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 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.
Buddy the Elf’s Spaghetti Pie
Total time:45 minutes
Serves 6-8 people or 1 hungry elf
- 1/2 pound spaghetti (we at GFS are partial to Barilla’s spaghetti rigati)
- 1/2 cup grade B maple syrup
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 large eggs
- 3 swipes of fresh nutmeg across a grater
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain and reserve.
In a large bowl, whisk the maple syrup, cream, eggs, and nutmeg until well blended. Grease a cast iron or oven-safe nonstick skillet and add the spaghetti in an even layer. Pour the eggy custard base over the spaghetti.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the custard has set and the top of the pie is just starting to brown. Optional: after removing from the oven, top with candy, candy canes, candy corn, or more syrup, and serve alongside the world’s best cup of coffee. (I’ll stop quoting the movie now, I promise.)