Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pumpkin and Apple Pies

For last year’s Thanksgiving, I decided to do the pumpkin pie. Having never made pie on my own before, I called (who else?) my mom for a pastry crust recipe. It turned out wonderful, so I decided to do pie again this year. I was only going to do apple because my husband isn’t really into pie and he thought he’d like apple better, but when my folks visited, they gave me homegrown pumpkin puree. So I had to do another pumpkin pie. Last year came from a can, this year my parents’ farm (plus a little from a can. I was about ¼-½ c. short on the homemade pumpkin). Still, how cool is that?

The pastry recipe my mom sent me last year is designed for a Cuisinart. I only have a mini prep I got from my wedding registry (thanks mom and dad!), so I do it by hand. The pastry recipe reflects my modifications for that and my mom’s notes as well. I’m listing both the single and double crust as the pumpkin pie was single and the apple was double. For the ice water, I find it easiest to fill a small bowl with water and ice and keep it in the fridge until it is needed. Everything needs to remain cold.

Pastry Dough from Cuisinart via my mom:

For a single crust pie or tart -
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking powder
8 Tb. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in 1/2" pieces and kept well chilled
2 Tb. vegetable shortening (you can use a natural soft butter in the tubs or substitute with butter)
2 to 4 TB. ice water

For a double crust pie -
3 cups of flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
16 Tb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in 1/2" and kept well chilled
2 Tb. vegetable shortening
5-8 Tb. ice water

Pumpkin Pie filling from Joy of Cooking:

2 c. cooked or canned pumpkin (if you are using cooked pumpkin that has been frozen, make sure to drain it of the extra water first).
1½ c. undiluted evaporated milk or rich cream (I used evaporated milk)
¼ c. brown sugar
½ c. white sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. nutmeg or allspice (I used nutmeg)
1/8 tsp. cloves
2 slightly beaten eggs

Apple Pie filling from Joy of Cooking:

5-6 c. apples (I used more like 8 cups. Each apple was about a cup. I used Granny Smiths and Jonagolds. It’s good to use a mix of very tart and sweet apples. Too many sweet ones become applesauce, according to my mom)
½-2/3 c. white or brown sugar (I used brown. The difference is for the type of apples you are using. Tarter apples get more sugar, sweeter gets less. I used the max.)
1-1½ Tb. cornstarch (Juicer apples get more. Flour is a good substitute as well and according to my mom, it tastes better. I used cornstarch because I happened to have it.)
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (these two are optional, but I really like them, so in they went)
1½ Tb. butter

For the dough:

Sift the flour, salt & baking powder.

Add the well chilled butter & soft butter (also well chilled). Use your finger tips or two forks (I used my fingers) until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal and no pieces of butter are larger than a "pea" remain visible. Sprinkle half the maximum ice water on the flour & butter mixture and mix in with fingers or forks. The dough will be crumbly, but should begin to hold together when a small amount is picked up and pressed together. Sprinkle on more water, a teaspoon at a time (two for a double crust), with a few quick mixes after each addition, adding enough water for the dough to hold together easily when pressed into a ball. Add the liquid sparingly so the dough is not sticky. Do not over process or the pastry will be tough, not tender and flaky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press together into a ball, and then flatten into a disc about 6 inches in diameter (two discs for a two pie crust). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before continuing to allow the gluten in the flour to rest. The dough will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days or may be frozen (double wrapped) for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature for an hour before using.

I ran out of plastic wrap and because I did the dough on Monday, I wrapped the dough in parchment paper and put them in a large Ziploc bag. It actually worked out really well and made for easier clean up. It kept very well too. It was really easy to keep together. So next time I’ll just do this and skip the plastic wrap because I always make a mess out of it anyway.

For the pies, I pulled out the dough, let it get to room temperature and rolled them out. Flour a surface and a rolling pin and roll it out to desired thickness. I find that a spatula is helpful in peeling it off the counter. I then formed the crusts in the pie tins (except the top crust for the apple, which I rolled out and put back in the fridge) and put them in the fridge while I made the fillings. This was a very, very good idea.

After making the filling I took out the top pie crust and attempted to make a pretty top. I cut ovals and used the extra dough to make an apple relief. It kind of looks like an apple. Anyway, I tried, even if it is all off center.

For both pies, I placed a ring of aluminum foil around the edge of the pie crust for the first 20-25 minutes of baking. This prevents it from browning too quickly.

For the pumpkin pie:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix all ingredients until well blended. The Kitchen Aid makes this ridiculously easy. If you have a hand electric mixer, this would also work very well.

Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake 15 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake about 45 minutes longer or until inserted knife comes out clean. It will look like well set Jello. Don’t worry; the pie will set out of the oven.

For the apple pie:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Pare, core and thinly slice apples.

Combine and sift the sugar, salt, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg over the apples. Stir the apples gently until they are well coated. Place them in layers in the pie shell. Dot with the butter.

Cover the pie with a pricked upper crust. Bake in a 450 oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake until done, 35-45 minutes or until golden brown. Mine was more like 55 minutes at 350.

For both pies, I whipped up some whipped cream and that was it. They were both so very good and a big hit. I’m really impressed with the apple pie. The pumpkin was also super delicious.

I had planned to post my recipe for stuffing tomorrow, but as I kind of improvised as I went, modifying the 2nd Ave. Deli book into something unrecognizable, I decided to pass. Plus, I hardly followed their recipe at all. I will say that it was very tasty though and is now almost all gone. Next year means I need to make two loaves of challah.

Happy Thanksgiving!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...