23 November 2010

best holiday pie recipe EVER!

worthy of a re-post now that the holiday season is upon us!

look, can we all agree that everyone loves pumpkin pie? it's a national treasure.

problem is, come holiday time, there are three national treasures to choose from for your big holiday meals. pumpkin. apple. pecan. HOW on earth is a person supposed to decide?!

well, i think i have the cure for your ills (and the savior of your gastrointestinal tract). file this away for next thanksgiving and christmas. it's a crowd-pleaser and a win-win-win in my book. i give you...


i start with martha stewart's pâte brisée recipe. (though you can also start with a great pre-made from your local grocer. i know that lots of you are intimidated by pie crust.)

*note that you can do all of this by hand and, if you prefer, you can cut the recipe in half as that's all you need. i like to make the whole thing and stick the other one in the freezer for quick pot-pies and such.

Makes 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust 9- to 10-inch pies

* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
2. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

then there's whole foods' fabulous pumpkin apple pie:

Makes 1 single-crust 9- to 10-inch pie

* 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
* 1/3 cup water
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 Granny Smith or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
* 1 egg
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar
* 3/4 cup fresh or canned pumpkin purée
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
* 3/4 cup evaporated milk
* 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell (in pie pan) - OR the crust you made above

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Put brown sugar, cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, water and butter into a medium pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Add apples and cook, tossing to coat in sugar mixture, 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, granulated sugar, pumpkin, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, cloves, ginger and milk until well combined.
3. Pour apple mixture into pie shell then spoon pumpkin mixture evenly over the top. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce temperature to 375°F and bake until filling is just set in the middle, about 40 minutes more. Set aside on a wire rack to let cool completely then cut into slices.

and my special pecan topping:

* 3 tablespoons butter
* 1/2 cup light-brown sugar
* 1 cup pecans, toasted and broken into pieces
* 1 tablespoon heavy cream

1. melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan.
2. add 1/2 cup light-brown sugar and pecans. cook, stirring, until sugar is incorporated and the mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes.
3. stir in cream; let cool 1 to 2 minutes.
4. pour mixture over cooled pie. using a butter knife or spatula, gently spread mixture over pie.
5. cool until topping has hardened, about 30 minutes. (do not refrigerate before serving; keep pie in a cool place up to 6 hours. okay to refrigerate after serving, though the topping will go "cloudy".)

and the *NOM NOM NOM* whipped cream (just before serving)!

* heavy whipping cream
* brown sugar
* your favorite bourbon
* cinnamon

1. add whipped cream to a bowl. sprinkle in sugar and cinnamon to taste.
2. add a tablespoon of bourbon (can't add too much as it will make it impossible to whip to the proper consistency).
3. beat it like a maniac until stiff peaks form.

happy eatin'!
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