Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So many PIES!

‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving, when all through the house
Every creature was stirring, even the mouse!
The pies were cooling by the oven with care,
In hopes that Turkey Day soon would be there!

Okay, so the rhyme is better when written for Christmas, but you get the idea. It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I baked 3 of 4 pies for tomorrow’s delicious feast (Apple is a day-of pie). This year, we have a much smaller Thanksgiving guest list than usual, but we haven’t lessened the number of pies we’re baking. Actually, I think we've increased it...haha.

Just for some background, we’ve got my parents, my two older sisters, my brother-in-law, my aunt and uncle, my two little cousins, my grandma, and I home for this holiday. Thanksgiving has always, always been hosted by my mom and I think that’s what makes it my favorite holiday. My mom and my oldest sister Erin are in charge of the menu, which stays pretty consistent from year to year. Some years they get fancy with chestnuts and pancetta in the stuffing or adding brussel sprouts as another vegetable. But, there are also always so many traditions to be had, like mashed potatoes, rolls, gravy, and PIE.

(By the way, as I write this, my sisters are discussing the possibility of using "other" (read: healthier) recipes next year. And Lauren just declared that "Thanksgiving is not a time for Cooking Light." The butter, sugar, and chocolate in these pies just breathed a huge sigh of relief.)

Even though I consider myself the baker in the family, I’ve never been the one to make the pies. I usually leave it to Erin since she’s done it for so many years. But with this blog, I figured I needed to step up and take some responsibility for baked goods this holiday. So, today I made 3 pies: Pecan, Pumpkin, and Triple Chocolate Pumpkin. Tomorrow, I’ll make a traditional Apple Pie and the quartet of pies will be complete (and hopefully find some time to blog about it too).

The Pecan Pie recipe is adapted from Joy of Cooking (my family doubles the original amount of pecans), the Pumpkin Pie comes from the back of the Libby’s can of pumpkin, and the Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie is courtesy of Martha Stewart.

Pecan Pie
1 pie crust
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup melted butter
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups pecan halves
1  teaspoon vanilla or 1 tablespoon rum

Preheat oven to 450° F.  Bake piecrust with pie weights for 5 to 7 minutes. Allow it to cool.

Crust for the Pecan Pie with pie weights.

Reduce oven heat to 375° F.  Combine eggs, sugar, melted butter, and light corn syrup.  Beat thoroughly.  Stir in pecans and vanilla (or rum…I used Myer’s Original Dark Rum).  Fill the shell. 
Pecan Pie filled and ready for the oven!

Bake pie for 40 to 50 minutes at 375° F or until a knife inserted in the filling comes out clean.  Serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream.
Pecan Pie Perfection!!!

Pumpkin Pie
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell

Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.

Pumkpin Pie ready for the oven!

Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° 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.

Grab the vanilla ice cream and dig into this Pumpkin Pie!

Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
Graham Cracker Crust:
2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (about 12 whole crackers/ 48 of the little rectangles)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61 percent cacao), finely chopped

6 ounces semisweet chocolate (preferably 55 percent cacao), chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves

1 ounce milk chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugars, salt, and cinnamon in bowl. Firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of a deep, 9 1/2-inch pie dish. Bake until firm, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, and sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over bottom of crust. Return to oven to melt chocolate, about 1 minute. Spread chocolate in a thin layer on bottom and up sides. Let cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F.

Who needs filling when this is the crust???

In a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt semisweet chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.

Melted chocolate for the filling.

Mix pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves in a medium bowl.

The pumpkin mixture for the filling.

Whisk 1/3 pumpkin mixture into chocolate mixture. Whisk in remaining pumpkin mixture until completely incorporated.
Hooray for incorporation! :)

Transfer pie dish to a rimmed baking sheet, and pour pumpkin mixture into crust. Bake until center is set but still a bit wobbly, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pie dish on a wire rack.
Just out of the's only double chocolate right now. :)

Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours (preferably overnight). Before serving, drizzle melted milk chocolate on top. Serve immediately.

The fruits of today's labor, from left to right:
Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie

Now, depending on the size of your pie pans, you might end up with extra filling. Personally, I had extra pumpkin pie filling and triple chocolate pumpkin filling. So, although we will have 4 full pies for just 11 people on Thanksgiving, my sister Erin and I decided to make little mini pies. I mean, heaven forbid anything go to waste on Thanksgiving! We took 2 extra pie crusts that my mom had bought and used them to make 6 mini pie crusts.

Erin cutting the pie crust to fit each little pan.
Then we used the extra fillings to make 3 mini Pumpkin Pies and 3 mini Triple Chocolate Pumpkin pies.

So cute and so ready for the oven.

We baked them at 350° for about 40-45 minutes.

I might be more excited for these little pies than the full size ones I made!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving that is filled with family, friends, and delicious feast. If you still need pies, I recommend any and all of these!!! They were all pretty easy to make and make for the start of a great tradition! Thanks for reading and enjoy this holiday!

<3 Buttercup

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