In preparation for Thanksgiving, I’m showcasing some of my favorite holiday recipes this month. Some of them are family recipes while others are my own creations but each of them always has a place on my dining room table. This fall I had the opportunity to be profiled by Albanian Living magazine as a part of their “traditional American Thanksgiving” article. All of the recipes I’m sharing were a part of that Thanksgiving table.
Who doesn’t love a good apple pie? The combination of apples and cinnamon make for the perfect fall dessert. Growing up this pie was always a part of our Thanksgiving dessert table. Following in New England traditional, it was served with thick slices of Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese but you can also serve it with vanilla ice cream or even a lightly sweetened whipped cream. I like the pie best when it is slightly warm (just put it in to still warm oven while you are eating dinner and it will be just the right temperature when it is time for dessert).
Of course, apple pie isn’t the only pie on our Thanksgiving dessert table. Pumpkin pie served with fresh whipped cream is another must have Thanksgiving dessert!
For the crust:
12 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
3 cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons cold buttermilk or water
- Using a pastry cutter, two forks, or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, cut together the butter and flour until the mixture is uniformly blended and resembles coarse cornmeal.
- In half tablespoon increments, add the buttermilk or water and stir, cut, or process until the dough just holds together. You might not need to use all of the liquid.
- Divide the dough in half and cover and set one half aside.
- Place the piece of dough between two sheets of waxed or parchment paper. Using a rolling pin roll and stretch the dough to fit the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.
- Carefully remove on piece of the paper and fit the dough into the pie plate. Press it into the edges.
- Repeat the process with the reserved dough but instead of placing it on the pie plate cover and set it aside along with the prepared dough in the refrigerator until ready to proceed.
For the pie:
6 cups mixed apples, peeled, cored, and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon sanding sugar or other coarse sugar
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Place the apples in prepared pie crust.
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the top of the apples being careful not to let any seeds fall into the pie.
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, walnuts, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss to combine.
- Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the top of the apples.
- Carefully place the remaining pie crust over the apples.
- Trim the edges of the crust if necessary and crimp the top and bottom crusts together. You can use a fork or even your fingers to form a neat and pretty edge.
- Score the top of the crust with a knife to allow steam to escape. If you have any scrap pieces of dough you can use them to create a decorative top.
- Brush the milk over the top of the crust and sprinkle with the sugar.
- Place the pie in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 35 to 45 minutes or until the crust is brown and the juices are bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. You can serve the pie either warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, a sharp Cheddar cheese, or whipped cream.
Growing up, my mom used to make a lemon meringue pie with a twist that was always a hit. She would melt a thin layer of chocolate chips along the bottom of the pie between the crust and the tart lemon filling. Not only was a slice of pie pretty to look at but the chocolate added a rich and sweet contrast to the tart filling. She always served this pie for Easter dinner and I remember thinking about it in anticipation during long road trips home during college.
To celebrate spring and Easter I’ve added my own twist to this pie. The lemon meringue pie from Flour Bakery is made with a marshmallow meringue that I prefer to the traditional egg white topping. I’ve taken their recipe and incorporated my own twists. My mom’s chocolate layer is a must that adds to the specialness of the pie but I’ve gone a step farther and switched fresh orange juice for the traditional lemon. The pie isn’t as tart as the traditional lemon version but the orange adds a sophisticated twist to an old standby. Plus it combines my favorite fruit-chocolate flavors.
The recipe appears to be long but don’t let its length intimidate you. The steps flow together quickly and soon you will be enjoying a slice of this fruit-chocolate goodness.
BLACK BOTTOM ORANGE MARSHMALLOW MERINGUE PIE
6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons cold buttermilk
3/4 cup dark baking chocolate broken into pieces
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Using a food processor, cut together the butter and flour until the mixture is uniformly blended and resembles coarse cornmeal.
- Add enough liquid to hold the dough together.
- Roll out the dough to form a crust that will fit a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Prick the entire bottom of the pan with a fork.
- Line the pie shell with parchment paper and fill the bottom of the pie with weights, uncooked beans, or raw rice.
- Bake for 8-10 minute until browned.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle the chocolate evenly along the bottom of the pie shell.
- Allow the chips to soften then using a spatula smooth them along the bottom of the shell.
- Set aside to allow to cool completely.
1 1/4 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups fresh squeezed orange juice, strained to remove the pulp
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Teaspoons vanilla extract
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, water, and cream. Place over medium-high heat and cook for 1 or 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens and becomes translucent.
- Meanwhile in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and orange juice.
- When the sugar mixture is ready, slowly pour it into the egg yolk mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly. When all of the sugar mixture has been incorporated, return the contents of the bowl to the saucepan, and return the saucepan to medium heat.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.
- Pour into the baked pie shell.
2 Teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 cup water
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
4 egg whites
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water. Place over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, for about 2 minutes or until thick and translucent.
- In a separate small saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and the remaining 1/2 cup of the water and stir gently to combine. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, and cook, without stirring for 3 to 5 minutes or until the syrup registers 248 degrees on a candy thermometer (the firm-ball stage).
- While the sugar is cooking, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment.
- When the sugar reaches 248 degrees, turn the mixer onto high-speed and slowly add the sugar syrup into the egg whites, drizzling it down the side of the bowl to keep it from hitting the whip and splattering.
- When all of the syrup has been added, continue whipping on high-speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture turns white and billowy.
- Tur down the speed to medium, add the cornstarch mixture, vanilla, and salt and whip until fully incorporated.
- Continue whipping for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is barely warm to the touch.
- Heap the marshmallow meringue on top of the pie in billowing piles, making sure to cover the entire top of the pie all of the way to the edge of the crust. Use the back of a spoon to tap the top of the meringue lightly and quickly to create tall peaks.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned.
- Let cool on a wire rack for about 1 hour, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
- The pie can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
This is a family favorite and I used some of my precious stash of canned pumpkin to make not one, but two of these pies for our Thanksgiving feast. This recipe was also featured in my interview with Albanian Living Magazine.
3 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin or squash (or 1 29-oz can pumpkin puree)
3 Tablespoons white sugar
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 unbaked pie shell
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2) Place the pumpkin puree in a medium-sized bowl, and add all of the other ingredients. Beat until
smooth with an electric mixer.
|The batter comes together so quickly
|I got fancy and added pumpkin cutouts around the rim of the pie plate
3) Spread the mixture over the pie crust and bake at 35 for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350
and bake another 40 minutes, or until the pie is firm in the center when shaken lightly.
4) Cool at least to room temperature before serving. The pie can be eaten chilled or at room
temperature. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.