Eggnog Cream Pies

Eggnog is a standard at my home during the entire Holiday season, but I wanted to do something different with it to inspire people to think of food in different ways.  Here I took one of my favorite drinks and turned it into a cream pie which I served in my faux bois cups.  It brought a festive look to the dessert table and allowed guests to walk around with their dessert - most people shared them.  I actually used store-prepared pie crust cut into quarters and then fit two of the quarters into the cups so that part of the crust draped over to create a rustic effect.  Some of the draped edges broke off during the baking process - I just ate those!  I prepared the dough with an eggwash and blind-baked them in the oven for 20 minutes until they were golden brown.  Allow them to cool completely before you add the filling.  You could easily do this with a pie pan, you would just need to fill the pan with pie beans to make sure your crust does not shrink too much during the blind baking process.  This recipe fills eight of my 10 oz. cups, you can half it if you choose.

Eggnong Cream Pie Filling
12 egg yolks
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. vanilla-bean paste
2 tsp. fresh-grated nutmeg
1/4 cup Remy XO, bourbon or brandy
4 cups heavy whipping cream - whipped (see note)

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar on medium high until thick and pale yellow, then add flour.  On the stovetop, in a large saucepan heat milk and cream to hot.  Add some of the cream mixture to the yolks to temper it - stirring with a whisk to combine.  Pour tempered mixture in with hot cream and gently whisk until mixture is thickened fully - about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla-bean paste, nutmeg and Remy XO.  Let mixture cool completely. 

To stablize my whipping cream, I add one package of unflavored gelatin.  To do this, sprinkle one package gelatin over one cup heavy cream in a liquid measuring cup.  Place into microwave and heat on high for one minute.  Stir with a fork to combine - place back into microwave and heat again for 30 seconds, then stir with a fork to combine.  You should see the gelatin dissolve at this point.  Place into the refrigerator to cool for 1.5 - 2 hours.  I then put this cream into the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment with the other three cups of chilled cream and whip to stiff peaks.  Once the yolk mixture has cooled, I then fold in the whipped cream and fill the cups with the mixture and let set for at least two hours.