As I mentioned last time, I really enjoy cooking Thanksgiving dinner every year, and even though I was only cooking for one this year, I couldn’t leave out the pies. I mean, what’s Thanksgiving with out pie? If you’re going to stuff yourself with goodies and regret it the next day, you might as well really go for it and throw in some rich, buttery pie. It’s an American tradition. : ) Typically I make at least two pies – apple, pumpkin, and maybe a berry pie if we’re having a lot of guests – but this year I reduced it to just the basics: good old pumpkin. To be more specific, I made a caramel pecan pumpkin pie from my weathered copy of Better Homes and Garden’s New Cookbook. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. Mmmmm…. pie. Are you drooling yet? I am.
I’m one of those people who feels very strongly that a homemade pie should be as homemade as possible without driving yourself crazy. For example, for my pumpkin pies, I always make the pie crust from scratch (because it only takes 10 minutes), but I’m ok with using pumpkin out of a can (since gutting a real pumpkin seems like it would take forever). Granted, I’ve never tried using a real pumpkin, but whatever! At least I make my own crust. : ) So, I threw together some flour, salt, butter, and cold water, and voila! Homemade pie crust on my kitchen counter. I find that using a rolling pin typically gives me an oddly-shaped, non-circular crust, so I just press mine into a circle by hand.
To make the filling, I followed the recipe exactly and added all the various scrumptious ingredients to my 15-ounce can of gloriously orange pumpkin. Pumpkin pies are the best because they use all the yummy fall spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. YUM. This recipe also calls for some freshly grated lemon zest, which adds a subtle but welcome lemony flavor to each pumpkiny bite. I whisked it all together, poured it into my pie crust, and dimpled the edges a bit with a fork.
I have to pay homage to the good people at Better Homes and Gardens for including all the grandmotherly tips in their cookbook that people using such a basic cookbook probably didn’t get from their grandmother. No offense to my grandmother, but she is not a pie baker! Anyway, they recommend covering the edges of your pie with aluminum foil for the first half of the baking period so as not to burn your precious handmade crust. Awesome. I’ve done this for all my pie-baking adventures, and it works like a charm. Here’s my masterpiece all ready for the oven. Is it a pie or a spaceship? Who cares, as long as it’s delicious!
Halfway through the baking process I took out the pie, removed the top layer of foil, and added the caramel-pecan topping (aka gooey heavenly goodness). The topping consists of chopped pecans, brown sugar, and butter. And yes, pies contain a lot of butter. It’s Thanksgiving, remember? It’s ok, we’ll all go to the gym and work extra hard next week. : ) I popped the pie back into the oven so the topping could melt into a delicious caramel goop, and when it came out my kitchen smelled like a candy store and the drool was pretty much uncontrollable.
Hmm… how long did I wait before I cut myself a piece of this baby? Umm, let’s just say that the pie was still nice and warm when it hit my belly. : ) All in all, this pie is super easy and quick to make and tastes like a dream. The best part is that you can eat it for breakfast for the next few days and not feel too guilty about it. I say as long as it’s still Thanksgiving weekend, I’m allowed to keep eating Thanksgiving food. I’ll worry about all the butter on Monday!
P.S. – A note to my brother who loves this pie: don’t worry bro, another one will be coming your way at Christmas. : )