This year Mardi Gras is falling ridiculously early. Maybe I’ve just been so busy with other things but every time I see friends all decked out in their Mardi Gras ball gowns, I think “crap, it’s almost over and I haven’t even decorated my porch”. Sigh. While I have given up on my porch, I have NOT given up on trying out a Mardi Gras King Cake Pie.
While fitting for the 52 Pies Project, this pie is not entirely of my own creation. I saw a post in the food section of Nola.com for a King Cake Pie sometime last year and thought it was interesting, but never made time to actually recreate it.
I changed up a few things, including using an imitation rum extract rather than actual dark rum so you’ll notice that the coloring of my pie differs greatly. My pie is also non-alcoholic and I think the rum flavoring is a bit more subtle. Same goes for my pie crust, I used a pie shield to keep from getting such a dark crust. I also increased the spices, too.
But other than that, same pie. Ha!
- 1 (9-inch) pre-baked pie crust, cooled
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Zest of one lemon
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon imitation rum
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Sanding sugar for topping, purple green and yellow
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Bake the pie crust until lightly browned, about 15 mins. Allow to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a mixer, beat cream cheese with sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add eggs one at a time, then add in the heavy cream, rum, and lemon juice. Stir until well combined.
- Pour filling into cooled, pre-baked pie shell. Using a pie shield to keep the edges from over-browning, bake on middle rack in oven for 40-55 minutes. The pie is done when the edges are set but the center still a bit jiggly. It will continue to firm and set as it cools.
- Allow the pie to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours, before adding the sanding sugar in whatever pattern you like.
- Note: The pie must be refrigerated for storage, but under refrigeration the sugar may bleed and cause the colors to run. Decorate the pie just before serving or transporting.
While the flavors are similar to a King Cake, this pie reminds me more of a king cake custard type of pie. The filling is rich and creamy with a hint of rum and lemon, swirled with just enough cinnamon and nutmeg to mimic the traditional filling nestled inside the flaky layers of a traditional King Cake.
Where you can get creative is with the topping!
I printed out a Mardi Gras mask onto card stock and created a template for my pie.
You’ll cut it out the mask, then a second copy with the mask cut out but the surrounding in tact. Basically, a stencil. Sprinkle the sanding sugar around the mask, then put your stencil down and sand the mask. Remove the eyes and sand those. I took a step further and outlined my mask with royal icing but that’s totally optional. I felt it needed a little more definition.
I’m crazy excited about how it turned out! Super easy and oh so festive!!
Speaking of King Cake, I’m taking my first ever culinary class at the Louisiana Culinary Institute this week. Guess what we’re making? King Cake! We’ll be making a traditional Pithivier (French) king cake and a New Orleans style king cake. Be sure to follow along on Instagram, I’ll be sure to share some photos.