Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Bellini Pie


Light. Refreshing. Delicate. Creamy. These words perfectly describe this Bellini pie. A dual-layer no-bake filling of peach chiffon and Champagne mousse encompass the flavors of this classic breakfast cocktail within the confines of a flaky, buttery pie crust.


A lesson I learned when making this pie: pay close attention to the size. I inadvertently used a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan instead of a 9 1/2-inch pan. Most pie recipes use 9-inch pans as a standard, so it didn't even occur to me that this recipe would use a larger sized dish.


I made the full quantity of peach chiffon filling and realized it was way too much for the size crust I had pre-baked. I reserved about 1 1/2 cups of this filling, and then scaled down the Champagne mousse to make 2/3 of the amount (using 2 egg yolks instead of 3, and adjusting everything else accordingly). This yielded the perfect amount to finish filling my crust with the second, thinner layer. In the future I would certainly use a larger pie dish, but even with this small hiccup I was very impressed with the results. The pie is delicately sweet, and nicely aerated.


The only other concern I have with this recipe is a matter of technique finishing the Champagne mousse. The recipe instructs to slowly pour the Champagne custard mixture into the beaten cream, whipping on low. This immediately deflates the cream, yielding a liquidy finish. Thanks to the gelatin, the mixture still sets just fine in the fridge, but you lose nearly all of the volume obtained by whipping the cream. My instinct tells me to fold the cream into the custard mixture, and that's what I would try next time to yield a more airy top layer, but it still set, and was delicious despite this potential flaw.


All in all, this Bellini pie is a true crowd-pleaser! It's perfect for summer when peaches are ripe and juicy. I love that it's an outside-of-the-box approach to a classic flavor combination. This is definitely my kind of pie!


Bellini Pie
Makes one 9 1/2–inch deep-dish pie
(From The New Pie via food52)

Peach Chiffon:
2/3 cup (155 grams) heavy cream
2 cups (340 grams) peeled peach slices, fresh or thawed frozen
1 tablespoon (9 grams) unflavored powdered gelatin
1 pinch salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (15 grams) peach schnapps liqueur
2 large egg whites
2/3 cup (133 grams) sugar
Your favorite deep-dish single crust, baked and cooled in a 9 1/2–inch deep-dish pie pan

Champagne Mousse:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (255 grams) Demi-sec Champagne or another sweet sparkling white wine
1 3/4 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1 pinch salt
3/4 cup (174 grams) heavy cream

To make the peach chiffon: In a medium bowl, whip the cream on medium-high speed until it holds stiff peaks, 1 to 3 minutes. Put the whipped cream in the refrigerator while preparing the rest of the filling.

In a food processor, puree the sliced peaches until they are smooth. You will need 1 1/3 cups of puree. In a large microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup of the peach puree. Set aside to soften for 5 minutes. Microwave the gelatin mixture on high (100%) power for about 30 seconds, stirring every 10 seconds, until the mixture is just bubbling at the edges and the gelatin seems dissolved (it’s hard to tell because the puree is not a clear liquid, but if the puree has begun to bubble at the edges, it should be fine). Add the remaining peach puree to the gelatin mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the salt, lemon juice, and peach schnapps; set aside until the mixture is no longer warm, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from setting prematurely.

While the peach mixture is cooling, bring approximately 1 inch of water to a simmer in a large saucepan. In a large heat-safe bowl (preferably the metal bowl of an electric stand mixer), whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Heat the egg-white mixture over the simmering water until the mixture is quite hot (160°F on an instant-read thermometer) and the sugar is completely dissolved. Beat the hot egg-white mixture on medium-high speed (and with the whisk attachment if using a stand mixer) until it holds soft peaks and has completely cooled (the outside of the bowl should not feel warm), 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer and the temperature of your kitchen.

Fold the whipped egg-white mixture into the peach mixture until it is mostly incorporated. Fold in the cold whipped cream until the mixture is uniform and no white streaks of egg white or whipped cream remain. Transfer the mixture to the cooled pie crust and refrigerate until the mixture is cold and firm, at least 4 hours (or up to overnight).

To make the Champagne mousse: Place 2 tablespoons/28 grams of the Champagne in a small microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and remaining 1 cup/227 grams of the Champagne in a medium saucepan. Over medium-low heat, cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it reaches 160°F on an instant-read thermometer and thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes (the mixture will become foamy). Remove from the heat and continue whisking for about 2 minutes, until it cools slightly.

Microwave the gelatin mixture at high (100%) power, stirring every 5 seconds until it just begins to bubble at the edges and the gelatin is dissolved, about 15 seconds. Whisk the gelatin into the hot Champagne-egg mixture. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, and then set the mixture aside to cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from setting.

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer on medium-high to whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks, 1 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and drizzle in the cooled Champagne mixture, whipping on low until no streaks remain. Spread the Champagne mousse over the peach chiffon filling and refrigerate the pie until it is cold and set, about 4 hours (or up to overnight), before serving. (Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.) The pie is best eaten within 2 days.

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