I was picking up around the house getting ready for Dale’s visit and came across ‘Traveler’s Choice – a Treasury of America’s Regional Restaurants & Their Favorite Recipes’ – an Allstate Motor Club cookbook my dad must have picked up back in 1981. Flipping through the book, I came across this recipe, and considering how we all like our wine, thought it would be a fitting end to a meal or twelve. The recipe makes 2 standard pies, but I went rogue and poured the entire concoction into one spring form pan. I think it makes for a great presentation, but the height allows all the raisins to make their way to the bottom. By the way – trust this recipe – I was a bit skeptical about the raisins, but they are a wonderful addition.
The flavor is light and refreshing – it would be a great dessert on a hot summer day after a barbecue. Dale, Donna and I all thought it quite nice; Rich, not so much. He didn’t DIS-like it, just would rather invest his dessert quota in some other direction – we had a dessert bar going tonight – strawberry cake from Jewel, almond cookies from Tenuta’s in Kenosha, the wine pie, and some fudge.
The recipe is credited to a restaurant in Marshall, MI named Win Schuler’s, which I believe is still in business. They are also noted for their cheese spreads and meatballs. I found one cheese spread recipe online and made it as one of the munchies for Dale’s visit. It is quite nice.
Aside from making one giant one instead of two standard pies, the only other real change I made to the recipe as printed was that I grated some lemon zest into the cream as I was whipping it. I could taste it in the finished piece as a bright ‘highlight’ to the flavor. Next time I make this I may use more; or try orange zest.
•2 prepared graham cracker crusts (I made my own and pressed the crust into the bottom of a standard spring form pan)
•1 large vanilla instant pudding mix
•1/2 cup water
•1/2 cup dry vermouth
•2-1/2 cups milk – we only had fat-free milk in the house, so that’s what I used – 2% or whole milk would probably make this much richer – not a bad thing – but I didn’t mind the final result with the fat-free
•1 cup sweet vermouth
•1 pint whipping cream
•2-1/2 oz chopped nuts – I used almonds
•1 lb raisins
Soak the raisins overnight in 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sweet vermouth, then drain.
Prepare pudding using the dry vermouth and milk, whisk and set aside or in the fridge to set a bit.
Whip the cream (here’s where I added the lemon zest) and fold into the pudding with the nuts and raisins.
Pour into two prepared graham cracker shells and freeze until firm.
To serve, thaw slightly and decorate with additional whipped cream. I also added a few strawberries on top.
If you go my route and make one deep dish dessert, make your graham cracker crust and pat into the bottom of the spring form pan. When you’re slicing it – running a big, sharp knife under hot water definitely helps. Rich and I had one slice, Dale and Donna about 1 and a half each; and I have 3/4 of the pie wrapped up and back in the freezer for use another day.