First introduced in 1956, this retro Eggnog Fruit Cocktail Pie is making a comeback! It features a creamy eggnog filling studded with colorful sweetened fruit throughout.
I enjoy reading through vintage cookbooks and discovering new (old!) recipes that might just be serviceable for today’s taste buds. But many recipes, particularly from the 1950’s, seem to be based on a dare – especially in the congealed salads chapters.
I recall a New York Times article covering the Atomic Age saying something about mid century recipes evoking the era’s optimism while encasing it in gelatin and smothering it in mayonnaise. That sounds about right.
The origin of this recipe hails from a 1950’s Knox Gelatin advertisement, but it’s rather tame compared to other dessert recipes of the time. The pie is not so much encased by gelatin as it is enhanced by it. The recipe formula is very nearly a mousse recipe that you’d find in cookbooks today. The fruit cocktail? Well, it’s not exactly an elegant counterpart for mousse. But it is nostalgic, and what better time for nostalgia than the holidays?
Use your favorite brand of commercially prepared eggnog for this recipe. I used Southern Comfort brand, which is very smooth and thick. The end result was light and so creamy. Again, it is practically eggnog mousse.
Ah, I do love making pie crust cookies. I used this set of snowflake pastry cutters to stamp shapes from extra pie dough. They baked to golden brown perfection at 400F for about 9 minutes. This is an optional decor, but the snowflakes make a pretty pie – and they’re tasty, too!
A deep dish pie pan (or ready-crust) will be brimming with the eggnog filling. Be sure to use deep dish, or you may consider making two pies that are more shallow.
This pie has a lovely creamy texture and loads of eggnog flavor. Our version is a little different from the original – we gave it a makeover after our first attempt turned out to be not very sweet! The fruit cocktail is a funny, nostalgic touch, but if you’d simply like ‘eggnog pie‘ then the fruit can be omitted.
Eggnog Fruit Cocktail Pie
- 9- inch deep dish pie shell or scratch-made pie crust
- 14 oz. 1 can can fruit cocktail
- 2 envelopes .25oz each unflavored powdered gelatin
- 2 1/2 cups 595 ml commercially prepared eggnog
- 1/2 cup 100g granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup 240 ml heavy whipping cream
- Ground nutmeg
- Pie crust cookie decors optional (see headnote)
- Prepare and bake pie shell according to directions; set aside at room temperature to cool.
- Drain fruit cocktail thoroughly and reserve 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the syrup. Whisk gelatin into the syrup and let stand until thickened.
- Meanwhile, place the eggnog and sugar into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot but not boiling. Stir the gelatin into the eggnog and stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in the salt and vanilla. Remove from heat and let cool until barely warm.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the eggnog mixture. Pour the eggnog mixture into the prepared pie crust and then scatter reserved drained fruit cocktail over the pie (the fruit will sink and disappear under the eggnog filling). Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours, or until the pie is firm and does not jiggle in the center when the pan is moved. Decorate cooled pie if using pie crust cookies, and serve slices chilled.