I got started thinking about this while making the Tangelo Angel Food Cake. I mean, honestly, when I have all these egg yolks just piled in a bowl, well, there is not a lot you can do with a dozen of ’em and they do freeze well, but . . . I figured, “What the hell, I’ll make creme brulée! –No, scratch that, I’ll make crème brûlée pie! Wait, is there such a animal?”

And so my mental process had been set in motion: Find a recipe and make it my own by changing it to suite my taste — which usually involves less sugar than called for and other such little tweaks. The more I looked, the more brick walls I came to. What’s the deal, not a solitary person had thought of this magnificent idea until this moment? At last I found one on a website which shall go nameless because, first of all, I had to join it to get to the recipe and I’m not much of a joiner — well, OK, I ask people to join my blog all the freakin’ time so I’ve been a lot better about these things lately, but after joining, the darn thing turned out to be a couple of different recipes smooshed together, parts of which were diametrically opposed to one another, getting increasingly exasperating.
So my quest continued, past a egg custard pie, totally different from what I had in mind, and a mock crème brûlée pie, which was like a pudding recipe gone so wrong. It was just disturbing; even biggies like Food Network and (for crying out loud) Martha had nothin’! I decided to wing it; all I had to go on was my own original crème brûlée recipe (from this past Christmas) which was incredible. It’s what I ultimately used to create what I must say is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. To make it even tougher I did it two different ways — since I was going to have two pies, why not?? One I planned to do traditionally with the burnt sugar topping and the other with a dark chocolate ganache!!! KEWL, was all I could think, and that got me fired up with more confidence than ever!!! Maybe, just maybe, through me, the time of the crème brûlée pie will come — who knows? A great sign was that every single person who taste-tested this was clearly awestruck and have been kind of looking over my shoulders a little more to see what’s next, and at first it was a little stalkerish, but now well……… honestly? I think I like it!
Have ready two “blind baked” Whole Foods frozen pie crusts thawed first. To “blind bake,” simply line crust with parchment paper overlapping the edges and fill with either (dry) rice or beans to keep the shape of the crust intact. Bake for about 10-15 minutes at 375ºF , remove from oven, remove the paper and brush the crust immediately with egg white to seal. Keep the “weight” (i.e., the rice or beans) for more blind baking in the future (it is not really usable for anything else anymore).

Have ready two “blind baked” Whole Foods frozen pie crusts thawed first. To “blind bake” simply line crust with parchment paper overlapping the edges and fill with either rice or beans to keep the shape of the crust intact and bake for about 10-15 minutes at 375ºF , remove from oven and remove the paper and brush the crust immediately with egg white to seal, and keep the “weight (rice or beans) for more blind baking in the future as it is not really usable for anything else anymore.

Creme Brulee Filling:
Mix together, and set aside:
12 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla
Put into a sauce pan over low to med heat and stirring constantly bring to almost boiling point,
4 cups heavy cream
Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes, while you whisk the egg/sugar mixture for 2 minutes.
Start to temper the egg mixture by putting with a ladle very small amounts of hot cream into egg mixture while whisking constantly, do this slowly so as not to make scrambled eggs, as you will have to start over. Big Bummer! Been there, done that! So be as slow about it as you need to be at first, with the cream, once the egg mixture comes up to temperature it is tempered, and can be done faster.
Put back over a low heat and whisking constantly cook about 3-4 minutes until it starts to thicken. Put the beautiful creamy egg mixture thru a strainer to get out any lumps. Fill cooled pie shells and cover the edges with foil or they will burn.
Put pies on the middle rack of a 350ºF oven for 40 minutes or they are set on the sides but still jiggle in the middle. Remove and cool completely, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight.

Burnt Sugar Topping:
Sprinkle at least a 1/4 cup of white or brown sugar over pie leaving the foil right where it is and use a torch to melt sugar or put under a very hot broiler for about a 1 1/2 minutes turning every 15-20 seconds.
Refrigerate, or let stand, until sugar is hard.

Chocolate Ganache:
1/4 cup heavy cream and
5 oz. Dark Chocolate in microwave 30 seconds at a time until it is melted, stir well and add
2 TLBS. Unsalted Butter stir until mixed well and it will start to cool off fast so spread on second pie while still a little warm and refrigerate until set.
Serve with Whipped Cream.

And as always, Enjoy!!!
© Jennifer Green Alger 2010