God Bless America

It’s time for Apple pie! Personally, I think only pumpkin oriented desserts are Thanksgiving appropriate, but my husband loves apple pie so I decided to make one for him. It is, after all, the American dessert and Thanksgiving is our quintessential America holiday (except doesn’t Canada have one too?).

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I used the recipe from Smitten Kitchen – it’s a doozy and a lot of work. As usual, because I’m a lawyer and wary of copyright infringement accusations, I’ll mostly just summarize the process and let you link back to the source for real instructions.

Dough Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached flour
salt
sugar
shortening (not a fan – but every crust recipe I found used it so I just did it
unsalted butter, chilled,
ice water

In a food processor combine dry ingredients (I only have a tiny food processor so I used a pastry blender instead) – then add shortening and continue processing (or blending, in my case). Add butter, cut in to crumb consistency. In medium bowl, sprinkle w/ cold water, fold in until sticks together as a dough. Divide into two pieces, flatten, cool before rolling out.

Roll dough to 12-inch disk. Transfer to pie plate and press in. Refrigerate.

At this point, the source didn’t include the specific lattice top instructions, and I got irritated with most of the web tutorials so I pretty much played it by ear. It’s not rocket science. I cut it into many strips, laid one across the top, another perpendicular, then alternated adding strips in each direction and weaving under/over the previously placed strips as necessary.

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Only thing I’d do differently is more strips and closer together.

Filling –

3 Granny Smith apples (about 3 medium)
4 McIntosh apples (I couldn’t find these so I used honeycrisp)
1 lemon (for juice/zest)
sugar
flour
salt
cinnamon (don’t even think of puttin’ that stuff in…actually, do – I’m quoting song lyrics…just to be clear)
nutmeg (sweet, sweet NUTMEG)
allspice (you know it leaves me cold as ice)
1 egg white

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat rimmed baking sheet and oven to 500°F.

Peel, core and cut apples into quarters then slices,  toss with lemon juice and zest. Mix part of sugar, flour, salt and spices. Toss with apples. Put into pie shell. Put on the lattice top per my prior note. Lower oven to 425, put pie on heated baking sheet and bake about 25 mins, rotate and reduce to 375, bake another 30-35 minutes (until bubbling and crust is golden brown).

Cool on wire rack at least 4 hours. Place next to your passable pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving!

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Peppermint Brownie Pie

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This pie was for the same party as the cupcakes in my prior post. It was also my very first time making my own pie crust instead of buying a frozen one – surprisingly easy!

Recipe came from Midwest Living (I actually bought one of these at the grocery store last week, putting the final nail in the coffin of my hopes of ever being young or hip again). Link back to original recipe here.

Ingredients (for pie crust)

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 4 – 5 tablespoons cold water

Directions

  1. Stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon cold water at a time, until all the dough is moistened (4 to 5 tablespoons cold water total). Form dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough.

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Shortening grosses me out. That there, my friends, is a cup o’ lard. Yummy.

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If you’re like me, and reading the above instructions, you get to “flatten with hands” and think you’re done. Color me confused when there’s no way that was thin enough to be big enough to cover the pie dish…lucky me jumped back to the filling recipe (appears before the crust in the original recipe site) and found that it THEN instructed to roll it out and put it in pie dish.

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I did this all at once, then covered and put my pie crust in the fridge overnight. I pressed the edges with a fork to make it pretty.

Ingredients for Filling

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  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • Pastry for 9-inch single crust pie (see above)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup mint-flavored semisweet chocolate pieces (couldn’t find them so we just used chocolate chips and mint extract. The recipe for this, not on the main page but on the lead in page, said to use 1/2 tsp mint extract. I couldn’t find that when on my iphone though so ended up finding a similar recipe which called for only 1/8 tsp so my brownie pie wasn’t very minty. Hubby thought it was perfect though as he usually thinks I over-mint things. See e.g. Mint brownies, Peppermint buttercream).
  • Whipped cream (store bought – seriously).

Directions

  1. For filling: In a heavy small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently. Cool 20 minutes.

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  1. Meanwhile, prepare and roll out pastry. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry; trim and crimp edge.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate mixture and chocolate pieces. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate.

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  1. Bake pie in a 350 degree F oven about 55 minutes or until filling is evenly puffed and edges of filling are slightly cracked. Cool on wire rack (center will sink slightly as pie cools). Serve with whipped cream. Makes 10 servings.

Toll House Pie!

This has been one of my favorites so far! I’ve had it pinned on pinterest a while and wanted to make something delicious on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s pretty much like a tollhouse cookie but not fully baked and all gooey. AWESOME.

Nestle recipe, courtesy of this blog:

Toll House Pie
From Nestle
Makes one nine-inch pie
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts [I left out the nuts because I don’t like nuts in my cookies and figured I wouldn’t here either]
Sweetened whipped cream and vanilla ice cream, optional [we used fat free vanilla ice cream]
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Ready the pie shell (if using a frozen pie shell, you do not need to thaw it).
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs on high until light and fluffy. [I didn’t know what that meant, but this looked right to me]:
Add the flour, sugar, and brown sugar and mix well. Beat in butter and vanilla.
Add the chocolate chips [and walnuts].
[This was when I sampled the mixture and discovered it was a very different consistency than actual cookie dough – much lighter and fluffier and not nearly as good. It was also not as salty (no salt added) which is one of my favorite things about cookie dough.]
Spoon the dough into the pie shell…
and bake for approximately 1 hour until a toothpick inserted halfway from the edge and the center comes out clean (at the suggestion of the blog from which I found the recipe, I added a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips to the top of the pie halfway through baking, since most of the chocolate chips apparently sink during baking).
Cool on a wire rack and serve warm with whipped cream and ice cream.
This pie can be made ahead. When to serve, rewarm in a 300 degree F oven for 20 minutes.
It was DELICIOUS! The hubby said it hadn’t sounded that great to him in theory but he loved it too, and our little man couldn’t get enough. DEFINITELY making this one again.
Oh, and I didn’t screw anything up!

Pumpkin Pie

Classic. Simple. No way I can mess this up…and that ALMOST happened.

Used the classic Libby’s recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk (does anyone else hate when a recipe calls for something brand specific where the brand has no bearing on the recipe? Yeah, me too.)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)

I like this recipe because it takes about 10 minutes max (pre-oven). Short enough that I can make it while my little monster eats breakfast in his highchair (which is what I did both times I made it).

I used my Ipod to refer back to the recipe because it was easier than my usual method of bringing the laptop to the kitchen and took up less counter space:

A pretty pic of my dry ingredients, pre-mixing…

Mixing the pumpkin with the liquid ingredients…

I had a game plan to avoid screwups since I had done a previous test run. See, the first time I made this, I overfilled the pie crust and in my attempt to transfer it to the oven spilled everywhere (with such a mess that I didn’t even think to photograph, the hubs and I were just trying to mop up pumpkin slop from all over the kitchen.

SO…this time, the crust went into the oven FIRST to avoid a messy transfer.

But we know what happens to the best laid plans:

The pie still turned out ok though!

Those weird blemishes were gone by the next day (Thanksgiving) when I served it too. Not the prettiest due to the burnt crust from where the filling spilled, but overall not bad, and it was delicious, not a sliver left!