AUNT TOOTS’S OYSTERS AND ALMONDS PIETHIS RECIPE HAS BEEN IN MY GEORGIA–NORTH Carolina family for at least three generations. As a child, nothing thrilled me more than to learn that my great aunt Toots would be serving this pie at one of her Sunday afternoon “suppers.” Be warned: even though the pie bakes at a slow 300°F, you must watch it carefully after about 25 minutes to make sure it remains moist and the oysters don’t overcook.
1⁄2 cup slivered almonds
2 cups crushed soda crackers
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
1 quart freshly shucked oysters, liquor reserved
1⁄2 cup dry sherry
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) butter, cut into small
1 cup half-and-half Preheat the oven to 300°F.
To toast the almonds, spread them evenly on a baking sheet and bake, stirring several times, till slightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside. In a bowl, combine the crackers, nutmeg, and salt and cayenne pepper and mix well. In another bowl, mix together the reserved oyster liquor, sherry, and Worcestershire.
In a 2-quart baking dish, arrange alternate layers of seasoned crackers and oysters,
drizzling the oyster liquor mixture over each layer, dotting each layer with pieces of butter, and finishing with a layer of crackers dotted with butter.
Pour the half-and-half around the sides and bake 20 minutes. Scatter the reserved almonds over the top, baste with a little of the cooking liquid, and bake till the top is nicely browned but the pie is still moist, about 10 minutes longer. Serve hot.