This year I hosted my husband's family at my house. Every year we do something different for Thanksgiving, sometimes spending it with friends, sometimes at my in-laws' cabin. I hadn't done Thanksgiving at our home in East Nashville ever (is that possible?) so it was high time.
|This turkey tureen from the 50s? belonged to my mom.|
I admit it. I went a little crazy with the pies this year. Not that I don't always go a little crazy with the pies (last year I think I made 8) but my oven broke at the end of the summer and it took me two-and-a-half months to fix it. I, mistakenly it turns out, thought this was a sign that it was time to buy a new one. We are planning to remodel our kitchen fairly soon, so I started to do some research and look at options. Then I found out that the ovens of my dreams cost between three and five THOUSAND dollars. I called the repairman instead.
With my oven back in action, I had pent up baking energy that needed to be released just in time for Thanksgiving. Since I love to bake, I usually end up doing the pies. Plus, I was also doing the turkey and a few other things too, so I started planning early.
|Cool thrifted vintage Pyrex coffee carafe.|
My secret to pie dough is in the combination of shortening and butter-- and I do it in the food processor so it's fast. But chilling --both the dough before rolling for at least an hour and the crust, in the shell and crimped, for about 30 minutes-- is the single most important way to achieve a pretty-looking pie.
recipe (adapted by Saveur from Four-and-Twenty-Blackbirds in NY) was the perfect combination of sweet and salty, fruit and spices and called for a teaspoon of Angostura bitters added to the apples. At first I thought this was strange, but it was actually genius. I had never heard of that but I'll be adding it to all future apple desserts.
I love the lattice crust, even though it made me have to think too hard when putting it all together. After making and filling the pie, the recipe calls for making a caramel on the stove top (sugar, water, butter and heavy cream) and then pouring it over the apples. If you think "that's overkill" or "it's not worth the extra work," think again. It was amazing. Then brush the crust all over with an egg wash and sprinkle both sea salt and Demerara sugar over the top. It's a dramatic pie that tasted as good as it looks.
Some traditions are meant to be broken. I don't think I'll host Thanksgiving again next year (my mom used to do it every year). It's soooo much work and maybe I won't have as much time on my hands as I did this year. But I will probably bring the pies.
|This little girl got her own personal pumpkin pie. She ate so much of it she got sick. Oops!|