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Catholic Recipe: Flambe Cherry Pie


  • cognac
  • 1 lb. can red sour pitted cherries, waterpacked
  • milk
  • egg yolks
  • sugar
  • cornstarch
  • red vegetable food coloring
  • egg whites
  • gelatine
  • cold water
  • heavy cream
  • lemon juice
  • Details

  • Prep Time: N/A
  • Difficulty: • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 21+
  • Origin:

In Italy St. Agatha's feastday celebration is kept with fireworks. In her honor a chef in a famous New York night club created a recipe he called "Flambe Cherry Pie." This is not a recipe for little children; it is quite adult. Cherries Jubilee might be served over ice cream for the children while the grownups have the following dessert.


To make the pie, line a 9-inch pie plate with a pie crust made from a favorite recipe or a packaged pie crust mix. Substitute 1 tablespoon of cognac for one of the tablespoons of water in the pastry. Bake. (This recipe, incidentally, calling for a baked pastry crust bottom, has never been used before, according to our friend the chef who created the recipe for this book.)

Drain pound can of red sour pitted cherries and soak in 4 ounces of cognac.

Heat 1 1/2 cups of milk to scalding. Mix 2 egg yolks, 2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, another 1/2 cup of cold milk, and 2 drops of red vegetable food coloring. Add this mixture to the scalding milk. Put this custard aside to cool for 1 hour, or refrigerate until thoroughly cooled, about 1/2 hour.

Beat 6 egg whites with 3 tablespoons of sugar until firm. Dilute 1 tablespoon of clear gelatine in 1/2 cup of cold water. When dissolved, warm over fire and blend into egg whites. Blend the gelatine and egg whites into the chilled custard very gently, being careful to keep the texture smooth. Beat 3/4 cup of heavy cream until stiff and gradually blend it into the custard. Refrigerate 1/2 hour.

Remove 3/4 of the cherries from the cognac, and reserve the cognac. Fold the cherries into the chilled chiffon filling very gently and mix, but not too thoroughly. Spread into pie shell. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Meanwhile, make a glaze by heating 1 cup of cherry juice, 1 drop of red vegetable food coloring, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken. Remove the pie from the refrigerator and spread the remaining cherries over the top, covering with the glaze. Refrigerate until ready to serve. At serving time, heat the cognac in which the cherries were soaked and quickly pour the heated cognac over the pie and light it. Dim the lights in the room and bring the lighted cherry pie to the table.

Recipe Source: My Nameday — Come for Dessert by Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1962
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