Falling leaves, brisk wind and the first appearance of the Starbucks holiday cup brings the great anticipation of what I enjoy the most out of the holiday season: pie.
There isn’t much more in the dessert world that makes you feel more at home than pie.
I was raised in a home that had a minimum of seven different pies every Thanksgiving. We all had a slice of each, with ice cream, and there was no shame.
Though the cap on pie flavors is limitless, there are two obvious holiday favorites: the classic all-American apple pie and a good old standard pumpkin pie. Where would we be without a tart, lightly sweetened, apple filling baked inside a flaky crust or a creamy pumpkin custard topped with whipped cream?
I know. I don’t want to think about it either.
The classic apple pie
2 lb. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices
2 lb. Pink Lady apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
4 tsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. flour
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into ½–inch pieces
1 egg white, beaten with 1 tsp. water
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 recipe of your favorite pie crust (enough for a double crust)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Roll out your crust. Line the bottom of your pie pan with the rolled out dough; cut off the salvages. Toss both varieties of apples with the sugars, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cornstarch, flour and lemon juice.
Fill your dough-lined pie dish with the apples. Sprinkle the ½ inch butter cubes over the apples, and top with the remaining crust. Crimp the sides, and slice a few vent holes in the top of the crust. Brush the crust with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 45–55 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and the apples are tender.
Let the pie cool for at least 2 hours before serving. If you want to be fancy, serve with ice cream and caramel sauce.
1 ¹/3 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch
½ tsp. salt
2 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup heavy cream
¹/3 cup milk
1 prebaked and cooled piecrust
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cream and milk and whisk to combine.
Pour the filling into the prebaked piecrust and bake until the center is set, 60 to 65 minutes, covering the edges of the crust with aluminum foil after 30 minutes if they brown too quickly.
Let the pie cool completely, at least 3 hours, before serving.