Pie, Pie, Me Oh My!

Anyone that can name that song is my new best friend. Especially since it’s not really a song so much as a part of a movie. It’s completely impossible to find on the internet, but just for the record, Andie MacDowell  sings a song in the movie Michael, about the deliciousness of pie. Nothing tastes sweeter, wet, salty or dry, all at once so well as pie. Just take my word for it.

Anyway, there’s a waste of a paragraph, all to say that I made a pie. Three pies actually. It’s one of the few baked goods I’ve never made before. So, scratch that off the baked goods bucket list. I don’t mean to brag, but they were pretty darn good.

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I know one of them isn’t technically “pie shaped” but trust me it’s pie ingredients. I had a limited number of pie dishes and what’s the point of buying a 3rd when you never make pie? It’s probably my least favorite form of baked goods. Probably because of the lack of chocolate pies. I find fruit in desserts to not really count as desserts. But, tradition is tradition and I knew I had to make the fruit pie. As much as I hate apple pie, I do LOVE pecan pie. So, I guess it’s fair to just make all of them. And that’s what I did.

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My family is pretty traditional when it comes to holiday things, and I didn’t want to ruin traditional things on the holidays, but we did the holiday a little late this year and we’d all already had a Thanksgiving apart, so when we all got together for the holiday, I figured it was ok to mix things up a little bit, since we already had the “real versions” on the real day 🙂

The only thing non-traditional thing about the Pecan Pie was that it was in bar form, and I used a crescent roll dough instead of making a pie crust. I found the recipe right on Pillsburys website. The only thing I did differently was pretty much double the amount of pecans. It just didn’t seem like enough with the amount the recommended.

For the apple pie, I didn’t change a darn THING about the recipe. I was way too scared. Pie crust in general, terrify me. I tried it before and it was one of my epic baking fails. The only reason I even agreed to make the apple pie, was because I’ve been wanting to try something I’d heard about from Giada, about a cheddar cheese pie crust. That sounded de-freaking-licious! And let me tell you, it was. The pie was ok too. haha. I went to the tried and true recipe guru herself, Martha Stewart. Here is her pie crust recipe, and here is her pie recipe. I didn’t change a SINGLE thing about her recipe as far as the crust was concerned and the only thing I changed about the filling was to add some nutmeg and a little more cinnamon. That was it.

I saved the best for last. The pumpkin pie was the most loved of all the pies I made, and I took special pride in that because it was completely my recipe. I’m not saying someone else has used my methods but I didn’t use any recipe specifically because frankly, I didn’t have all the ingredients and I didn’t feel like going back to the store. I had guessed on ingredients for all the pies, to some extent, and I knew I’d already had canned pumpkin at the house and spices, so I figured that was really all I needed. I was wrong.

I started looking through recipes and kept missing something. I was really worried but it ended up being pretty spectacular. I’d like to thank gingersnaps, my kitchen aid, and what I believe was the secret ingredient, cream cheese. I did see a few recipes using cream cheese but a lot also needed half and half, heavy cream or evaporated milk and I didn’t have any of those. I did use a recipe for my crust, which was probably the biggest hit out of everything I made. As you saw above, the pumpkin pie had a gingersnap crust and it was delicious. So, here’s the recipe, just for you.

Gingersnap Crust

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter

1 sleeve of gingersnaps (probably around 3 cups once they’ve been finely ground)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

10″ pie dish (you can use a 9″ one if you like, you’ll just have a little extra mix)

First things first, pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Next up, getting your gingersnaps into crumb form. The easiest way is to chop it up in a food processor. I don’t have a food processor (consider it on my Christmas list) so I actually hammered the gingersnaps into a nicely fine crumb texture. Nothing like letting out some aggression around the holidays! It really doesn’t take that long but you have to do little amounts at a time to make sure that 1) it’s even, and 2) there aren’t any large chunks. Once that’s done, set it aside. I took out a little saucepan and melted the butter. Then I added the gingersnap crumbs and the remaining ingredients, and stirred it all up until the gingersnaps were all wet. Then you just line the dish with the with the gingersnap mix. I put it in the refrigerator to just let it set a minute with the butter and whatnot. Then I put it in the oven for 5 minutes while I was making the mixture.

So now, let’s go to the actual pie recipe. I’ll say it was basically a combination of a Martha Stewart recipe, Paula Deens recipe, and a few random bloggers talking about the best substitutes for missing ingredients.

Kelly’s Pumpkin Pie

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 can of pumpkin (15 ounces)

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten so the yolks are broken up

1 cup light cream

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

A large dash of ground nutmeg

So, here’s how this goes. You want to start this (as I mentioned above) while the pie crust is heating in the oven for that 5 minutes. Trust me you can do this in 5 minutes if you have your ingredients ready, so get them together and in their correct bowls, before you start any of the mixing.

I started by putting the cream cheese into the mixter and whipping it up until it looked kind of fluffy. It was on high speed for about a minute? Give or take. Then you want to add the pumpkin and beat again for about a minute. Maybe less, you just want to make sure the pumpkin is mixed into the cream cheese. In a separate bowl, I mixed up the rest of the ingredients except the light cream (sugar, salt, eggs, the yolks, and melted butter) and mixed it up. Then I poured it into the pumpkin mixture and finally added the light cream last. I actually used a touch less light cream than I thought I would. I just tried to mix it up until the consistency looked right. It’s hard to say what’s right but it was pretty similar to cake batter but a little thinner. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and did a slow mix for about a minute.

Once everything is mixed, in hopefully less than 5 minutes, you want to take out your warm pie crust, and pour the pie mixture into the crust. If you’re using a 9″ pie crust, you’ll have some extra pie filling. Do what you will with it. I’d just say don’t fill it to the top of the crust. You want to still see crust tips. That’s my tip. For you.

Bake the pie for 50 minutes, and then, if you live somewhere cold (it’s around 40°F in late November so it’s perfect) put your pie outside and allow it to cool for about 4 hours or so. Mine sat outside for about 8, but the longer, the better.

Finally, the best part – feeding it to my wonderful family 🙂

family

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