Fruit cocktail eggnog pie takes the festivities up a notch! Creamy, delicious, and full of holiday flavors, this retro recipe is made with eggnog and studded with refreshing fruit pieces throughout. It will be a hit at your parties this holiday season!
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What is fruit cocktail eggnog pie?
Fruit cocktail eggnog pie is a vintage holiday pie. The rich and creamy recipe was developed by Knox Gelatin and published in the 1950s.
The pie consists of a classic pie shell filled with a creamy, chiffon-like eggnog filling and studded with colorful fruit cocktail. When you slice the pie, the fruit pieces look like jewels, and the pie is truly so festive!
This is how Knox described their pie:
“Here’s a new role for eggnog, America’s favorite holiday beverage. Now it’s an ingredient in a wonderfully delicate pie – fruit cocktail eggnog pie.
This wholesome dessert is so smooth, so rich, so delicious. It’s sure to please. We predict it’ll become a traditional favorite at your house.”
The ingredients for fruit cocktail eggnog pie are pretty simple and things you probably have on hand. Especially during the holiday season when we all have a carton of eggnog in the fridge. Check the recipe card at the end of the post for exact measurements.
- Pie crust: The recipe calls for a 9-in deep-dish baked pie crust. You can buy a pre-made pie shell at a store or use a homemade one.
- Eggnog: Again, use storebought or homemade eggnog. Our condensed milk eggnog and vanilla eggnog work great here.
- Fruit cocktail is a delicious mix of sweetened, poached fruit and usually features peaches, pears, grapes, cherries, and pineapple.
- Heavy cream gives the filling an incredibly light, mousse-like texture. Make sure your cream is cold – it won’t whip properly otherwise.
- Sugar: The original recipe doesn’t have any sugar. However, I found the pie didn’t taste very sweet, so I added some granulated sugar.
- Gelatin is needed to set the filling.
- Vanilla extract + almond extract give the pie depth of flavor and extra sweetness.
- Salt: A touch of salt enhances the other flavors.
How to make fruit cocktail eggnog pie
Fruit salad eggnog pie tastes so good and looks so festive that you should try it at least once this holiday season! It just might become a new favorite in your house! Let’s go over the process step-by-step:
#1: Drain fruit cocktail
- Drain the fruit cocktail thoroughly through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Catch the syrup into a bowl and measure 1/2 cup / 120 ml / 4 fl oz of the syrup.
#2: Bloom gelatin
- Pour the syrup into a small bowl and stir in the gelatin. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes, until thickened.
#3: Cook eggnog
- Meanwhile, put the eggnog, sugar, and salt into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, and the mixture is hot (but not boiling).
#4: Dissolve gelatin
- Whisk the gelatin into the warm eggnog until dissolved and well incorporated.
- Next, stir in the vanilla extract and almond extract. Take the eggnog off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
#5: Whip cream
- Using a hand-held mixer and a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled eggnog mixture. Then fold in 1 1/2 cups well-drained fruit cocktail.
- Chill for 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens.
#6: Assemble + chill pie
- Heap the eggnog pie filling into the baked pie crust and smooth out the top.
- Refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours or overnight.
#7: Decorate + serve
- Garnish the top of the pie with the remaining fruit cocktail. Optionally, sprinkle with ground nutmeg or ground cinnamon.
- Cut the pie into 10 to 12 slices. For clean cuts, use a sharp knife and wipe the blade with a paper towel after each cut.
Tips for success
Working with gelatin for the first time can be challenging. Follow my tips and tricks for a smooth ride!
- Good-quality eggnog: If buying commercially prepared eggnog, make sure it’s one you enjoy drinking because the flavor will shine through.
- Let the gelatin bloom: As the gelatin soaks in the syrup, each granule absorbs liquid and becomes enlarged. This is called “blooming.” Blooming gelatin is important to ensure the eggnog filling has a smooth texture and sets properly. Simply sprinkle the gelatin onto the syrup and let it soak for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Don’t boil the eggnog: Gelatin loses its gelling qualities and will not set firmly if it is heated above 212°F / 100°C. Just warm the eggnog over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and begins to steam (but not boil or bubble).
Fruit cocktail eggnog pie is perfect for serving at your family’s holiday dinner or bringing to a potluck. Here are some ideas to dress the pie up and make it look festive:
- Wreath of fruit: Reserve some of the fruit cocktail and ring in a wreath of fruit around the top of your eggnog pie.
- Whipped cream: Use a large star tip to pipe swirls of whipped cream onto the pie.
- Dusting of spices: Sprinkle the pie with a pinch of ground nutmeg or cinnamon.
- Cookies: Garnish the pie with pie crust cookies or other holiday cookies.
- Eggnog: Swap classic eggnog for another flavor, such as chocolate eggnog, peppermint eggnog, or cinnamon eggnog.
- Fruit: Instead of fruit cocktail, use other canned or poached fruit like canned peaches, poached apples or pears, canned cherries, or pineapple.
- Spices: Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg to the filling for an extra cozy aroma.
- Boozy: Add a tablespoon of rum, bourbon, or brandy for an adult-only, boozy eggnog pie.
How to store eggnog pie with fruit cocktail
Store the pie in the fridge, and it will last 3 to 4 days. Be sure to place it in an airtight container to stay fresh and not take on any funky flavors from the fridge.
Make fruit cocktail eggnog pie ahead of time
The pie is fantastic because you can make it 1 to 2 days in advance and then just keep it in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve.
Can you freeze this pie?
No, pies that use gelatin don’t freeze well. Freezing and thawing breaks down gelatin, and the pie filling will become mushy and weep.
Reasons to love fruit cocktail eggnog pie
There are many types of eggnog pie, but here’s what I love about this one:
- Taste: Eggnog and fruit cocktail is a surprisingly delicious combination. The contrast between the cozy holiday flavors and refreshing fruit is simply divine.
- Texture: The eggnog pie filling has a wonderful silky, smooth consistency and fluffy, mousse-like texture that results in nice, clean slices.
- Ease: There’s nothing too complicated happening here. Follow my tips to handle the gelatin, and your eggnog pie will be a success!
- Time: The active prep time is only about 20 minutes. The pie needs a couple of hours in the fridge to firm up and become sliceable.
More ideas with eggnog
If you made this fruit cocktail eggnog pie and fell in love with eggnog all over again, try some of our other eggnog recipes! All of them feature eggnog as a star of the show and taste so festive!
More holiday pie recipes
Pies are the best part of the holidays! There are so many recipes out there that are all different and delicious! It’s worth the effort to try them all. Enjoy and happy holidays!