When I was in college, I worked at Victoria’s Secret part time and over winter breaks and summers for a couple of years. Part of my job description of course included helping the customers find what they were looking for, and many a time, those customers were men shopping for their wives or girlfriends. Almost all of them had quite the awkward vibe going, as if they’d never done this before and felt really clueless. (And I would have to suppose many of them were, judging by the number of returns I did).
But anyway, these men were rather shy customers most of the time, so you had to take the lead and ask questions to ascertain what they were looking for, but in asking questions you had to be a bit delicate to make sure you steered clear of stepping in a big pile of TMI. So usually we would start by asking about the lady’s shape and dress size. And I cannot tell you how often we women employees would hear in response, “Well, she looks like you! Only different.”
Yeah, not helpful. Not helpful at all, in fact.
Which brings me to this pie. Although a bit more elegantly worded than my former Vickie’s Secret male customers, the cookbook’s blurb about this pie can be summed up as, “It’s like pumpkin pie; only different.” And while that sort of is an accurate description, it’s somewhat maddening, so I’m going to try and describe this pie without referencing the more familiar pumpkin pie.
First of all, yes, carrot pie is a thing. And why not? If you can have carrot cake, then you can have carrot pie. This is very reminiscent of Indian flavors, so it’s very warm without overpowering the carrot flavor. It’s custardy but quite light; its texture was less smooth than most custard based pies, yet not all the way to grainy, so still quite pleasant. I think carrot pie would make a perfect dessert for the end of an Indian food themed dinner party. Enjoy!
Source: A Year of Pies by Ashley English
Basic pie dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate (I used a half batch of this recipe)
1 lb. carrots, peeled and ends removed
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs, separated
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate.
Roll out the pie dough on a floured surface and fit it into the prepared pie plate. Price the bottom and sides of the crust with tines of a fork, then place the crust in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
Line the crust with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, then remove the crust from the oven. Leave the oven on and reduce the temperature to 375 F.
Remove the beans/weights from the crust and let it cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Cut the prepped carrots into ¼-inch rounds. Fill a small saucepan with a couple inches of water and let it come to a soft boil. Add the carrots and let them boil until softened. Drain them thoroughly and transfer the carrots to the bowl of your food processor. Puree until very smooth. Now add the sugar, milk, spices, and salt to the carrot puree. Process again until smooth and uniform. Pour the mixture into a medium sized bowl.
Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl until blended. Using either a whisk or electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form in a separate bowl.
Whisk the beaten egg yolks into the carrot puree until thoroughly blended, then whisk in the beaten whites. No need to be careful about not deflating them, so you don’t have to be gentle when incorporating them into the carrot puree.
Pour the puree into the cooled pie shell. Set the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling is set.
Cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Hint: it’s really tasty served chilled. And once it’s chilled, you can totally pick up a slice with your hands and eat it while walking around. I heard that from a friend…