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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Month of Sundays: Part 2

In preparation for Thanksgiving, our “Month of Sundays” theme continues today. As promised, here are a few of our beloved dessert recipes. Enjoy!

Perfect Pie Crust

My Mom believes that the secret to any great pie is its crust. Her adamant belief in this crust's excellence even led her to modify the name of the recipe.

Makes enough for two 9” pie crusts.

2½ cups flour
½ pound unsalted butter, cold
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup ice water
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

Cut the butter into ¾ inch cubes. Place the flour in a food processor with the metal blade and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter cubes to the flour and process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add ice water and continue to process. Pinch a small amount of the mixture together between your fingers. If it does not hold together, continue to add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing in between additions.

Add egg yolk and whipping cream. Process until the mixture is blended and forms a ball inside the food processor. Remove the dough from the food processor and flatten it into a disc (or discs). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight.

Sweet Potato Pie

My grandmother makes her version of sweet potato pie every year at Thanksgiving. In my book, it is hands down better than pumpkin pie!

1 large yam, cooked, peeled, and mashed
3 eggs, slightly beaten
½ cube butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup canned milk
1 tsp vanilla
½ teaspoon nutmeg
One 9” unbaked pastry shell, either homemade or store-bought

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Prick the sweet potato with a fork and roast in a shallow baking pan in the middle of the oven until very tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool to room temperature.

Scoop the flesh from the sweet potato into a bowl and discard the skins. Mash the sweet potato with a fork until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients to bowl and whisk until smooth. (The filling will be quite liquid.) Pour the filling into the pie shell.

Carefully transfer the pie to the oven and bake until the filling is just set, about 40 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack to cool.

Apple Praline Pie

I would like to say that my recipe for Apple Praline Pie is award-winning, but that would be a bold faced lie. At last year’s Apple Pie Making Contest, hosted by our friends Matt and Susannah, my pie did not place in any of the winning categories. Apparently, there was discussion amongst the judges surrounding the “purity” of my submission, given the praline topping. Although I am still dealing with the aftermath from the contest controversy, I stand by my entry and believe that it would make a wonderful addition to any dessert menu.

6 cups peeled, thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (about 8 medium size apples)
¾ cup sugar
½ cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
2 tablespoons margarine or butter

Praline Topping:
½ cup margarine or butter
½ cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons half and half
½ cup chopped pecans
Two 9” unbaked pastry shells, either homemade or store-bought

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In large bowl, combine apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt; lightly toss. Spoon apple mixture into a pastry-lined pie dish. Dot with butter or margarine. Top with the second crust and flute. Cut slits in several places on top of the pie. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the apples are tender and the crust is slightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

To prepare the topping, melt the butter or margarine in a small saucepan on the stove top over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and half-and-half. Increase the heat to medium high, bringing the topping to a boil slowly. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the pecans.

Place the cooled pie on top of a cookie sheet. Pour the praline mixture over the top of the pie, spreading as evenly as possible. Return the pie to the oven and bake five minutes longer or until the topping bubbles. Cool at least one hour before serving.

TIP: If necessary, cover the edge of the pie crust with strips of aluminum foil during the last 10-15 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning.

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Kirstin said...

Oh boy that sounds so good. I have never thought to use whipping cream in a pie crust recipe. But then I rarely make pie crust because it rarely turns out nice and pretty. I may have to try this....

Susannah said...

you are killing me. seriously, i am laughing outloud. i missed a few posts so i am catching up and laughing!!! i LOVED your pie by the way... ;)

wendy said...

yum. I actually joined a pie club - so I get one pie a month. hopefully she'll make a sweet potato pie, because I've never had it.
these look delicious.
i've always been afraid of making crust. maybe one day i'll be brave.