Thanksgiving with Julia & Friends

Thanksgiving with Julia Child…& Friends

– what could be more fun?

Thanksgiving with Julia

This cute illustration by Adriana Gallo along with the list of ‘greats’  caught my attention.  This suggestion hooked me right in:

 “IF – Julia Child, James Beard, and Mollie Katzen threw a potluck Thanksgiving, you’d want to go, right?”  

Of course I’d want to go!

Attempting to “honor the forefathers and mothers of American cooking” here is a menu full of favorite recipes from the Food52 community and staff, and blogosphere at large.

Thanksgiving Dinner with Julia

Among other ‘greats’ here are a few recipes to tempt you:

Julia Child’s Brussels Sprouts with Braised Chestnuts

James Beard’s  Rich Pumpkin Pie

Mollie Katzen’s Mushroom Yogurt Pie with Spinach Crust

Who are your favorite forefathers and mothers of American Cooking?

What are your favorite recipes?

 

 

The Wonderful World of Pi(e)

Circumference? Diameter?  Who cares–

We’re talking’ about pie here!

Forget all that Math stuff – THIS is my idea of Pi(e)!! 

Wonderful World of Pi(e) Thanks to  The Dish by Restaurant.com for this wonderful and delightful view of today’s Pi Day and

THE WORLD OF PI(E):

The Wonderful World of Pi(e) March 14th is National Pi Day. For those of you who can’t remember that junior high math lesson, here’s a refresher.  It has to do with circles, and lines, and distances and lengths. For our purposes, all you need to know is Pi (?) = 3.14 aka March 14.   So in celebration of all things nerdy and delicious, we’re celebrating this circular holiday with a few delectable circles of our own, and diving into the wonderful world of PIE!The Wonderful World of Pi(e)

Let’s start with the foundation. THE CRUST. First you have your flaky varieties, some are sweet, some are salty, some are made with butter. Others use shortening, some rely on cold COLD water, while still more call for distilled vinegar as the secret ingredient to achieve that perfect, tender, flaky base. Then there are the butter-crumb crusts. Smashed cookie or graham bits, mixed with sugar and melted butter that are then pressed into a perfect pie crust shape. THEN you add ooey, gooey, sweet or creamy fillings; perhaps you want to get wild and crazy and fill these shells with a savory mixture and call it…dinner. However you roll (get it, dough…rolling…), it’s clear that pies, in all their many forms, are awesome. Here are a few of our favorites:

Fruit Pie – Fruit is one of the most classic pie fillings and the possibilities are limitless. Wonderful World of Pi(e)Some people love berry pies, while others prefer pitted varieties like peach. Every fall, stores and counter tops are overrun with a plethora of apple pies with various and sundry toppings. Then there’s that crazy faction that recommends combining different kinds of fruit for a truly spectacular taste experience. No matter what fruit you’re using, a sugary filling of tender fruit and juices makes for a darn good slice. We’ll take ours a la mode! Custard Pie – Who knew combining sugar, cream and eggs and baking it in a shell could produce so much deliciousness. Well friends, that’s exactly what a custard pie is. Add a plethora of other ingredients like chocolate, vanilla, pumpkin, caramel or liquors and end up with a delicate slip of flavor that melts in your mouth (and probably your hand, too). The Wonderful World of Pi(e)Savory Pies – The savory pie is a popular European dish and is served as an actual meal, rather than for dessert. Most combinations include a mixture of meat (beef or lamb) and vegetables, like potatoes and onions. A more Americanized example of a savory pie is the chicken pot pie. This traditionally southern meal has the outside appearance of a pie, and the inside flavor of Thanksgiving dinner. 

Of course, you could combine all three and end up with something like this.

Mini pies – It seems like these days you can find anything and everything in mini form. Pies are no exception. We happen to love mini pies. They’re bite-sized and portable with all our favorite pie flavors still intact. We like to pretend that their small stature makes them a relatively healthy snack. Please don’t ruin it for us.

Pie on a stick – Everything tastes better on a stick. Enough said.

Pie in a cake – For our grand finale, we give you the turducken of desserts, the pie cake:

(really??)

The Wonderful World of Pi(e)Yes, someone somewhere decided that since pie is delicious, and cake is delicious, putting one inside the other and baking them together would be even more delicious. We’ve never been lucky (aka brave) enough to try a slice, but this mythical dessert is definitely on our foodie bucket list.

Okay…this one is a bit weird. Otherwise, it’s all good fun and yummy prospects!!

It’s NOVEMBER – Pie Time!

Get Ready for PIE – It’s NOVEMBER!

And That means: Pie Time!

Anytime is Pie Time … but especially as we head into November with Thanksgiving plans being made, thoughts of Pies – lots of pies – fill our heads!!

It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

Traditional is good . . . but little change-ups are fun.

Here are some simple and easy ways to ‘fancy up’ your favorite pies:

It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

Leaves: Roll your top crust to 1/4-inch thick. Use a real leaf as a guide, or freehand it, to cut out leaf shapes. With a toothpick or skewer, lightly etch a vein design into the top of each leaf. Starting from the outside edge of the pie, layer your leaves (overlapping them slightly) over the pie filling in concentric circles.(above-center)

Lattice: If you want to tackle lattice, roll out your top crust to 1/4-inch thick. Using a pastry cutter or a sharp knife, cut long, even strips of dough (I like to make mine about 1/2-inch wide). Continue until you’re out of dough. Place half of the strips horizontally across your pie filling with a 1/2 inch between each strip. Fold back every other strip halfway, and place a strip vertically down the pie (right up against where you’ve folded the strips back). Then swap the horizontal strips: unfold the folded ones, and fold back the others. Repeat, placing down another vertical strip, leaving 1/2 inch between each vertical strip, and fold and unfold the horizontal strips in the same way. Repeat, working outwards, until 1/2 of the pie is latticed. Then rotate your pie and do the same on the other half. Trim the edges of the crust. (above -lower left)

 Circles: Roll your top crust to 1/4-inch thick. Using the a pastry tip (substitute with a small cup or round object), cut holes all over the crust. Place the crust on top of the pie and seal the edges. (above-lower right)

Cut Out Double Crust Pie: Roll out pie dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out shapes from the dough. Working from the outside edge to the center, layer the dough pieces on top of the the pie filling, overlapping slightly. This is a simple and eye catching alternative to a standard double crust pie — and is far easier than lattice work. (not shown)

 Ruffled Phyllo Crust: Place a piece of phyllo onto a work surface. Brush with melted butter, and top with another piece of phyllo. Place the second piece slightly off kilter, so the edges don’t match up, and the points of the dough are askew from the first piece. Repeat until you’ve layered 7 pieces of dough. Transfer the dough to a pie plate, and crumple the overhang around the edge. From here, the crust can be blind baked or paired with a filling and baked. (center- top photo)

 Fancy, Fun, & EASY Edges:

It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

Braided Edge: Roll out pie dough scraps to 1/4-inch thick — it’s best to keep the piece of dough as long as possible. A standard pie 9″ pie pan is slightly more than 28 inches in circumference, so either go for it and roll out your dough to be about 29 inches long and make a single braid, or take a more sensible route and roll it out in two 15-inch sections to make two braids. Cut three long, thin strips (about 1/4 inch wide) using a chef’s knife or pastry wheel. Pinch three strips together at the top, and braid together. (above -top left)

It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

When the pieces are almost fully braided, pinch the ends together to seal. Hold the strand at both ends and stretch gently. Brush the edge of the crust lightly with water and press the braid (or braids) into the edge (if you made two braids, overlap the pieces slightly to achieve a seamless effect). This technique also works well with just two pieces of dough, twisted together.

Rounded Crimped Edge: You’ve mastered the classic crimped edge, which makes a fluted edge with points. With this new technique, the bowl of a spoon guides the finishing of the edge, making a slightly rounded, more fluid edge. (above-lower center)

It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

The larger the bowl of the spoon, the bigger the waves will be. Dip the bowl of the spoon lightly into flour and press it gently into the crust, moving outward and using your fingers to guide the outer edge. Repeat all the way around the crust.

Dotted Edge: Roll out pie dough scraps to 1/4-inch thick. Lightly flour a small circular cookie cutter (in a pinch, you can use a shot glass or even a bottle cap), and cut out enough circles to cover the entire edge of the pie. (above-top right)It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

Brush the edge of the crust with water, and lay the circles around the edge, overlapping slightly. Any shape can be used, just remember to keep the dough pieces small. Pieces that are too large are more likely to become misshapen in the oven.It's NOVEMBER - Pie Time!

and My Favorite change-up?

Toasted Marshmallow:  Try an easy (and delicious) alternative to meringue — marshmallow topping! Cook 1 1/3 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a small saucepan until it reaches 250 degrees (measure with a candy thermometer). In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add the cooked sugar and water to the stand mixer, and whip the heck out of it until it gets fluffy and triples in size. From there? Mound it on the top of your favorite pie and toast to perfection in the oven or with a torch. (top photo- lower left) .

Make it a  “S’Mores Pie” —  Use a graham cracker crust with the chocolate filling and Toasted Marshmallow ‘meringue’!

 

 

Adapted from Food52: 9 Ways to Fancy Up Your Pies