Nesselrode Chiffon Pie

Preparation info

  • Makes


    9 Inch Pie

Appears in

Everything on the Table

Everything on the Table

By Colman Andrews

Published 1992

  • About

Count Karl Robert Nesselrode (1780-1862) was a Russian diplomat famous for having negotiated the Treaty of Paris after the Crimean War. I’m not sure what his connection with chestnuts was, but in classical French cooking, anything with his name on it involves chestnut purée. This decidedly American recipe is innocent of chestnuts, but otherwise seems to be based on a French dessert called pouding Nesselrode or Nesselrode pudding, which includes, besides the purée, candied orange peel, candied cherries, raisins, and currants. It is also one of the silliest desserts I can imagine, and I love it.

In my mother’s scrapbook, the recipe appears in an ad for Knox Gelatine, headlined “America’s New Favorite—A real ‘dress-up’ dessert.” When I wrote to Knox, now part of the Thomas J. Lipton company, to ask for permission to use the recipe, the manager of the Lipton test kitchens sent me another version of the formula, with a note that it had been developed in 1955. I would bet that the recipe in my mother’s book is at least a few years older than that The following is basically “America’s new favorite,” with a few particulars borrowed from the 1955 recipe.


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 envelope Knox Unflavored Gelatine
  • 3 tablespoons rum or sherry*
  • 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon chopped maraschino cherries
  • 1 baked 9″ pie shell
  • ¼ cup shaved milk chocolate


Combine milk and cream in a mixing bowl, then lightly beat in egg yolks,¼ cup sugar, and salt.

Transfer mixture to a bain-marie and cook, stirring constantly, until it coats spoon (about 7 minutes). Stir in gelatin and continue stirring until it dissolves completely, about 5 minutes.

Allow mixture to cool, then stir in rum or sherry. Chill until it begins to thicken.

Add remaining sugar to egg whites and beat until stiff, then fold egg whites and cherries into thickened custard.

Fill pie shell with mixture and sprinkle with shaved chocolate. Chill before serving.

* The recipe in my mother’s scrapbook offers the alternative of 2 teaspoons of rum flavoring. Over my dead body.