Buddy the Elf’s Spaghetti Pie

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on December 20, 2010

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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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Joan December 21, 2010 at 7:07 am

mmmmm sounds great! Can we have one Christmas morning..please?!


MyKidsEatSquid December 21, 2010 at 8:22 am

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 Barber December 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm

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?


JohnD December 21, 2010 at 9:07 am

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


Casey Barber December 21, 2010 at 3:55 pm

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


JJ December 21, 2010 at 9:12 am

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


Sheryl December 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Yum! This pie sounds absolutely amazing. But I’m afraid that if I make it, I’ll be tempted to eat the whole thing…


Dan December 21, 2010 at 11:46 pm

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.


sarah henry December 28, 2010 at 3:14 am

You are inspired and hilarious. Now I must see that movie again.


Sparkina January 1, 2011 at 9:54 am

This dish sounds divine. I think my mouth watered all over my keyboard.


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