The mojito is quite possibly a perfect cocktail. Fussing with it never seems to generate significant improvements, but driven by the need to seem unique and creative, bars keep offering variations with pomegranate, green tea, lychee, or whatever else the flavor of the month happens to be.
After impulse-purchasing some kiwis and throwing them into a mojito pie for the ScienceBlogs Pi Day contest, I can’t say I’m any better than a bartender shilling $12 cocktails to jaded foodies. But the kiwi and lime blend seamlessly together in a refreshingly tart custard, and hey, they were on sale.
You’ll need to bake this pie at least 3 hours before you plan to eat it, so that it has time to set.
This recipe is based on the key lime pie from The New Best Recipe, my staple cookbook. (I reviewed it, along with some other helpful pie-baking books, in my National Pie Day cookbook-reviewing extravaganza.)
For the crust:
- ~8 or so graham crackers
- 5 Tbsp butter
- 6-12 1 oz. candy canes
For the filling:
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 14-oz can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 c. lime juice – the New Best Recipe people did some experiments using both true key limes and the Persian limes you normally find in grocery stores, and found that the variety of lime makes absolutely no difference to the final pie. Do not waste time or money on exotic limes when you are just going to smother their subtleties with sweetened condensed milk.
- lime zest – I used the zest from 7 little round limes. It is theoretically possible to use too much zest, but this is not as great a risk as using insufficient zest and having a pie with no zing.
- 1-3 tsp rum extract, or 1-3 tbsp dark rum
- 3-5 kiwi fruit
For the topping, if you’re into that sort of thing:
- Whipped cream; or,
- Use the egg whites to make meringue
Preheat oven to 325ºF (160ºC)
Crust: Run the graham crackers in a food processor, or put them in a plastic zipper-lock bag and smash them with a bottle, until they have an even crumb. Mix them in a bowl with the melted butter; add more butter, if needed, so that the mixture has the consistency of wet sand.
Mush the buttered crumbs into a pie dish. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, until the crust just begins to brown.
Run the candy canes in a food processor, or smash them into a coarse powder. When the crust is out of the oven, spread the candy cane powder evenly in it.
Filling: Whisk together the egg yolks and lime zest until the mixture turns a pale green or you are sick of whisking, whichever comes first. Add the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and 1 tsp of rum extract (or 1 Tbsp rum). Taste – add more rum if necessary. When you think you have enough rum, add another teaspoon, or maybe two; the lime zest will release more flavor as you cook it, and the rum will not. The amount of rum necessary to balance out the lime is what makes me think it’s a good idea to use rum extract – the alcohol won’t stop your filling from setting, I don’t think, but if you add too much liquid overall, it will be runny. Also, rum extract is much cheaper than real rum.
You might also add a bit of mint flavor to the filling – muddle some fresh leaves in the lime juice, or use an extract. I think the candy canes were too weak in the final pie.
Let the filling congeal for a bit while you fuss with the kiwis and the crust.
Slice 3-4 kiwis and lay them out on the bottom of the crust.
After the filling has congealed, pour it over the kiwis. Stick it in the oven for 15-18 minutes, until the center is firm yet wibbly when you poke it. Garnish with mint sprigs or thinly-sliced kiwi; chill for 3 hours (or more) before serving.
I did not make a sweet topping for this pie – I like ’em tart. I also feel less guilty about having pie for breakfast when it’s not smothered in whipped cream. However, if you do whip up some cream or make a meringue topping for your pie, I recommend adding a bit of rum and/or mint flavor to that as well.
Bonus Cocktail: Kiwi-Lime Sponde
Creme de violette is an old-fashioned cocktail ingredient that is beginning to come back into style – or at least U.S. availability. The Mr. and I impulse-purchased a bottle of Rothman & Winter’s on close-out, and have been scouring the Internet for Prohibition-era cocktail recipes for the past several weeks. This is how we know that we are, indeed, jaded foodie hipsters; with a little more disposable income we would be just as unbearable as some of our friends.
The Jupiter cocktail is more or less a martini with creme de violette or parfait amour and orange juice added.
A Sponde cocktail (we decided last night, after paging through lists of Jovian satellites) is any one-off variation on a Jupiter. Sponde is a tiny, tiny moon of Jupiter – a 2 km fragment of a captured asteroid, most of which survived as the larger moon Pasiphaë. Sponde is also one of the Horae, who presides over the seventh hour of the day, “libations poured after lunch”.
Here’s the one we made:
- 1 1/2 oz gin
- 1/2 oz dry vermouth
- 1/2 oz creme de violette
- 1/4-1/2 oz kiwi/lime juice (Procedure: Attempt to juice a kiwi on your citrus juicer. Realize that this is a dumb idea, because kiwis do not juice the same way citrus do, and you are getting mostly pulp. Juice a small lime on top of that, and then push some of the kiwi pulp through the strainer.)
- 1/4 tsp or so sugar
Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass.
It’s good but not great; there was more lime than kiwi, and together they overpowered the violet. I thought about naming it Ganymede or Europa, in honor of its mottled grayish appearance, but it seems like a waste to name something I am unlikely to make again after one of the Galilean satellites. I’ll wait until I have a more stable recipe.