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Brandy Alexander Pie

January 27, 2015

The serious holidays have passed, and you’ve (mostly) recovered from the festivities. Perhaps you’ve placed yourself “on the wagon” temporarily to give your liver a chance to regain its sensibilities. Or maybe you’ve decided that you need to cut out either the desserts or the drinks to reduce your total caloric intake to get back to your pre-holiday physique. It’s also possible that you like chocolate and booze and you’re just trying to figure out a socially acceptable means of consuming them all in one go. Brandy Alexander Pie, with its chocolate cookie crust—and brandy—and the creamy chocolate pudding and whipped cream filling—with brandy and chocolate liqueur—fulfills all those requirements, at least on casual glance.

We’re not baking this pie, so all the alcohol, and its resultant effects, will be part of the finished product. We don’t recommend serving this pie to minors, but when you calculate the total alcohol in each slice (⅓ cup of brandy and ¼ cup chocolate liqueur divided by 8 slices of pie) you end up with about half an ounce of chocolate liqueur at 17% ABV and about ⅔ ounce of brandy at 40% ABV; it’s not a significant amount of alcohol. It’s also mixed with pudding, whipped cream and chocolate wafers. What will probably turn off non-drinkers is the alcohol flavor in the crust.

The crust itself is just crushed chocolate wafer cookies, not Oreos or any other chocolate sandwich cookie, butter and brandy. Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers are used in this recipe, either crushed in a bag with a rolling pin, or processed in a food processor, until they are fine crumbs. We don’t use sandwich cookies because they also contain a buttercream filling which we don’t want. Pressing the crumb crust evenly up the sides and across the bottom of the pie plate may take a bit of practice. If you find the mixture is sticking to your hands, try using a rubber scraper to press with the crumbs in the pie plate.

The filling is a mixture of vanilla and chocolate instant pudding mixes, the remaining alcohol and whipped cream. We’ll be using less milk than the pudding directions call for, so premade pudding isn’t an option for this pie. We also won’t be heating or cooking this pudding, so instant mixes are required. Because we’re using fresh whipped cream, this pie will start to weep a couple days after it’s put together, so plan to serve the entire pie on the day you make it. Since it only takes about 20 minutes to make and needs an hour or two in the fridge to completely set up, this dessert can be easily made early in the day you want to serve it.

If you haven’t sworn off the “demon alcohol” completely, or are looking to ease yourself back into the imbibing saddle, this delicious, chocolately and slightly alcoholic dessert is the perfect choice.

Brandy Alexander Pie

The Crust

Either place the wafers in a bag and roll them with a rolling pin until they are finely crushed, or process them in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. Measure out ⅓ cup of brandy and pour 3 tablespoons of that ⅓ cup into another measuring cup. Reserve the rest of the brandy for the filling. Combine the crumbs, butter and brandy in a bowl and mix until they are combined. Press the crumb mixture evenly in the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Set aside.

The Filling

Combine the pudding mixes in a large mixing bowl. Add the milk, remaining brandy and chocolate liqueur to the mixes and whisk until the mixture begins to thicken, about 4 minutes. Place the bowl, whisk and all, in the fridge. Whip the 1 cup of heavy cream with a mixer until medium peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture using either the whisk or a rubber scraper. Spoon the pudding mixture into the shell smoothing the filling using the scraper. Cover lightly and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with whipped cream if desired.

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