room temperature
150 g granulated sugar
6 g cornstarch (1 Tbsp)
2 g kosher salt (1/2 tsp)
25 g whole milk (2 Tbsp) (room temperature)
1 egg (room temperature)
200 g granulated sugar (1 cup)
100 g water
3 egg whites (room temperature)
Put the cookies in a food processor and pulse until you achieve a sandy texture.
In a bowl, add the cookies, non-fat milk powder, sugar and salt. Mix.
add the melted butter into the ground cookie mixture. If it’s moist enough to form a ball at this point, you can stop—if not, keep adding butter a little at a time until it holds together
Using your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the cookie crust firmly into your pie plate. Make sure the bottom and walls of the plate are fully and evenly covered. 1. 2. 3. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a high-powered blender or crumble the cookies by hand, being sure to break them down into as fine a state as possible.
Wrapped in plastic, this type of crust can be frozen for up to 2 weeks
Whisk the 50g milk and cornstarch together in a small container or bowl. Set the slurry aside.
Whisk the 180 g milk and egg yolks together in a small bowl. Whisk the sugar, raspberry powder, raspberry puree, and salt into the yolk mixture in a steady stream, then transfer it to a small saucepan. Add the butter.
Bloom the gelatin sheet by soaking it in a small bowl of ice cold water. The gelatin has bloomed when it becomes soft, after about 2 minutes. Gently squeeze the bloomed gelatin to remove excess water. Set aside.
o If the gelatin sheet is so soft that it’s falling apart, it has over bloomed and you’ll need to discard it and start over.
o To bloom powdered gelatin, sprinkle it evenly onto the surface of 2 Tbsp cold water in a small cup. Allow the granules to soak up the water and soften entirely for 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
Heat the milk-egg mixture over low heat, whisking regularly. Once it just starts to boil, whisk in the milk-and-cornstarch slurry. Bring it back to a boil, then remove it from heat and add the bloomed gelatin. Whisk until fully dissolved.
Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof container and put it in the fridge until the pudding has cooled completely for at least 30 minutes. The pudding can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; do not freeze.
Preheat the oven to 300° F (150° C).
Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and mix for 1-2 minutes until the sugar has been completely incorporated. Scrape the bowl again.
Whisk the cornstarch and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until the mixture is homogeneous.
With the mixer at medium-low speed, stream in the egg mixture. Paddle for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the bowl.
Line the bottom of a 6×6-inch baking pan with plastic wrap (if you’re not comfortable putting plastic wrap in the oven, feel free to use aluminum foil instead and keep an eye on the baking time as it may take a few minutes longer).
Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put it in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes.
o Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be more set around the outside but still jiggly in the center. If it’s jiggly all over, give it 5 more minutes in the oven.
o If the cheesecake rises more than 1/4 inch or begins to brown at all, remove it from the oven immediately.
Cool the cheesecake completely to allow it to set. Once cool, it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Combine the sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed pan and stir to fully moisten the sugar.
Place the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Clip a candy thermometer to the pan and check the temperature periodically as you move to the egg white whipping step of the recipe described below. Ultimately you’ll need to bring the syrup to 240° F (115° C).
o If you don’t have a candy thermometer, cook the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is boiling. Pour some cold water into a glass and add a few ice cubes. Drop a small spoonful of the syrup into the glass and pick it up between your fingers. If it dissolves, your syrup needs to boil longer. If you can form it into a soft ball, your syrup is ready.
While the syrup boils, put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip them to medium-soft peaks.
o If your egg whites reach medium-soft peak before the syrup reaches the desired temperature, slow your mixer down to the lowest speed while you wait. If they aren’t at medium-soft peak yet by the time your syrup is ready, turn the heat off under the syrup, move it to a cold burner, and continue whipping your whites.
When your syrup and egg whites are both ready, make sure your mixer is on high as you carefully pour the syrup into the bowl, being very careful not to allow the syrup to hit the whisk, which will cause splattering. The best way to avoid this is to pour the syrup so it slides down the side of the bowl and into the egg whites as you whip.
Continue to whip the meringue until it becomes fluffy and glossy, and when you stop the mixer and lift the whisk attachment out of the meringue, it holds a stiff peak with perhaps just a tiny curl of meringue at the very top.
o The meringue may still be a bit hot at this point, so it’s okay to let it sit undisturbed at room temperature until it cools down, or you can put it in the refrigerator.
Bake the pie crust for 10 – 12 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
When the pie crust is cooled, pour the warm pudding mixture into the baked and cooled pie crust shell.
Level pudding so that it’s a smooth, flat surface.
Optional, stud with fresh raspberries
Chil in the refrigerator until set, completely. Should be firm.
When the liquid cheesecake is cool, mix with finished Meringue. Lightly blend together without deflating the Meringue.
When the raspberry pudding is cooled completely, pile the meringue/cheesecake combo onto the set pudding. Chill, or serve immediately.
When ready to serve, sprinkle crispy ham on top of each pie piece individually, just before serving.