Happy Thanskgiving

This year's pies, added after Thanksgiving.

I am so excited I can’t wait to get back into the kitchen today. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. What is not to love about a day that is solely devoted to food and sharing time with the people that you love?

Thanksgiving is one of the few meals that we do completely traditionally. No fancy variations, just the same recipes that my mom made and my grandmother before her. We will be eating: Turkey, butternut squash puree, green beans with a touch of lemon juice and olive oil, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh and cooked cranberry sauce, and gravy. Before the meal we will have a “shrub” (whatever that is) of a small scoop of pineapple sorbet in cranberry juice. I think it’s very retro, but it is part of the tradition. When we were little kids we were served it in fancy champagne flutes, and so it has an association of grown-up elegance that makes it one of my favorite parts of the meal.

For dessert there will be home-made pumpkin, pecan, and dutch apple pies. My sister and I are getting together to make the pies in an hour. We are only allowed to make the pies if we swear to absolutely make them according to my mothers recipes.

And I have to say that, as much as I like tinkering and making adventurous food, our traditional thanksgiving is, well, tradition. It seems to me that making the same recipes year after year is very much in the spirit of the holidays.

Also, all gourmet cooking and fuss aside, my mom’s pies just taste great. Well, except that one year where there must have been something wrong with the granny smith apples my mom used for the pie. My step-dad, who is usually very nice but not always the most socially adept, took one bite of the apple pie after an otherwise spectacular meal and said, “This is the absolute worst apple pie I’ve ever tasted.”

My then fifteen-year-old brother, always the peacemaker took a big bite and said, “I really like it.”

“No, it really is terrible.” My stepfather was clearly not to be dissuaded.

“But everything else was so good.” I said. “Thank you so much mom for making such a fantastic meal.”

“I just can’t believe how bad it is.” Said my stepfather, taking another bite of the pie.

“Well don’t eat it,” my mom responded, “Just eat the pecan and the pumpkin.”

“It is the worst pie I’ve ever had,” looking around the table he added, “isn’t it?”

I think my husband kicked him, and that was the end of that.

Here are my mom’s recipes, exactly as she sent them to me, including their names.

Best Pecan Pie

Preheat oven to 425°

Prepare one 9” unbaked pie shell. (We make our crusts from scratch.)

Brown (not burn) in saucepan until golden
1 stick butter
Cool. Set aside

In large bowl add the following ingredients in order

1 cup light Karo Syrup
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
½ tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 dash salt
1 cup pecans

Blend in browned butter well. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325° for approx. 40 minutes.

We add a tablespoon of molassas to the karo syrup.
Favorite Pumpkin Pie

Preheat oven to 425°

Prepare one 9” unbaked pie shell

In large bowl, add and blend in the following order

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 small can pumpkin puree (15 oz.)
¾ cups sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. Each -ginger, cloves, nutmeg

1 can undiluted evaporated milk (12 oz.)

Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350° for approx. 20-30 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Dutch Apple Pie

Preheat oven to 400°

Prepare one 9” unbaked pie shell

In a separate bowl, mix

½ cup white sugar
¾ cup flour

Then cut in until crumbly

1/3 cup butter, slightly softened

Toss together

5 cups sliced, tart baking apples (5 – 7 apples)
½ cups brown sugar (loose, not packed)
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. flour

Arrange in pie shell. Sprinkle with crumbly topping. Bake at 400° for 30-40 minutes.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Happy Thanskgiving

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