Thanksgiving wrap-up

If I didn't have a house full of family and if it didn't actually take me two hours to clean-up my kitchen I would have sat down and fired off this post Thursday evening.  Our feast was so delicious and delightful it was begging to be recorded for all time on my blog.  It would just have to wait, however with a ridiculously cold tailgate all day Saturday (a horrendous loss to IU keeps me from saying it was fun in almost any way) and a full day on Sunday which also included some horrible football (we went to the Colts game, you know "the worst home loss ever"one?).  Monday would have been a reasonably good day to write, but I was so tired from Sunday Night Football in America that whatever I might have written would have to be edited heavily.  So, here we are five days post holiday ready to share some goodness again.

Let's start with dessert, shall we?  We shall.  The week before Thanksgiving I rounded up every November issue of Fine Cooking in my kitchen.  Sure, all the recipes are on the website (accessed fully only by membership, but I consider that $9.99 annual fee a necessity).  I still like to thumb through the glossy pages, dog-ear them, stick the little mail reply subscription cards in as bookmarks and make an old school list (i.e. Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Pie, FC 96, p. 50).  I can guarantee you my girls will never make such a list.  They will probably not have cabinets bursting with cookbooks, cooking magazines, folders of clippings and my own crazy full binder of classic recipes either.  So I'd sit down with my stack of magazines, Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, my reading glasses (sad, but true), a pad of paper and a pen and plan out the menu.  Martha Stewart started sending my "Living" magazine a couple of months ago so I dog-eared those too just to keep it interesting.  Finally I settled on the aforementioned Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Pie, but I would use Dave's Mom's recipe for piecrust.

I made the crust the same day I made the crust for the apple pie squares.  Might as well clean up that flour-y mess just once.  Thought one pie would do since my mom was bringing a pumpkin cake.  Good thought, but Friday after Thanksgiving Kelly and I would roll out the saved crust and make another pie.  It was that good.  The only substitution I made in the recipe was using evaporated milk (not the fat free or skim kind either, it's pie for goodness sake) instead of heavy cream.  I'm sure it would be even more delicious with heavy cream but I had only bought one pint of heavy cream for the whipped cream to serve with the pie.

If you haven't had enough pumpkin pie, give this version a try while it's all dark and chilly out or just remember I'll have this recipe waiting for you next fall.  And next year make a pumpkin pie in October to kind of space out your enjoyment.

Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Pie

one blind-baked pie crust (heat your oven to 400 degrees, rollout your crust and place it in your pan, prick the bottom and sides with a fork, line the bottom with a circle of parchment, fill with pie weights/rice/beans and bake just until set about 16-20 minutes)

15-oz. can pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 C evaporated milk (not the sweetened condensed sticky kind)
3/4 C lightly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (get the good Vietnamese cinnamon)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 to 1/4 tsp ground cloves (I like more, maybe you aren't so sure)
one fresh grind of black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl (that nice 8-cup Pampered Chef batter bowl is good) whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, egg yolk and evaporated milk.  In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and the spices.  Whisk the sugar mixture into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.
Pour the filling into the blind-baked and cooled pie crust.  Bake in the 325 degree oven until the pie is set around the outside, but still slightly wet and jiggly in the center or about one hour.  The filling will continue to set as it cools.  If this freaks you out, keep it in the oven for another 5-10 minutes until more of it is set (but not all the way to the middle), your pie will still be good.  Let the pie completely cool on a wire rack before chilling it in the refrigerator for at least two hours and up to two days before serving.  If you put it in your refrigerator with any kind of cover and it's still warm you'll have a not so lovely pond of condensed steam on your lovely pie, and you've gone to all the trouble of making it special.

Serve with real whipped cream.  If you serve it with whipped topping, that's just wrong.  You can have a child or a husband or  your mother who wants to be so helpful whip the cream while you get out the serving dishes.  A chilled bowl and beaters are nice, but not mandatory.  Pour your cream in and whip it at the highest speed.  Before it's set, add some powdered sugar.  Kelly whipped one pint of cream and I added about one-half cup of powdered sugar.  Start with a small quantity of sugar.  Lightly sweetened cream is one of the joys of life.  Fine Cooking whipped one cup of heavy cream with 2 T of brown sugar, 1 tsp of ground ginger and 1 tsp of brandy.  Decadent.

Before we leave today, let me just share a favorite moment from the holiday weekend.  Rewind to Wednesday when the kitchen was in full-on stay-out-of my-way motion.  Greg walks in and sees me with my camera taking photos of my apple pie squares and pumpkin pie.  He loves my blogging and all the photos of food.  He says that my blog is titled "blue skies with a squeeze of lime" and his blog would be titled "grey skies and a glass of scotch".  Funny man.  He hadn't even witnessed all the bad football and bad basketball from his teams yet.


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