This week is Negroni Week, a week in early June started as a celebration of a classic cocktail, the Negroni, and to raise money for chaitable causes. The week is presented by Imbibe Magazine and Campari and you’ll probably find lots of bars and restaurants in your area participating, as $1 from every Negroni sold this week (at participating venues – and there are over 6000 bars, restaurants and retailers) will go to charity. I do enjoy a Negroni from time to time and, when I heard that there was a Negroni pie recipe out there, I couldn’t resist giving it a try and this week seemed like the perfect timing.
The Negroni is a cocktail that is traditionally made with equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. It’s herbacious, with a hint of sweetness and a strong bitter orange flavor that might start out as a surprise when you sip your first one, but quickly becomes addictive as you become more familiar with the cocktail. This pie uses those three ingredients and bakes them into a creamy sweetened condensed milk base that is similar to the one used for key lime pies. The pie is silky smooth and captures some of the herbaciousness of the gin, as well as that unique bitter orange flavor of the Campari. I added some orange zest to amp up the orange flavor a bit, which also gave the pie a nice orange aroma as it baked.
The food coloring is not optional in this pie if you want your dessert to capture the color of the Campari that went into it. Unlike the cocktail that inspired it, the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks that go into this pie will turn it an amber color without the food coloring. The flavor will still be the same, but the color really sells it. I used a gel food coloring. If you’re using a liquid food coloring, you might find that you need to add a little extra.
Much like the cocktail that inspired it, this pie is best after it has been chilled. It also slices more easily when cold than it does at room temperature. I recommend topping each slice with a small dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream just before serving. The whipped cream will add a light sweetness to each bite without overwhelming the orange flavor of the pie.
(adapted from a Butter & Scotch recipe)
1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
2 oz London dry-style gin
2 oz Campari
2 oz sweet vermouth
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red food coloring
2 tsp orange zest
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients until very smooth. Pour into prepared pie crust.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until pie only jiggles slightly when the pie crust is jiggled. Allow pie to cool completely, then refrigerate until well-chilled, about 2-3 hours.
Slice and serve. If desired, top each piece with a dollop of whipped cream.
Makes 1 pie.