As you know from my last post, I’m all for make-ahead recipes for the holidays. It’s a lot to coordinate all at once so the more you can prepare for Thanksgiving or your holiday meal ahead of time, the easier it’ll be for you and the less wine you’ll have to drink to relax yourself (ok fine, you can still drink as much wine as you want – you are the host/hostess after all). And as I’ve mentioned previously, certain dishes really do improve the longer they can sit and have the flavors meld together and this maple mousse pie is no exception.
I happen to love all things maple but sometimes I’ll make a recipe and you just can’t taste enough of the lovely syrup, it gets lost among the other ingredients. This certainly does not happen with this recipe – the flavor of maple is so strong which is partially due to using dark maple syrup, it just has a more intense flavor. I used the New Hampshire maple syrup that we carry in our breakfast gift baskets and the flavor was absolutely perfect.
Not only was this an easy, make ahead pie that I made days before our holiday meal (feel free to order your pies if you prefer), it was a huge hit with my family. Serve the candied cranberries on the side in case people don’t think they’ll like them – they are delicious so if you have leftovers they would make a wonderful mixer in a martini. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.
Frozen Maple Mousse Pie with Candied Cranberries
Adapted from Food & Wine
- 1 1/2 cups finely crushed cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (I used 10 crackers)
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- Generous pinch of sea salt
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup pure maple syrup (grade A dark preferably)
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ cups chilled heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 8 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- ¾ cup water
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Combine crushed graham cracker crumbs (I crush these up by placing in a ziploc bag and using a rolling pin over the bag, but you could use a food processor too – one less thing to clean though if you use a ziploc!), brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add butter and stir until crumbs are evenly coated and look like wet sand. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan in an even layer. Bake the crust until lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Set on a cooling rack, turn the oven off, and start preparing the mousse filling.
- Bring the maple syrup to a boil in a medium saucepan – be sure you choose one that’s large enough because it will bubble up quite a bit (watch to make sure it doesn’t boil over). Simmer over moderate heat until a candy thermometer inserted in the syrup registers 235°, about 8-10 minutes.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt until firm peaks form. Turn the mixer down to medium speed and carefully drizzle in the hot syrup and beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat for about 5 minutes, until the meringue reaches room temperature.
- In another bowl, beat the heavy cream with the vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste until soft peaks form. Fold the meringue (which will be very sticky and a little hard to work with, not to worry) into the whipped cream until blended. Scrape the mousse into the crust and spread evenly. Cover the springform pan with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours but preferably overnight. (The mousse will not freeze solid like ice cream and will remain nice and light whenever you’re ready to take it out and serve; you can freeze the pie up to 4 nights ahead of your meal!)
- Make the sauce: fill the bottom pan of a double boiler (or regular saucepan if you don’t have a double boiler) halfway with water and bring to a simmer. In a separate small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Put the cranberries in the top pan of a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl if you don’t have a double boiler). Pour the sugar syrup over the cranberries and cover with plastic wrap. Set this over the pan of simmering water, turn its heat down very low and cook undisturbed until the syrup is a lovely rose color and the cranberries are soft but not broken down. This will take about 45 minutes. Remove the top pan of the double boiler to the counter so the cranberries can cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled and until you’re ready to serve the pie.
- When it’s time for dessert, remove the ring from the springform pan. Cut the mousse pie into wedges and transfer to plates. Spoon the candied cranberries over the pie (or leave in a bowl on the side) and serve.