Sunday, November 28, 2004

Thanksgiving recap

Thanksgiving was: friends, relatives and pies, pies, pies! (The turducken breast was nice, but not very Thanksgiving-y. Next year, back to the regular bird.)

Sally brought three pies: mincemeat (not Crosse and Blackwell mincemeat, but the real thing from de Laurenti's at the Pike Place Market); four-nut pie (from a Greg Atkins recipe in the Seattle Times Sunday Magazine); and Japanese squash pie. I made traditional pumpkin pie with 2/3 the sugar and used a new pie crust recipe that turned out to be just fabulous. It includes rice vinegar, which imparts a lovely, flakey lift to the crust.

Here's the crust recipe from Puyallup Fair prize-winning baker Carol Lagasca, as published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

No-Fail Pie Crust
(makes four single crusts for 9-inch pies)

1 egg
1 TBSP rice vinegar
4 TBSP cold water
3 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup Crisco
1/4 cup butter

  • Mix egg, rice vinegar, and cold water; set aside.

  • Mix flour and salt. Add Crisco and butter, mix with fork or pastry cutter until coarse and gritty.

  • Poke a hole in the middle of the flour mixture, and add liquid mix, a little at a time. Form into large ball.

  • Divide into four equal parts. Roll each crust out on a floured board.

  • I made one pie, a couple mini pies for another household's Thanksgiving, and used one crust to make little flower-shaped piecrust "cookies" to decorate all the other pies. Since pumpkin pies have no top crust to decorate, I baked the flowers on a cookie sheet (20 minutes) and dropped them on the pumpkin pies when those came out of the oven. Next year I hope to have a set of leaf-shaped cookie cutters to make fancier decorations.

    After Thanksgiving I took the extra raw cranberries and dipped them in sweet Dolci Frutta dipping chocolate (usually used to make chocolate strawberries). The contrast of sour cranberry and ultra-sweet chocolate is a real kick. (If you make this, be sure to use fresh, crunchy cranberries.)

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