Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TWD: Thanksgiving Twofer Pie, Or "Why I'm Thankful That Nobody Was Really Counting On This To Be The Thanksgiving Dessert"

I have no cooking or baking responsibilities this Thanksgiving. My only job is to show up with my family at my parents' house 1000 miles away, which is a Herculean feat that requires the planning of a small-scale military operation. Common sense told me that I should have been spending any extra time that I had over the weekend packing lollipops and Dollar Store surprises in the carry-on bag to pull out when Elizabeth starts kicking the seat in front of her on the plane. Besides, I knew that if I made this pie, we wouldn't have time to eat it all before we left, and seeing as it's not freezer-friendly, most of it would go to waste. But despite all of the compelling reasons that I had not to make this Thanksgiving Twofer Pie, I did it anyway, because I am stark raving insane a committed TWD-er.

This is the second time I made Dorie's Good For Almost Anything Pie Crust. The first time was for the peach galette, and it was amazing. This time, I accidentally started making the recipe for a double crust, but I just went with it and figured I'd freeze one of them. The dough came together fairly easily, just as it did the first time.

After inventing a whole new shape while trying to roll a circle of rugelach dough, I asked Jacque for tips on how to roll a dough circle, and she was kind enough to leave me a really helpful,really detailed comment with some great pointers. And, as you can see, they helped a ton! Thank you, Jacque!

Much more circle-ish:

While the mixing and the rolling went well, the whole pre-baking thing really tripped me up. I followed the instructions, covered the crust with foil, weighted it down, etc. And yet the edges of my crust seemed very "post-baked" after the pre-bake:

I could not envision a scenario in which those edges would not be downright charred after another 45 minutes in the oven, even at a relatively low heat oven. When it came time to bake the pie, I tried to cover up the edges with foil for part of the bake time

but it really didn't do a whole lot of good.

Moving on to the pie fillings. I've got to say, there is no better way to stock your bar than to join an online baking club. We live a tame life around here. I might order a glass of wine with dinner, David will have a beer when he watches the game or order a bourbon out at a restaurant. So our bar is not particularly well-stocked, and I don't tend to have whatever liquor I need a teaspoon of for these various recipes. I'm always tempted to go knocking on the neighbors' doors, in the great American "may I borrow an egg?" tradition, to see if I could borrow a shot of Chambord. Shake things up a little bit. Anyway, I'm sure that I could have skipped the Meyer's that was part of this week's pumpkin filling:

But I splurged, because rum seems like a nice basic liquor to have around, and I figured that even if I use two teaspoons of it every year to make this Twofer Pie, I should still have plenty left over for that island-themed party I'm planning for 2024.

I made this pie in fits and starts throughout the day. I did the pie dough when I woke up and the pumpkin filling later in the morning. I figured that I would be able to do the pecan filling, and then assemble and bake the pie, at my leisure later that afternoon after running some errands. But the day got more complicated when my son started complaining that his ear hurt, and since I was worried about him flying with an ear infection, I scrambled to get him an appointment at the after-hours pediatric clinic. Instead of just waiting until after his appointment to finish the pie, I tried to horseshoe in the pecan filling in a 3 minute window that I had. In my haste I tried to cut through some frozen butter, but when the knife slipped, I cut my thumb instead. David was raking leaves, so I stuck my head out the front door and said "Hey, I just almost cut my thumb off. Can you please come inside?" He has heard some variation of that sentence so many times since we've been married, that if you witnessed his reaction, you might have thought that I had just said "Hey, dinner's ready. Can you please come inside?" Cool as a cucumber. All I could think about was that the last time I cut my finger (it was an onion that time) I spent four hours at the ER, and it wasn't even a Saturday night. No, my pie would never get baked if I had to go to the ER. I suddenly felt overwhelmed by the competing medical emergencies, the stress of trying to get out of town, and my unfinished pie. All I could think to do was sit down right there in the middle of the kitchen and have a good cry, when suddenly, I remembered my Doctor's Choice Advanced Wound Care Skin Closure Kit®


I've lived with myself for long enough to know that I should never take to the kitchen without a couple of these puppies at the ready. Just one minor home procedure later, David was off to get the boy some ear relief, and I was back to my pie!

I filled it up -- there were a few breaks in the dam:

I think I was so shaken by the knife injury and the subsequent DIY surgery that I forgot to sink my pecans into the syrup as Dorie advises. This step was clearly not simply for aesthetics -- keeping the pecans submerged in the syrup appears to prevent them from burning. I learned this the hard way, because all of my exposed pecans burned. I ended up just picking off and eating the burned ones, but there were so many of them that by the time I was done, I was left with something that most closely resembled a Thanksgiving One And a Halfer Pie.

My finished pie (before I raided the burned pecans):

And a unit of pie best classified as a "slice":

Almost turns you to stone, doesn't it? It was edible, but this pie really didn't work out for me. The crust was overdone and not as flaky as when I made it for the galette. Half of my pecans were burned as well, and the pumpkin part was just barely set. I don't know where things broke down exactly, but break down they did. The house smelled amazing while this was baking, though, so it was worth all of the hubbub just for that! And I am sure that many of you knocked this one out of the park, so I can't wait to hear about how great this pie is when done right! Thanks for this great holiday pick, Vibi of La Casserole Carree!

I hope that you all enjoy a special day with family and friends on Thursday, and I hope for your sake that you don't get stuck sitting near us on the plane. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!


Natashya said...

I had trouble with this one too. You are a trooper though! Way to see it through.
Hope you mend quickly, and I am glad I won't be in the seat in front of the kicker.

Cristine said...

Sorry you had so much trouble! I hope you have a safe trip and enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Matt said...

You deserve extra points for even attempting this at such a busy time. I hope your thumb heals quickly. Have a safe trip and as peaceful a Thanksgiving that can be had while flying with children!

Audrey said...

I'd sit near you on the plane just so I could eavesdrop on your family conversations! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Danielle said...

I am sorry to hear yours didnt turn out like you expected.
I made some changes to my 2nd attempt at it and it was rather tasty the 2nd time around!
Have a great Thanksgiving!

singletoncooks said...

I am so impressed that you forged ahead and did the pie this week! I skipped out: in spite of my best intentions to halve the recipe and make two pielets, I just couldn't get my act together. I'm sorry about your thumb. In my opinion, there's nothing quite as unnerving in the kitchen as a knife accident.

Laura said...

Cathy, you are my hero. I'd have quit looonnnng before I cut my finger. Such commitment is the stuff of legends!

I had a few burned pecans on the top of mine and they were fully submerged before they went into the oven. And your slice is pretty-in-a-homely-sort-of-way (oh, that comment about turning to stone had me laughing out loud though).

Isn't it nice that you can get away from all that kitchen stress relax and enjoy all the wonder of a 1000 mile plane trip with small children? Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Laura said...

PS - I forgot to invite myself to your Island themed party. I'll be sure to mark my 2024 calendar :-)

vibi said...

Oh! Cathy, how I'm so sorry this didn't turn out for you.
It was still very, very nice of you to participate with me this week!
Note, that to keep endges from burning, the dough should be pressed in the pie plate and not rolled, after what it should go in the freezer and from the freezer directly to the oven (with buttered aluminum).
Really... I'm sorry.
Still, a very happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Jules Someone said...

Oh my goodness! Well, at least you can say that you've done it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Peggy said...

Oh Cathy, I literally have tears coming down my cheeks this time from reading about this pie and your mishaps. Now we can be blood sisters (with the finger cutting incidents!). You are a better woman than I am for even trying to make this during this busy week. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for the wishes, and YES gosh darn it I AM working today!!! That's just WRONG, isn't it? We should get the day off. I'll be heading for Orlando tomorrow however, gleefully riding ten hours in a car (which always makes me cranky), but hey - I'll be free from responsibility while in that car! Yippee. Have a great Thanksgiving. God's blessings on you.

Melissa said...

Oh no, you poor thing! I would blame it all on the fact that you were rushed - it didn't have anything to do with your pie baking skills at all! Hope your thumb is mending nicely and wishing you a safe trip and happy Thanksgiving.

Engineer Baker said...

Wow, what a minefield this pie was! Sorry it wasn't a huge success, except in the smell department, and I hope your thumb heals quickly.

Mary Ann said...

My goodness- I can't tell you how much I sincerely enjoy reading your posts. The honesty, the humor- truly it is unmatched!
I am making this tomorrow. Sheesh- could anything else have gone wrong?
I am glad your thumb is still in tack.
And I love pumpkin and pecans so much that I think it looks good in the last picture. I would eat it.
I will remember to submerge my pecans.
I hope your plane trip goes well. It is hard with little ones, especially around the holidays. It seems so hectic, but I am sure your will enjoy your Thanksgiving! Have a great time!

Di said...

Now that's dedication, finishing the pie after home medical treatment. =) As accident-prone as I am, I think I need to get one of those kits. As it is, I get lots of funny looks at work when I show up with Princess bandages on my fingers after I cut myself... Sorry the pie didn't turn out quite right. I hope you enjoy your trip--travel safely!

Pamela said...

I do think that that "slice" looks pretty tempting in the last picture. I'm VERY glad that you're thumb is okay. I hope you guys have a safe trip and VERY Happy Thanksgiving!

spike. said...

for the record, I would love it if a neighbor asked to borrow a few tablespoons of rum.

pinkstripes said...

I'm sorry the pie didn't work out for you. I'm going to have to get myself some of those bandaids. The running joke around here is that someone should buy me a pair a of steel gloves for christmas. :P

Maria said...

You are dedicated!! Sorry you got hurt in the process and sorry it wasn't your favorite. I of course loved reading your pie adventure. You are wonderful! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

natalia said...

Cathy ! I'm sorry for all that happened but you put it in such a way that is a joy (sadistic) to read ! I wish I was your neighbour for the pam and so that we could some how finish our liqueurs (I don't even know how they got here !)a spoon here and there..

The Blonde Duck said...

You poor thing! You went the extra mile for a pie and nearly sliced off your finger! Let's hope Thanksgiving makes up for it. :) I hope you have a great time!

By the way, is it true you're a lawyer? So cool! You're like a cooking Elle Woods!

n.o.e said...

No better way to stock the bar, the flour drawer, the sugar cabinet, the chocolate stash, the specialty baking pan shelf... shoot, we're too invested to stop cooking now. You just have to keep yourself sound enough in mind and body to wield a whisk, knife, spoon, mixer, immersion blender, food processor, microplaner, and most importantly, a fork! I'd happily dig into that lovely pie you produced under extreme duress. I (almost) feel guilty learning from everyone else's experience.

btw, I just walked in the door with a matching bottle of Myers. If we lived closer, we could have shared one! And that wound kit is going right on my shopping list. Who knew such things existed? Boy, I would have sat down and cried immediately.

This group and my bloggy friends will be among the blessings for which I will give thanks on Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving! Say 'hi' to the North for me!!

Jess said...

Oh my. I hope your Thanksgiving is uphill from here - a valiant effort; too bad you couldn't enjoy the results after the maiming and all. I should pick up one of those kits myself...the last time I decapitated my finger chopping onions, my husband's reaction was, "Well, did you get it out of the onions?"

Audrey said...

Cathy...I'm 100% SURE you'll remember all about this next June, but put a quart of fresh strawberries (washed and hulled) and 1/2 to 1 cup of superfine sugar (I thought a full cup made it two sweet) in your blender and puree them. Mix in 2 tablespoons of that rum and pour it over vanilla ice cream or strawberry gelato or fruit salad. Incredibly good. I make this all the time (well, not ALL the time) in summer - like a little daiquiri for dessert. This recipe is from Nancy's fav Hay Day Cookbook, so it's even Connecticut-y.

Kayte said...

I'm going to give it another try as the flavor was good and I think I might have learned a couple things first round. I could not get those little pecans to stay down either! LOL. I think mine baked too long, so I am going to fiddle with as well. I laughed many times through this post at all your trials and felt a lot better about my own exploits reading yours...thanks for the fun. Happy Thanksgiving!

Karen said...

Oh boy... there are days... then there are days. ;)

CB said...

Eep. Cut finger. Burned crust. Pie filling leakage. What a baking experience you had. At least you can always drink the rum, right? ;) Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Lisa said...

You are one dedicated baker! Now go have a happy Thanksgiving!

kim said...

ouch, i hope your thumb is feeling better! sorry you had problems, hopefully next week will be easier! i am in the same boat for thanksgiving as you, traveling (although i do get to make some cranberry sauce!) hope you enjoy the holiday! :)

Cathy said...

Thanks everyone -- hope that everyone has safe travels and a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Audrey -- there is no way I am going to be able to hold out until June to try that strawberry/ice cream/rum concoction. This is not like one of those fixed "don't wear white shoes before Memorial Day" rules, is it? If I want to try it, say, next week (hypothetically) I won't be committing some kind of egregious food etiquette violation, will I? (Thanks for that great recipe!)

Duckie, I am a lawyer, in the "Herbie, the Elf Who Really Wanted to Be a Dentist" tradition (on the off chance that you happen to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer sometime in December).

Steph said...

I would love sitting beside you on a plane. I'm sure you would make the ride so much fun with all your witty comments and funny jokes.

n.o.e said...

Me again. I heard a news story on NPR today about the dedicated family lanes at the security checkpoints at "every" airport in the US. Did you get to use one of those? My daughter told me that there was no such line at the two lane security point she went through (she was behind a family, apparently) but NPR made it sound like a great deal for every traveler.

Also we found a great use for some of that rum! It will be in one of my next posts (whenever I get all of our Thanksgiving cooking blogged).

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

Drink the rum. For medicinal purposes of course.

Flourchild said...

ahhhh so sorry about your poor little finger and your pie mishaps. I hope your TG was good.

Liz said...

Oh no, your finger sacrificed itself for the pie! Glad to hear it's recovering nicely. :) As one who also had an underbaked, underwhelming pie, I feel your pain. Onward and upward!

AmyRuth said...

LOL ...can you see my shoulders shaking up and down? You crack me up although I know you didn't laugh until long after you got off the plane. So sorry you have so much Excitement associated with this darn pie. Maybe some other day you'll try but I wouldn't blame you if you didn't. Chin up, a great story. Thank you for stopping by and just glad you came home safely at least.

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