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Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

Pie Therapy

I find making pie very soothing.  There’s something really comforting about rolling out a crust and filling it with something delicious.  I’m going through a sort of rough patch emotionally this week, so on Monday I had a little pie therapy.  I made a dozen pumpkin pies-in-jars, the start of Christmas and hostess gifts for the holiday season.  And then I made a pecan pie, and an eggnog pie.  No, there is no eggnog pie recipe in the Betty Crocker cookbook, but as I was pulling eggs out of the fridge for the pumpkin pie, I realized that we have a big jug of eggnog hanging around in there.  So I thought, “Hmmm, I wonder if you could make a pie with that?”

Five seconds of search the net, and there it was, an eggnog pie recipe. OMG delicious, seriously!  J loved it too, and he doesn’t even like eggnog.  In fact, I invited my friend Anne over for some pie the next day, and she also said it good.

Eggnog Pie

But here’s my beef with this recipe: it made too much filling for the 9-inch pie pan I used.  And it was extraordinarily runny, and took an extra 25 minutes to cook up longer than the recipe said it would.  But the basic concept and flavor were good.  Next time, I’d use only a cup and a half of eggnog instead of two cups, and I’d add in some cinnamon and nutmeg.  I might also add in some spiced rum, because we love the Captain in our house.

Now that all the pies are done, I feel pretty good.  Almost good enough to face the giant pile of dishes in the sink.  Almost.

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I’ve officially had my first pie crust flop, and of course, it happened on Thanksgiving. I made my Thanksgiving pies over at my mother’s house, where we were having dinner. She had all the crust ingredients I needed: flour, butter-flavored Crisco, salt, water. I mixed them together like I always do, and then attempted to roll out my crusts, but they completely fell apart. It was a total disaster. After two failed attempts at rolling it out, I ended up just mushing the crust for the pumpkin pie into the pan, like I do for a pie in a jar. Only, because it had been rolled out twice already, when it cooked up, it was beyond tough and into the hard-as-a-rock category.

With the apple pie’s crust, I knew from trying to roll out the one for the pumpkin pie that something was horribly wrong, so I added a bunch more shortening and a little more water, hoping that would make it hold together. It still didn’t, so I basically had chunks of crust scattered across the top of the apple pie, instead of a top crust. No, I did not take pictures. What? You got a problem with that? Then make your own ugly pies and start your own pie blog.

Of course, the only people at Thanksgiving were my family (my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, and my parents, and of course J and our son), and they all said how delicious the pies were. My family members are really nice people. Fortunately, I’d brought all my own fillings, so the fillings turned out great.

The next morning, I got back up on the horse again, because I needed to make that blackberry and cream pie for J’s extended family. His cousin Rachel lives nearby, and her parents and sister and niece were in town for the holiday. Rachel’s parents live on a farm, so pie is something they make and eat all the time. I knew I needed to at least not embarrass myself, and hopefully make a pie that they really enjoyed. So I mixed my flour and my salt and my butter-flavored Crisco, and added the water from my sink, and held my breath as I rolled it out…and it was fine. Perfectly normal crust, just like I always make. This was the point where breathed a sigh of relief.

In hindsight, here’s what I think went wrong. I think the flour at my mother’s house wasn’t fresh enough, and I think my dad shouldn’t have kept the Crisco in the fridge. Instead, I should have brought my own flour and Crisco.  I mean, I always say pie crust is easy, and it is, if you have the right ingredients.  If you don’t, though, it’s obviously a complete mess.

Anyway, finishing the story: the blackberry and cream pie turned out awesome, and everyone raved about how good it was. Rachel’s mom said she’d never seen a pie like it, and I said, “Betty Crocker 1950’s cookbook, page 314!” She’s going to look it up.  I also brought them some pies in jars–an assortment of the different flavors I’ve attempted so far, including one blackberry and cream one. J’s sister Mandy had told them about pie in a jar and they were fascinated by the concept and curious to try them out.

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It’s almost Thanksgiving, and I bet you’re wondering, what is the Pieist planning to make this year? Well, it’ll be two tried-and-true classics for me: pumpkin, and apple. I have a big bag of granny smiths in the fridge, and of course J has been hoarding canned pumpkin ever since he learned that there is a shortage. I’ll be taking my pie-making supplies over to my mother’s house and hoping to enlist some family members to help me peel and core the apples, which is my least favorite part of the job.

But what’s more exciting is what I’ll be making for the day after Thanksgiving, when we’re visiting J’s cousin and her family. It’ll be blackberry and cream, which is now J’s favorite and one that he regularly requests. Thank goodness he picked all those blackberries last summer and we have a big bag of frozen ones in the freezer. I use the recipe on Page 314. Something about the cream with the tart berries makes for a really good flavor combination.

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Last weekend, I decided to make pumpkin pie-in-a-jar.  I used the standard 2-crust pie crust recipe on Page 299, and the pumpkin pie recipe from Page 312.  I used a can of organic pumpkin, and I cut the amount of milk down to just a cup because I was using 2% instead of whole milk, and the last time I made that recipe, even with whole milk, it was pretty runny.

Pumpkin Pie in a Jar before cooking

Holy cow, it was delicious!  And remember, I don’t even like pie.  J loved it too and said there was just the right amount of spice in the pie, and the crust was perfectly flaky.  The crust tasted really buttery–could it be the fresh container of butter-flavored Crisco?  Or was it the butter-flavored Pam I used to spray the jar before lining it with dough?  Either way, YUM. So I ended up making 7 of them.

Right after coming out of the oven

Out of the jar

 

Cut in half

It was so much better than the two-crust pies I’d made that I decided to thaw out the apple ones I made last week and take off their crusts, and turn them into French Apple, a la the recipe at the bottom of Page 302.  I always thought that style of pie was Dutch Apple, but Betty calls it French Apple, so there you have it.

French Apple Pie In A Jar

The test one came out just a wee bit dark brown on the top, and alas, despite adding more apple filling, it still sank in and ended up looking like there was hardly any filling in there at all.  I think the problem could be that I cut the apples too small–perhaps larger chunks of apple would stay intact?  Because basically inside the pie was like apple sauce.  Tasty, though.  To avoid the browning problem, next time I will cook it for 45 minutes instead of an hour.  I cooked both of them at 400 degrees.  The pumpkin one was perfect when cooked for an hour.

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