Monday, June 30, 2014


Here’s a fun fact about me: I have a Master’s Degree in Existential Phenomenology.

I am not even messing with you.

So when I got my assignment for the First Annual “Pieathalon” Retro Blogging Challenge, I was a little disappointed in myself.

OMG - I can't even.

How could someone fully grasp the writings of Heidegger, Sartre and Nietzsche -- but then stare at this recipe for "Nesselrode Pie", and feel overwhelmingly perplexed and completely baffled almost to the point of mental paralysis? In the Philosophy business, this is what we call an “Ontological Crisis”. But I digress…

Anyway --after reading the recipe about 50 times, Googling the word “Nesselrode” like a mofo, and then drawing a schematic diagram for myself - I felt ready to get to work in the kitchen.

When in doubt - make a Pie Flow Chart

By the way – this particular Nesselrode Pie recipe is from The Betty Crocker 1971 Card Set (you know the one with the attractive moss green plastic box). History tells us that the Nesselrode Pie was named after Count Nesselrode of Russia, and then became very popular in New York bakeries in the 1950’s. It contains rum, heavy cream, chestnuts, candied fruit, chocolate and gelatin. So I guess this is what the Retro Weight Watchers gals were eating when they fell off the wagon??

According to Wikipedia – this Pie is officially extinct.  That’s right I said EXTINCT!

Well -- not anymore, Bitches!!!!!

I began by pulling out every single bowl and utensil in my entire kitchen. Seriously. I needed 2 pie plates, multiple mixing bowls, a beater, a grater, whisks, spoons, saucepans…the list goes on. Needless to say my kitchen was a total freaking mess.

I set up work stations.

There were things happening in my kitchen that have never happened in there before.

A Full Blown Kitchen Catastrophe

I will spare you all the gory details, but let me just say – after a LOT of intense concentration and some horribly offensive swear words, it all came together.  I wound up with two pie plates filled with Nesselrode goodness sitting in my fridge. But I still wasn’t even close to being finished.

Layers of Love and Anger

Jesus, Mary and Joseph! I still had to let these two separate pies chill completely for hours and then carefully place one on top of the other without breaking the whole freaking thing into a giant pile of gelatinous goo. Not too mention the topping. The God-forsaken whipped topping!

OK. Can I be honest? At this point, I really considered buying a can of Redi-Whip for the topping. But these recipe challenges are hardcore, and I couldn’t risk my fellow Retro Bloggers shaming me for not whipping my own cream. Have I mentioned that these people are not to be messed around with? (Let's just say there's a reason I call them the "Jell-O Mafia") So I slapped together my two Nesselrode Pie layers, and got to work on my whipped topping.

Stiff peaks and all.

So here is the finished product.  Not perfect. But I did it. I FREAKING DID IT!!!!

Look Ma, I made an ACTUAL Pie!

Stiff Peaks, Yo!

As the sun set over the horizon - My husband and I sat down on the couch, and I cut us each a huge slice. We sat there awkwardly and ate our pie together like it was our first date or something. My husband finally looked at me and said, “This is so weird. It’s strange how we’re just sitting here eating this weird pie.”

It was very sweet and creamy. The chocolate layer was delicious. The Nesselrode layer, on the other hand, was sketchy. To be honest, we both felt a tad nauseated after we ate it. Maybe it was the rum soaked fruit? Maybe it was the 3 cups of heavy cream and 6 egg yolks? Maybe it was just the fact that we had skipped dinner, and then slammed down a giant gut-bomb of sugar and fat in the form of a pie. Who knows? It was weird.


I want to thank Kelli from Kelli’s Kitchen for challenging me to make this recipe and for pushing me out of my culinary comfort zone.  I only hate you a little bit, Kelli. (just kidding). I also want to thank Yinzerella over at Dinner Is Served 1972 for organizing this whole shindig.  Bloggers sent their retro pie recipe submissions to Yinzerella, she randomly assigned them to the gang and the Pieathalon was born!

If you have the time and you want to get all up in some Retro Pie Business – go check out the other Bloggers and their recipe challenges. Grab a slice of the Pieathalon!

Brian of Caker Cooking – Chess Pie
Ruth of Mid Century Menu – Avocado Lime Pie
Erica of Retro Recipe Attempts – Curried Egg Pie
Jenny of Silver Screen Suppers --Mile-High Lemon Chiffon Pie
S.S. of A Book of Cookrye -- Upside Down Chicken Pie
Sarah of Directionally Challenged Cooking --Simone's Pet Strawberry Pie
Kelli of Kelli's Kitchen --Butterscotch Pie
Ashley of A Pinch of Vintage --Schoolteacher Pie
Poppy of Granny Pantries --Black Bottom Pie
Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl --Chocolate "Pie"
Emily of Dinner is Served 1972 --Seafoam Cantaloupe Pie


Erica Retrochef said...

Now I understand how a biologist feels after finding a thought-to-be-extinct species in the wilderness. WOW. it is almost liked Baked Alaska, more presentation and pizazz than flavor! Kudos to you and your kitchen counters :-)

Caker Cooking said...

YOU BROUGHT A PIE BACK FROM EXTINCTION! This is like the Jurrasic Park of pies. You're a true trooper, Mimi. And that pie is a work of art.

S. S. said...

That looks really good! What'd you use for the Nesselrode?

Mimi said...

Thanks! Our local market had containers of "candied fruit" which I am guessing people use for fruitcakes. I threw that in there with some nuts and such.

Mimi said...

Thank you! I did feel rather like a Pie superhero while making this. I am still coming down from that high!

Mimi said...


Buzz said...

I can't help thinking that "nesselrode" sounds like some kind of (extinct?) invertebrate.

Kelli Davidson said...

First, you made that pie look better than I have any memory of ever seeing it! My aunt, who actually made it every Christmas only used dried cherries soaked in rum as the fruit layer. I have never attempted it and think you did a fabulous job. I also think your post is the funniest thing I have read on a blog in weeks! Great job!

Poppy Crocker said...

I remember looking at a version of this pie in my mom's cookbooks when I was a kid and wondering why anybody would make such a thing. Now I know it's for a Pieathalon challenge! You have answered one of the great questions in my life.

Silver Screen Suppers said...

Mimi you are the Paleontologist of the Pieathalon! You got this sucker out of hibernation - bravo! That is one fine looking pie. I bet there will be a RASH of Nesselrode Pies all over the interweb machine now thanks to your sterling efforts. I salute you!

Your fellow Pieathelete - Jenny xxx

yinzerella said...


Color me impressed, Mimi. Well played. It really does look lovely.

Ashley said...

Great Post! When we got the pie assignments I definitely was curious what the Nesselrode pie was all about. It sounds and looks intense! I thought my recipe was hard! All I had to do was get the heavy cream not to curdle. Way to go, Mimi for making this work and look delicious!

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