Tag Archives: pie

Pumpkin Pie for the Holidays

Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. It’s a great way to end the holiday meal.  And, if we listen to the songs, pumpkin pie works for Christmas as well:

I met a man who lives in Tennessee
And he was heading for Pennsylvania
And some homemade pumpkin pie 

shellSo, it’s no surprise that I’ve made my share of pumpkin pies. I’ve also made several for friends and family. After tasting the pie, many people have asked me for my recipe, and I always chuckle. For me, the tried and true recipe is Libby’s. That’s right, I use the recipe right off the can, but it works! This year, like every other, I made Libby’s famous pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

To start, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon cloves in a large bowl. Add 2 large eggs to the mixture and whisk to combine. Add 1 15 oz can pure pumpkin. Next, add 1 12 oz can evaporated milk and whisk to combine.sugar and spiceeggspumpkinevaporated milkall combinedFor the pie crust, I use my standard pie crust recipe. I roll out the crust the crust before making the filling.  Line a greased 9 inch pie plate, and crimp the edges. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

ready for the ovenPlace the pie plate on a cookie sheet close to the oven. Pour the filling into the shell, and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees, and bake 40-50 minutes longer until a knife comes out clean from the center. Oh, and one trick to cover up the knife holes, cut out some extra pie dough using a festive cookie cutter (leaf or pumpkin), and bake for about 10 minutes until golden. Just place it on top, and your pie looks perfect.

If you haven’t tried this simple recipe, give it a try. It’s so easy, and so good. I’ve also tried making the pie from fresh pumpkin, and it just wasn’t worth it. Go for the can, and enjoy.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and are ready for a fabulous Christmas season!

Perfect Pie Crust for Thanksgiving!

This Year's Pies!Thanksgiving is one of those tough holidays as far as the menu. Sure, everyone wants to try new recipes and experiment, but there is so much tradition wrapped into the holiday, it’s often hard to do. Thanksgiving is all about nostalgia and family, and nothing else can bring back memories like food. One of those traditions in many houses, and certainly ours, is ending the meal with pies…delicious pies. The fillings may vary, but you always need a buttery, flaky pie crust, and that’s another place tradition comes into play for me.

ingredientsSeveral months ago, I shared a recipe for crab quiche, and mentioned I used my Aunt Angie’s recipe for pie crust. I know several were not thrilled about my withholding, but it just felt right to talk about pie crusts before Thanksgiving. Aunt Angie was my grandmother’s sister, and she was the pie maker. No matter what occasion or holiday, she brought the pies. From lemon meringue to coconut cream, from apple to cherry, and everything in between, they were amazing. Sadly, I don’t have many of the recipes for the fillings…well… that’s not completely true, I have the recipes, but it’s really a list of ingredients, making it a little hard to follow. J But, thankfully, I do have her pie crust recipe.

flourThere’s always lots of talk about pie crusts and how difficult they can be. I have to tell you, I think it’s pretty easy, if you follow a few rules. Keep the butter and water cold, work quickly, and chill often. Several years ago I started making pies using a food processor, and I have to admit, it makes the process even easier. But, don’t worry, you can still follow the recipe without a food processor.

Start by adding 2 cups all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon baking powder to the bowl of a food processor, or any bowl if butteryou don’t have one. Stir to combine. Next, cut 2/3 cup butter into small pieces, and add to the flour mixture. Pulse a few times to combine and integrate the butter thoroughly, or use a fork to mash the butter into the flour. You want to end up with tiny pieces of butter all throughout the flour. This is how you get a flaky crust. And you want the butter cold. I find if you’re combining by hand, cut the butter into very small pieces before adding to the flour, almost slivers, so it’s easier to combine.butter addedbutter combinedNext, you want to add about 9 tablespoons ice water. Don’t add all 9 to start. I usually start with 6, give it a whirl then add more if needed. Depending on the humidity and moisture in the doughflour, you may need more or less. For the food processor, just run until the mixture forms a ball. It should happen in a few seconds. If it doesn’t come together just add more water. If by hand, just stir with the fork until it sticks together but isn’t too wet.

Divide the dough in two, wrap in plastic, and store in the refrigerator. I usually make the dough the night before I’m going to use it, but you can refrigerate for an hour or two to cool it down. In a pinch, I have been known to stick it in the freezer for a little while to speed things up, but don’t forget about it!

dough readyRoll out the dough about an inch or two bigger than your pie plate. Also, spray your pie plate liberally. You don’t want the crust to stick. Then just fold it to transfer to the plate, and you’re set. I like to refrigerate the dough again once in the plate to firm it up before baking, especially if it is a 1 crust pie. Just stick it back in for a little while as you prepare the filling.

dough rolledplatein plateready for crimpingNo matter what the filling, this one is a keeper, and I think Aunt Angie would be proud her crust lives on. This year, her crusts will be filled with caramel apple, pecan, and, of course, pumpkin. Happy Thanksgiving!

This Weather has Me Thinking about Fall…and Pie (or at least Crab Quiche)!

CrustOk, ok, I know, that headline sounds kind of crazy, but we’ve been having an absolutely amazing summer in the Philadelphia area.  The temperature hasn’t been too warm, and, more importantly, the humidity has been low.  I have absolutely loved it, but now, as kids are starting to go back to school, and the unofficial end of summer is just days away, my mind is already on fall.  Of course, it could be because fall is my number one favorite time of the year.  I love the cold chill in the air, the cozy sweaters, the festive holidays, the leaves changing and crunching under your feet, and, of course, the food.  Actually, I just always love the food, but I digress.

Dishing Up MarylandFor me, nothing says fall like pie.  Call me crazy, and I may be alone here, but for some reason during the fall I think about the holidays and Thanksgiving, and, well, Thanksgiving’s all about the pies.  Anyway, since it is August for a few more days, and I can’t really be jumping into pumpkin pie just yet, I thought instead I’d talk about one of my go-to breakfast items, especially in the summer, crab quiche.

For anything crab, as many of my friends from Baltimore repeatedly tell me, you have to turn to Maryland.  And so, for crab quiche, I turn to Dishing Up Maryland, a great cookbook that talks about the different areas in Maryland and the different specialties.  I’ve modified the crab and Gruyere quiche recipe just a bit, but it’s definitely a winner.

Crab and OnionsFirst, the pie crust.  There are instructions in the recipe for making a pie crust, but I always use my tried and true recipe from my great Aunt Angie. She made the best pies! Maybe one of these days I’ll share that with you. 🙂 But feel free to use any pie crust recipe you like, or just pick up one from the refrigerator section of your grocery store.  I won’t tell.  You’ll need to line a greased 9 inch pie plate with the pie dough.  But the important part for this recipe is the filling.

This is where I mainly differ from the recipe.  The recipe calls for 1/3 cup onion, raw.  For me, I think the raw onions, even after being cooked in the quiche, are too overpowering.  Instead, saute 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped, with 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped, until the onions are soft and have some color.  I usually do this the night before, then just keep them in the refrigerator.  Sprinkle the onions and garlic over the dough with 1 lb lump crabmeat, and 4 oz. shredded Gruyere cheese.  You can Swisssubstitute Swiss if you can’t find Gruyere, and usually get the block and just shred it in the food processor.  Then, whisk 4 eggs with 1 cup 1/2 and 1/2, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.  Carefully pour this mixture over the quiche.  I put the pie plate on a cookie sheet and put it right next to the oven before I pour, just to minimize my transfer time and the chances of me making a huge mess.

Bake the quiche at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until golden.  Definitely let it cool a bit before you cut into it, maybe 10-15 minutes, so that it doesn’t run.

No matter what you’re making this Labor Day weekend, or if you’re not making a thing, I hope you have some time to yourself to enjoy the end to the summer!  Happy Labor Day!