Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving Roundup: An Impressive Loaf, One Sweet Pie, and a LOCAL Savory Pie!


The two-day cycle of Thanksgiving is traditionally a frantic, heady one of over-indulgence first at the table and later at the mall.  I have tried to be conscious of achieving balance during the holidays this year by making, rather than buying, most of the gifts for my family.

I was also trying to achieve balance with what I brought to my family's Thanksgiving dinner.  I think good bread makes every dinner feel special, so I made Peter Reinhart's Cranberry Walnut Celebration Bread.  In fact, I tweeted the whole process in real time.  If you're into that kind of thing, check me out on twitter @culinarybliss.

Here she is in all her glory, first shaped and proofed.

and gloriously baked.

I was put in charge of pecan pie, which put me in a tough position.  I wanted to make something delicious and indulgent, but I also wanted to be sure that there was something local and seasonal in our meal, and maybe even some greens.  I decided to make an extra special pecan pie and a philo pie made with local kale and pork sausage.  So, first, the sweet stuff

Burbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

I started with Alton's pie crust, referencing my own blog for the recipe :)

Here you can see how I roll out my pie crusts.  Last week, I couldn't find my rolling pin, so I reluctantly replaced it with a very cheap French-style rolling pin from Paula Deen, which I surprisingly prefer to the normal style of rolling pin.

The dough right out of the freezer.  I kneaded this just a bit to bring it together.

I keep my flour container close.  The goal is to move as quickly as possible to preserve the pockets of fat, and to keep a roundish shape.  See the big white sploches?  That's a good thing.

Once you have it flattened, roll the crust up on the rolling pin.  The PD is perfect for this.

Now unroll it onto a pan and form your crust.

Now pour into that crust 2 c. chopped pecans and 1 c. chocolate chips of your choice.

Meanwhile, bring these ingredients first to a boil, then simmer for three minutes:

1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1/4 c. bourbon

In a bowl, beat

4 eggs

Temper the yolks by adding just a little of the hot mixture, stirring, and then slowly adding the rest of the liquids.  Then, add

1/4 c. melted butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cornmeal (I got this idea from many Southern bourbon pie recipes)

Pour this over the nuts and chocolate.  Bake in a 375 oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

I'll squeeze in extra crust any way that I can, so I made some leaves out of the extra dough.

Artfully arranged by the husband


This was gorgeous and very good, but it was so sickly sweet with the chocolate, even though I used dark chocolate.  I'll make this same filling again because it was perfect, but next time I'll skip the chocolate.
I'm not a fan of corn syrup and don't use it often, but did in this case to cut corners.  It helps give that toffee texture.

As a respite from the cloying sweetness of the desert, I threw together a phylo pie with local kale and sausage made at the coop from local pork.

Kale and Sausage Pie

I fried up the sausage so it was mostly cooked through and had rendered most of its fat and removed it. Then cooked a couple onions in the sausage fat until translucent, and then wilted the kale.  I added a tsp of water here and there to get the kale soft.

I prepared the crust by layering sheets of phylo and buttering each one.  I used a tart pan for this, and made sure to butter the bottom first and press each sheet against the side of the pan.

I poured in the filling and layered the second half of the phylo on top with more butter between each layer, and then folded over the edges.

Baked at 350 for 55 minutes.

This was absolutely delicious and I expect you'll see it again soon in appetizer form.:)

This week we purchased a big set of Pyrex storage tins.  I don't like to store or heat food in plastic, so we use these for leftovers and lunches.  This set came from Target and was quite reasonable, and the lids have held up better than my Martha Stewart ones from Anchor Hocking.

That's all for this post, but please come back tomorrow!  I'm going to have a big.huge.awesome announcement to share with you all!  I've been working hard getting ready and can't wait to let you in on it!
Until then, take care!


Shannon (The Daily Balance) said...

Everything looks AMAZING! ver impressive!

megan said...

Those pies look incredible! the kale and sausage one sounds so original and wonderful.

Maggie said...

I'm making that kale & sausage pie as soon as humanly possible. And I did a pecan pie for Thanksgiving for the first time ever and it was amazing. Yours looks *gorgeous* and we totally agreed about omitting the chocolate. Also - so true - that is the one thing it's ok to use corn syrup for!

Anonymous said...

Mmm... very impressed with your baking skills! "glory" is the prefect description for the bread.

fyi - I'm hosting my first giveaway and it's loaded with kitchen stuff that is right up your alley. Please check it out.

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