Chocolate Cuban-Rum Pie


* 3/4 cup Caribbean sugar
* pinch salt
* 1 C milk
* 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
* 2 eggs, separated
* 6 oz dark, rich chocolate
* 1/3 C Santiago rum – don’t waste your time with Havana Club or Bacardi. (Some travel and willingness to smuggle home the good stuff may be required.)
* 1 C whipping cream
* 1 t vanilla extract
* 1 shortbread-crumb pie shell, ready to go


1. Combine 1/2 C of the sugar, salt, and milk (reserving 2 T for later).

2. In a small bowl, mix the remaining milk with the unflavored gelatin.

3. In yet another small bowl, beat the egg yolks until fluffy beyond your wildest dreams.

4. Heat and stir the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Let this cool to room temperature, and then blend in the eggs. (If the milk is too hot, you’ll poach the eggs. Take care.)

5. Stir and stir and stir. Heat the mixture until it thickens, and quickly — and with style and grace — add the gelatin and the wonderful dark pieces of chocolate.

6. Now for the best part: Chill. You know what I mean.

7. When the mixture is just starting to set, add the rum.

8. Chill for a bit longer. Stir and chill.  Chill and stir.  Don’t let time be a factor. Go by your sense of taste and texture.

9. Beat the egg whites until the form soft peaks then add the rest of the sugar.

10. Fold the egg whites into the rum-laced chocolate.

11. Whip up the cream and add the vanilla.

12. Whisper a blessing into your pie shell and patiently layer the chocolate and the cream, one after another.

13. Give it all one decisive swirl with your favorite spatula.

14. Think of me dancing in the Havana night, and enjoy your pie.