Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday at the {Thanksgiving} Table and A Giveaway

If there's a food item that means Thanksgiving to me, it's definitely the pie. It's not even that I'm a pie-lover like some people are. And it's not that I don't totally enjoy the turkey and gravy, the sweet potatoes, and (hope against hope) those homemade rolls. It's that I care about the pie. As a former pastry chef, there are alot of pies in my past! I wish I could remember the numbers I used to bake. All I really know is that I was engulfed in them, pretty sure even dreaming about pumpkin, pecan, apple, and marionberry. The orders for them, arranged by date and time of pick-up, covered the entire side of the fridge in my baking station. Trays and trays of pies baked with the love that somehow the buyers couldn't or didn't have time to invest.

And so it's not surprising, is it? That it matters where our Thanksgiving pies come from. Not that the big warehouse store in our town doesn't make a mighty fine pumpkin pie, but to me, there's nothing like pouring the filling in that crust, placing pecans carefully on top one by one, and later, pulling that fresh-baked goodness out of my oven. And there's really nothing like having home-baked-with-love pies cooling on my kitchen counter.

It's been a right of passage of sorts in our home. My now grown kids have each taken their turns baking the holiday pies, the pride almost tangible. For us, it's a couple of pumpkin and a pecan. Though I hear from far-off places that son, who is providing the dessert for his Thanksgiving gathering with friends, will be trying pumpkin pecan together this year. Though a different take on the originals, I'm confident the love-part will still be a key ingredient.

Here's what I'll be baking up this year.

Pumpkin Pie   makes 2
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1# pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or evaporated milk
2 prepared pie shells

Mix filling ingredients in order given. Pour into prepared pie shells. Bake 15 minutes in preheated 425-degree oven. Reduce heat to 350-degrees and bake 45 minutes more until knife inserted in center comes out clean. (I usually make up the filling the night before to let the flavors meld, as they say. And then serve on Thanksgiving with whipped cream. Yum. No wonder this is a tradition. And if you're inclined to use up the extra pie dough to cut out seasonal shapes to decorate the top, well that's fun too.)

Pecan Pie   makes one
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tb. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1 prepared pie shell

Mix first five ingredients in order given. Pour into prepared pie shell. Arrange pecan halves on top in rings. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 50-55 minutes. It should be a tad past golden, and jiggle slightly in the center.
Of course, cool these lovelies on your kitchen counter, stand back, and admire. While they're cooling, come back and enter today's giveaway! See all the details here, but the basics are: link up to this post to enter -  about food, fabric, story, home - anything relating to the table qualifies. The linky will be open through Friday night. Two winners will be chosen on Saturday, and each will receive a solid fat-quarter pack and $20 gift certificate from Pink Chalk FabricsNote to non-bloggers - just share in the comments section and email me a picture and I'll link you up!


  1. Oh both of those pies look delicious, and I am sure they are. I am not really a pie person, but in recent years, yes, it is what I look forward too!

  2. I just wanted to give you a quick update on the dessert menu from a certain semi-snowy far-off place. Yes, there is a pumpkin pecan pie in the works, along with a traditional pumpkin pie (though that might just be for myself!!!) along with the family favorite apple cake with cinnamon sauce.
    I'll see you a month from yesterday!

  3. Pecan is my favorite! I am making one tomorrow for my Thanksgiving gathering.

  4. Younger son and I are making a pumpkin pie this year together and guess whose recipe we will be using? Yours of course. :) Apple cake with cinnamon sauce - boy that sounds good!

  5. That was quite the clue to your prowess in the kitchen, former pastry chef! I love making (and eating) pies and will keep your recipe for Christmas as our Thanksgiving in Canada was over a month ago.

  6. Both recipes sound great, but pecan is one of my favorites! Sounds like your son is going to be busy making all those desserts, but I'm sure you taught him well!

  7. I wish I had both of those pies sitting on my counter right now. I think I'll make them tomorrow!

  8. I have fond memories of the pies you've baked over the years. Your Marion berry is and always will be my absolute favorite! Just sayin. ;-) This year we are going to our daughter's for dinner and she asked if I would supply a couple of side dishes. Thinking of which traditional ones I might bring brought back a memory from the first Thanksgiving I shared with my husband's family. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered there wasn't bread stuffing on the table. Their version was made from cubed potatoes. Horrors! Thirty years later...that potato stuffing is still found on the table, but my dish of bread stuffing is sitting right next to it. There are just some things a person can't go without!