Smoky Tea Prune and Grappa Custard Pie


September and early October tend to be warm here in the Bay Area, so fall comes a bit later than in other places. You know autumn has arrived, however, when the farmers’ market vendors begin selling the new crop of nuts. There’s nothing, really, like a fresh walnut. I combine walnuts, prunes and figs in this pie, then cover them with a Grappa scented custard. Have you ever steeped prunes in a smoky tea? There's something about the raisin-y sweetness balanced with the smoke notes in the tea that I find irresistible. Enjoy!! ;o)

What you will need

1/2 pound pitted prunes

1 tablespoon Lapsang Souchong tea leaves (also sold as “Russian Caravan”)

1 cup chopped walnut pieces, divided

4 medium green or purple fresh figs, stems removed and quartered (Please see note below.)

2 ½ tablespoons Grappa, divided (plus more for the topping . . . see below) below.)

1 egg plus one yolk

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

¼ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon allspice, or more or less to taste

2 nine-inch pie crusts

For the egg wash: 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water

½ teaspoon of white sugar mixed with 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon

TOPPING: 2/3 cup crème fraiche + 2 tablespoons Grappa + 1 tablespoon sugar


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