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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bee Taylor's Nesselrode Pie


Several months ago, a friend and I were watching and old Andy Griffith episode. It was the one where an visiting lecturer, Hubert St. John, had dinner at the Taylor house and he was very smitten with Aunt Bee, she even made his favorite pie - something something Pie.

What did they say that pie was I asked my friend? She said I don't know, we rewound (thank you TiVo) and listened again, Hassleback Pie? No..rewind again..Hasslehoff Pie...no...rewind again...darn why didn't they have close captioning on this show? After many attempts to figure it out we finally decided they were saying "Nesselrode Pie" - what the heck was that?

Well, we gave up watching Andy Griffith and we hit the world wide web to figure out what Nesselrode Pie was (by the way, Aunt Bee reminded Mr. St. John of his dearly departed wife and her speciality had apparently been Nesselrode Pie)
As it turns out, Nesselrode Pie is kind of a long forgotten dessert. It apparently was quite popular in Bee Taylor's day but since the mid 60s kind of disappeared out of cook books and bakeries. My friend said maybe there was a reason for this.

None-the-less I tried to find some recipes and did find a few on line but they varied and I wanted Bee Taylor's recipe so I read they had it in the Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook and I almost ordered it right then and there. I also found out that her name was spelled "Bee" not "Bea" as I had always assumed (thinking it was short for Beatrice).

Well... I had just downsized all my cookbooks and only kept the ones I truly loved and used a lot so I was skeptical about getting a new one - especially for one recipe. I wanted to look through it before I bought it. I looked at a few stores but never found it and months went by. I would think about this pie from time to time but still never ordered the book and just was too reluntant to try an internet recipe not knowing which one was the "true" recipe.

Fast forward many months later and I find myself in a tiny gift store in Chimney Rock, North Carolina. Say... isn't North Carolina where Andy, Opie and Aunt Bee live? While looking at this and that, I stroll over to the cookbooks to look for one that might make a good gift for a friend when low and behold - angels start singing and a light shines down on a copy of Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook. I'm pratically jumping for joy. I look through it and thankfully there are a lot of good looking recipes in there - enough to warrant the purchase. I go to the index and look up the Nesselrode Pie - whoo hoo - there it is on Page 194 and I turn to it of course.

Imagine my shock and utter horror when I found out it is NOT Bee's recipe but instead it is Clara Edward's! Do you mean to tell me that Bee took the credit for that pie knowing full well it was Clara's recipe?! For shame, Bee, for shame! Maybe Bee was trying to get even since Clara won the pickle contest or had the prize winning rose. At any rate, I am finally making the long sought after pie.
Clara's (not Bee's) Nesselrode Pie

1 baked 9 inch pie shell
1 tsp. plain unflavored gelatin (which is 1 pkg of Knox geletin)
1/4 c. cold water
2 c. light cream
2 eggs, separated
1/4 c. sugar
6 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. rum (I used 1/2 tsp. rum flavoring)
Whipped cream (I used cool whip)
Chocolate shavings (I grated a Hershey bar on top)

Bake pie shell (either home made or I used a pre-made one and followed the directions for baking)

Soak gelatin in the cold water 5 minutes.

Separate the eggs, beat the yolks and add the cream and 1/4 cup sugar. Pour into a small saucepan and heat slowly until mixture is smooth and slightly thicken.

Remove from heat; add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Pour into a bowl and chill until it begins to thicken (it should thicken but not be totally set)

Meanwhile, beat egg whites to form stiff peaks then gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar and continue beating.
Fold into chilled custard mixture and add the rum (flavoring). Pour into baked pie shell; chill 4 to 5 hours until set.

Just before serving, top with whipped cream and shave a square of chocolate over the top.


* * *The verdict on this much anticipated pie is. . . . (drum roll please). . . .it is good ! Yeah! I would have been very sad had it not been. The rum flavor is really the key element - gives it that kind of mmmmm, what is that kind of taste. It is also quite a pretty pie to serve. I called my friend and told her I made it, she wants to come over and try a piece of course. Will I make it again? Yes, I will. Thanks for the recipe Aunt Bee, uh, I mean Clara.

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43 comments:

  1. Thanks for the great story. It brought back memories of Andy Griffith and the good old days when this pie actually existed in restaurants. I always thought a "nesselrode" was some kind of berry, but it turns out it was a person in the form of a Russian Count. Looking forward to testing this recipe. Hilde

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    1. It is true that is was named after a count, however, this recipe lacks the most important ingredients that has fallen by the wayside over the years...roasted chestnut puree. That is what makes a true Nesselrode pie.

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  2. I was just watching the sameshow you were talking about.. I was so curious that I had to google nesselrode pie right then and there.. i found your site..I think I just might have to try this pie..

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    1. I'm watching that episode now. Aunt Bees name is Beatrice but she wasn't called that since childhood, as she explained to the professor.

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  3. That is great !! So glad you saw the episode (don't you love Mayberry?) - I hope you make the pie, if you do, let me know how you like it. We thought it was pretty good.

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  4. The "real" recipe, from New York before WW II, had "Nesselro fruits" which were candied and included, of all things, candied cauliflower. They come in a jar and must be thoroughly drained before addding them to the filling.

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    1. Can you post your recipe? I'm interested in the candied cauliflower business. Thank you!

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  5. You are right about the candied fruit. I read about that when I was researching the recipe (befor I found this one) but I didn't know about the candied cauliflower - blech!

    I seem to recall that I even found a place where I could purchase a jar of Nesselro Fruits but decided tht didn't seem quite as appealing to me.

    Thanks for the comment.

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    1. My om made this pie for my dad in the 50's and it did have candied fruit, the same kind you use for fruit cake cut fine. It had rum, but I don't recall the chestnut puree that someone mentioned. My dad loved this and Non made it every Christmas. I think it was considered a holiday dessert in its day.

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  6. I was first introduced Nesslrode pie when I first started dating my husband. This pie was a Christmas custom until just 4 few years ago when my Mother in law passed away. This year I am hosting my husbands family and plan on making it for everyone. Unfortunatley I dont have her recipe and found it here. Thanks so much for sharing your story and recipe!

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  7. My grandmother baked this pie from her canadian living cookbook from the 70's, it was like an eggnog chiffon pie with candied fruits that were chopped up, that included candied chestnuts (in lieu of the cauliflower), orange peel, lemon peel, candied green angelica, etc). it had piped whipcream on top, and the crust was a regular pie crust, painted with dark melted chocolate and left to set.



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  8. Thank you to those that shared your stories about Nesselrode Pie. I would love to have had some "real" Nesselrode Pie instead of Clara's version (which is pretty good though).

    I love hearing the stories of everyone's memories of this pie.

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  9. I was having lunch with a friend a few weeks ago and she said remember the Nesselrode Pie from Custom Bakers on Long Beach Road on the way to Oceanside ?
    Yes I do it was so incredible and my dad would alway get a pie and a layer cake as well a Challah on Fridays for the weekend.
    That pie had candied fruits in the custard and it was a towering 5 inches high....
    Sadly Custom Bakers is gone and the closest thing to their layer cakes is Magnolia Bakery...
    Thanks for the recipe I will try it...

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  10. My stepmother used to make this pie when I was young and I am so glad she gave me a copy when I got married. I haven't made it in a long time and my version does not have any candied fruit, nuts, or cauliflower. I used to make it for company 60 years ago. I will make it again this Christmas. I always thought it was THE BEST!

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    1. Can you share the recipe?

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  11. the NY Times has a recipe for making your own Nesselrode filling and it's authentic-combination of candied fruits and 'marons glaces' which are candied chestnuts. The original recipes called for chestnuts and/or some kind of chestnut cream, but since chestnuts are expensive in the US, and hard to come by, people started using just the fruit.

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  12. I too always wondered what the pie was.
    I'd heard of it and now I think I'll try it....sounds good.
    By the by....in regards to Aunt Bea's name she says to the 'professor' in that episode when he calls her 'Beatrice' that she hasn't been called that since she was a child so we must presume Beatrice WAS her real name.
    I just happened to be watching the series on DVD and Googled nesslerode pie and here I am!
    As to the spelling it was in fact spelled Bee.
    Hope this adds some 'new' information.
    Cheers from Canada north

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  13. wylderose54@yahoo.comNovember 4, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Funny, my sister gave me recipe called "frosty
    Nesselrode mountain ". It has cream cheese (whipped), then you add, pineapple preserves, chocolate shavings, cherries, and chopped walnuts. Whip 1 cup of cream, add to mix, then freeze. It's really good !

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  14. I was married in January of 1960. During that year KNOX gelatin came out with a thin book titled "KNOX ON-CAMERA RECIPES"...anew guide to Gl-Cookery and showed a tv studio. People thought thwas what KNOX stood for. The Nesselrode Chiffon Pie was a big hit:used gelatin, sugar, eggs, milk,heavy cream,rum, cherries. It's still a favorite.Love all these stories!

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  15. I have been looking for this recipe forever. We had it our first Christmas in NY in 1959.It was bought from a bakery. My inlaws were well acquainted with this pie. Now I can make it for my husband. Thank you.

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  16. Oh this is just too funny. My thirty year old son and I were just watching the very same recipe of the Andy Griffith Show and being a pie nut, he asked me if I knew what Nesselrode pie was. And just like you, because I was ignorant as to what Nesselrode pie actually was, we went on our own google search and found your blog spot. We both laughed to til the tears ran down our faces!!! I will be making this famous pie very soon, although I would have been happier had the story ended differently and it ended as Aunt Bee's recipe. Thanks for the laugh this morning. - Tammy A from Yarnell, PA

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    1. Oh darn it. I hate it when I make mistakes online and can't fix it. Recipe in line one should be episode. Guess I was too busy laughing to realize I made the error.

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    2. That is fantastic! Glad to see I am not the only Mayberry Pie Nut ;-)

      I hope you one back after you have tried it and let me know what you thought.

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    3. This is the 30 year old pie nut Tammy A from Yarnell, PA mentioned. We just had to look up the recipe again and I saw that you wanted to know what we thought. Let me say that it is now one of my favorite pies. We made a couple last year for our family reunion. Nobody had heard of Nesselrode Pie but needless to say I had to give out the recipe to quite a few people and everybody liked it. This year I took it again and everybody ate it all again. Thanks for the recipe. Shane A. from Yarnell, PA

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  17. I just watched that episode and was on the hunt for the recipe! Thanks so much for this post and that it was from the Mayberry cookbook too! I will be trying it out very soon!
    ~mary~

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    1. Great ! I hope you give it a try - let me know how you like it.

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  18. Looks delicious! Wonder why it ever went out of fashion and why nobody makes it any more?

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  19. Disneypal, Thank you for all your leg work on finding this recipe. I loved hearing your story. I was watching the Andy Griffith Show this morning and that episode was on so I had to see if anyone had posted that recipe. There is where I found you! I thought Andy said" Nestel Rose Pie" but fortunately Google had the correct pronunciation. I will be making this today for hubbies dessert tonight. I love watching the old black & whites where sex & violence weren't "IN". The only violence on Andy Griffith is Barney with his empty revolver and 1 bullet in his pocket. Thanks again.

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    1. Great! Glad you found the recipe here. I enjoy the old B&W shows too - when the whole family could watch TV together and enjoy it.

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    2. Actually, that episode is in color.

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  20. It was a beautiful day in the late 50's and we had a day off from school. My friend, Loretta invited me to go with her and her mother to the Grand Opening of her father's fish restaurant in the city (NY). The restaurant was called, The Fish 'R In... and they served Nesslerode pie. I had never heard of it and was so thrilled by the wonderful taste of this miraculous dessert! Their's was just like Aunt Bee's...no fruit or chestnuts. I never had another slice of that pie but I never forgot it. Then I heard it mentioned on Andy Griffith and couldn't believe it when I found the recipe here. Thank you so much. Can't wait to introduce this pie to my grandchildren!

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    1. What a great story! Thanks for sharing. I hope you and your family enjoy the pie.

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  21. I'm here because I heard it mentioned on That Girl. Man, Marlo Thomas was a nice looking girl. One of my first crushes, along with Elizabeth Montgomery, Barbara Eden and Dawn Wells. Dang, I'm old.

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    1. I just saw this on That Girl too. Love Andy Griffith, but don't recall it from that show.

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    2. I saw it on That Girl as well and my Google search led me here. So curious to taste this pie!

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  22. Here is the next Aunt Bee Nesselrode pie Victim. If only they knew what they we're going to start 50 years ago with a show called Andy Griffith and the yet, not even invented, Google and the World Wide Web. The candied fruit version sounded excellent to me but I cannot bring myself to spend $40.00 on a jar of pie filling (that was the cost on every site I found it on). My husband hates candied fruit and Aunt Bee's/Clara's version is, going to be, just the ticket! I loved this site and reading all the comments, we too had just finished watching that episode of "Andy"!

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  23. As far as I can recall, my mother never made this in the 60s, so I don't think I've ever had it, although I remember hearing the name back then. I'm a life-long Andy Griffith Show fan, so when I saw the pie mentioned on the MeTV website today (http://metv.com/lists/10-popular-desserts-of-the-1960s-that-deserve-a-comeback), I immediately thought of that episode. (I have a couple of recipes in that Beck/Clark cookbook under my old name.) I don't think I'd like the dried fruit in the pie, however--sounds like a pie version of fruitcake.

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  24. We watch Andy Griffith show everyday.Love all the old receipe's on the program.

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  25. It's now 2016, I just watched the episode and here I am! :D
    This is great!

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  26. I'm watching the Andy episode right now! She tells him get name is Beatrice and hasn't been called that since she was a little girl.

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  27. I was researching the Blue Moon ice cream I used to get as a kid in Bear Lake MI. Turns out that no one can describe the flavor for sure but one person said his or her mother indicated it was "nesslerod". Not having a clue as to what that was another search led me here. Does anyone know if the flavor is one in the same?

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  28. I hit the wrong channel buttons, stuck with an episode of the Three Stooges (Calling all Curs) and saw a background sign where I could make out dessert names..."NESSEL...PIE" is what I could read. I looked up the rest here, as it piqued my interest as if I had found a fossil of life from the early 20th C... and here we are! THANKS and I will venture into making this the 21st C hit for the West Coast and New Manhattan (SF).

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