My grandmother’s white Christmas pie is simplicity in a pie dish, and that may be what makes it so beautiful and delicious!
Which do you prefer – sweet or salty? Most of us in my family are pretty balanced between having a sweet tooth and a salty tooth (though I have to admit that it would be a rare occasion that I would choose a cupcake over a bag of nacho Doritos or some stovetop popcorn). My dad, though…he does not care much for sweets (he’s been digging into the desserts a little bit more over the past few months, and I am sure he’d deny that).
One dessert that he can’t say no to, though, is my grandmother’s white Christmas pie. It’s something that she made every Christmas, and I am sure that’s why. You know, the whole childhood/nostalgia thing. I mean, besides that fact that it’s delicious, of course. My grandmother was a phenomenal cook. Everything she made was delicious. And visually perfect. I wish I had her eye for detail. Maybe one of these days I’ll have the time to perfectly measure my cookie dough then roll it into perfect little balls so that every cookie is the same size and shape. Not that she wasn’t busy, but perfection in the kitchen was important to her.
Anyway, back to white Christmas pie. Honestly, I do not remember it. Not.One.Bit. I don’t remember her ever making it, though I’m told (as I mentioned before) that she made it every Christmas. As a kid I hated coconut, so that’s probably why I don’t remember this pie. It’s okay, though. When you have an aunt who loves to cook as much as you do and as much as her mother did, and who has amazingly organized binders of all of her favorite recipes, you can always ask for the recipe. That’s just what I did.
This white Christmas pie recipe is just as my grandmother made it. I did add a little decoration, you know, for pictures. Everything else, though…it’s exactly as my aunt wrote it down. No cheating here, and no embellishment. Really, this pie is so simple, it just reminds you that food doesn’t have to be difficult or fancy to be perfect and tasty. Definitely worth it to bring back my dad’s childhood memories.
I hope that you enjoy my grandmother’s white Christmas pie!
Yield: 1 9-inch pie (about 8-10 servings)
25 minPrep Time:
40 minCook Time:
1 hr, 5 Total Time:
- 1 pie crust (use your favorite recipe or a store-bought crust)
- 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (or mix 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut), plus another 2 tablespoons for decorating the top.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Form the pie crust in the dish and press a sheet of aluminum foil into the crust. Fill with pie weights. Bake until light brown, about 25 minutes. Set on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Fill the sink with about 3 inches of water and 4 cups of ice (2 ice trays).
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, the flour, the gelatin, and the salt. Gradually whisk in the milk. Set over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture boils, boil it for one minute. Remove from heat and place into the ice bath. Stir from time to time and allow to cool until the mixture mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon (this took about ten minutes for me). Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
- In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer with a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high until soft peaks form. With the beater still going, gradually pour in the remaining half cup of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the beaten egg whites into the milk mixture.
- Wash and dry the mixing bowl. Beat the heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form. Fold into the milk and egg white mixture until completely combined, then fold in the coconut. Pour into the pie shell and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut on top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.
NOTE: This recipe contains uncooked egg whites. People with compromised immune systems, young children, and elderly people should avoid consuming raw eggs due to food borne illnesses. However, you can purchase pasteurized eggs at many grocery stores. Pasteurized eggs are processed in a way that makes them safer to consume raw. I purchase eggs that I am comfortable consuming without cooking them.