For the Shell: 1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
Ice water For the Filling: 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs -- separated
2 to 4 Tbsp brandy or rum -- to taste *
Freshly grated nutmeg if possible, other- wise ground nutmeg
Prepare the pie shell:
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl and then cut in the shortening using a pastry blender. When the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, add about 1/4 cup of ice water and using your hands, but working the dough as little as possible (you want it to stay as cold as possible), mix in the water. Add more water if needed to produce a dough that will hold together in a ball.
Roll out to about 1/4 inch and then fold the circle of dough into quarters and place in a 9-inch pie pan. Turn the edges under and, using your thumb and forefinger, press a fluted design into the edge. Using a fork, prick the pastry all over the bottom of the shell and also around the sides. Bake at 400F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
Make the filling:
Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup of the milk, stir it in gently and allow it to soften. In the top portion of a double boiler combine the cornstarch, salt and 3 Tbsp of the sugar and add the rest of the milk and the egg yolks whick have been slightly beaten. Stirring constantly, cook over simmering water until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Stir the gelatin mixture into the thickened milk mixture. Return to the heat and cook for 5 minutes while you stir constantly. Remove from the heat. Cover and place in the refrigerator to cool until chilled.
Beat the egg whites until frothy and add the rest of the sugar as you beat until they become quite firm. Add the brandy or rum (or extracts) to the chilled thickened milk mixture. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour into the cooled pie shell and sprinkle nutmeg on the top. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.
YIELD: 8 servings