Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Pies

Pie, pie, who doesn't love pie?!? For Thanksgiving this year, my husband's family requested two classics: pumpkin pie and apple pie. And of course I obliged!

Executing the pies was made easier by the fact that I still had 3 pieces of pie dough left in the freezer, just perfect for the single pumpkin pie crust and the double apple pie crust. I just took them out of the freezer on Tuesday night and let them thaw in the fridge. On Wednesday, I rolled out the bottom crusts and placed them in the pie tins (I love my Williams-Sonoma pie tins, by the way...they work perfectly for me). After covering them in plastic, back in the fridge they went. Normally, a pie crust only needs about 30 minutes to relax in the fridge, but I knew I would be pressed for time on Wednesday so I opted to roll out the dough and let it rest over night.

I came home after noon on Wednesday to really get into the thick of my Thanksgiving cooking. These two pies were high on my priority list. The pumpkin pie couldn't be simpler...just some pumpkin, eggs, spices and condensed milk and voila! Into the oven it went without an issue. I placed the pie on a cookie sheet since the tins have holes to allow for air circulation so that I wouldn't end up with some drippings in the bottom of my oven. Oven cleaning is never a fun job!

I went to work with the apples. I did 50:50 of Braeburn and Granny Smith apples, a combination that complemented each other in the final pie. Using my handy dandy vegetable peeler and one of those 8 section apple slicers, I got through all the apples in no time. I just sliced all the apples sections into two more slices so they wouldn't be too thick. I always worry that the apples will be all brown before I finish, but that wasn't the case at all.

The recipe I used called for caramelizing the apple juice after they had macerated in the lemon juice and sugar. This was to be done in the microwave. Even though I followed the directions, the caramel did not seem appetizing so I didn't bother with it. I would rather not ruin all the beautiful apple slices that I already had.

The monstrous mound of apples went into the bottom crust. I carefully rolled out and added the top crust. The mound had to have been more than 6 inches above the rim of the pie! All the apples cooked down just as they should and this was the best tasting apple pie I have made so far. The looks of the crust are getting better each time; it always feels good to feel that sort of progress and pride in my work!

Even though both pies looked delicious, I had to wait until Thursday to cut into them. All the reviews were highly positive and I look forward to more pie adventures in the future!

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