Buddy the Elf’s Spaghetti Pie

Raise your hand if you can quote at least half the lines from the movie Elf by heart. It might be a generational thing, I know. Some gravitate toward the golden oldies like White Christmas or It’s a Wonderful Life, while others prefer the Eighties classics Scrooged or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

In our house, though Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean and The Muppet Christmas Carol are must-see movies on December 24, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without Leon Redbone as a singing snowman and Zooey Deschanel’s terrible blond dye job. (Seriously, why was that required? What’s wrong with brunettes?)

elf, movie, will ferrell
Elf is undisputably a Christmas movie, but my love of the film isn’t restricted to the holiday season. I can find a way to insert a quote or two into almost any situation. Eating a burger? It’s always appropriate to tell your dining companion that they “smell like beef and cheese.” Walking across Fifth Avenue? Remind your husband that “the yellow ones don’t stop.” And any breakfast opportunity is a good time to mention an elf’s four main food groups: “candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.”

Speaking of those four food groups, this year, upon my eleventeenth viewing of the movie, I realized it would be possible to create a dish inspired by Buddy the Elf’s favorite meal: spaghetti with maple syrup. Remembering that Danielle’s spaghetti pie was initially a Sicilian-flavored dish with raisins and saffron, I knew I could tweak it into something that would not only be edible but actually craveable too.

This spaghetti pie ends up as a textural cross between a kugel and a strata, but without the dense, stomach-overloaded feeling of a casserole. With a custard base adapted from Bon Appetit‘s apple cider and maple cream tart (made this year for Thanksgiving and highly recommended), the sweet slices make an unexpected brunch side for Christmas morning.

Or, if you’re a cold-spaghetti-for-breakfast kind of person, it’s also not bad straight from the fridge the next day. I speak from experience there.

spaghetti pie

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  1. says

    Congratulations! World’s best cup of coffee!

    That is not only my favorite Christmas movie, but possibly my all-time favorite movie. I also find a way to work the four foods groups into any exchange that includes the word “candy.”

    This weekend I overheard someone saying, “Make work your favorite,” and burst out laughing. Great adaptation!

  2. Karen@Mignardise says

    We love Elf too! Our favorite line comes from the mailroom scene… ” sucky!”
    I’m putting a link to this post on the Mignardise Facebook page. Happy holidays Casey!

  3. says

    What a cool idea. I love that movie. Here’s a thought (I know it’s not spaghetti) but wouldn’t spaetzle be great as the pasta? You have me thinking of adding maple syrup to my Christmas rice pudding too.

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      MKES, I add maple syrup to my rice pudding all the time – and I bet spaetzle would be delicious, too. Maybe it’s edging closer to kugel that way, but is that really a bad thing?

  4. JohnD says

    Thought you’d like to know that Elf’s director Jon Favreau just posted on Twitter about your recipe :)

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Ha! I just promised him a free pie the next time he’s in the area. Eating is believing, people.

  5. JJ says

    That’s how I found this page..Jon Favreau. Love him and this recipe sounds intriguing. I may have to try it.

  6. says

    Also, I should’ve mentioned yesterday, when they sent out the press kit for this movie — before it came out and we knew about Buddy’s eating habits — they sent a box of spaghetti and a bottle of maple syrup. Made much more sense after watching it.