Our family is fairly consistent year-to-year in what we have at Thanksgiving dinner - there's something about tradition, I suppose. We had turkey, stuffing, green beans, apple-herb rolls, kidney bean salad, homemade cranberry sauce, roasted carrots and parsnips, and sweet potato casserole. Dessert consisted of two pies and cranberry mousse.
My sister and I were assigned desserts, and everyone knows that it's not Thanksgiving without pie! Hopefully these two pies (plus a bonus dessert!) will partly make up for the baking pie-atus (get it?) I've been on as of late. We were charged with making an apple pie, a pumpkin pie, and cranberry mousse (my favorite holiday dessert - and SUPER easy to make).
|maple pumpkin pie|
The pie fillings came from our two households - I had a bag of apples in the fridge that weren't quite fall-crisp enough for eating, G had already bought a can of pumpkin filling (in a future year I really want to cook down a pumpkin or squash to use as the base); a quick trip to the store on the way to G's house yielded remaining ingredients for the pies and the mousse.
One recipe called for a store-bought pastry, the other for a basic flaky pie crust; doubling the flaky crust recipe was just as easy (and conveniently already written out in the crust section of the book) and I try to avoid store-bought crusts when at all possible. The crusts were mixed, divided, and put in the freezer to firm up while the fillings were prepared.
When baking time came, the crust for the pumpkin pie was pre-baked, the cranberry-apple crust was rolled out and formed to the pie plate. The pre-baking was almost successful; my baking beans (weight for holding down foil that helps the crust keep its shape while pre-baking) didn't survive the move, and the best we could do at G's was to place a small casserole dish on the foil. The crust did sag a little bit, but I coaxed it up as it cooled.
The Simplest Cranberry-Apple Pie.
When flipping through the apple section of the pie book I had a sense I wanted to add
cranberries to the pie - cranberries are very Thanksgiving-y, after all - and ended up finding the recipe in the section, "Cranberry, Pear, Pumpkin, and Other Classic Fall Pies," along with the pumpkin pie recipe.
This recipe called for fresh cranberries, a couple of large (or, in our case, six small) apples, some sugar, lemon juice, and flour; the pie was topped with a crumb crust - flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Definitely simple. While at the store I even happened to find Vermont cranberries. Score! I had no idea that cranberries were harvested in Vermont.
|local apples & cranberries!|
|cranberries, chopped apples, sugar|
Maple Pumpkin Pie.
Maple and pumpkin - yum. This is a pretty standard pumpkin pie, and called for eggs, light cream OR half-and-half, maple syrup, vanilla, brown sugar, flour, spices, salt and canned pumpkin puree (squash would work as well - and sometimes gives an even better taste).
|maple pumpkin pie ingredients|
|mixin' the fillin'|
But wait, there's more! A bonus dessert: Cranberry Mousse. This dessert has been a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for as long as I can remember, and a number of years ago I took over making this dessert. Mom still has the original recipe, courtesy of Ocean Spray, taped to an index card. The ingredients are simple - cranberry juice, raspberry jello, a can of cranberry sauce (jellied, not chunky), and heavy cream. The cranberry juice is simmered, the jello dissolved, and the cranberry sauce mixed in. This goes into the fridge to set until cool and thickened. The heavy cream is whipped and folded into the thickened cranberry-raspberry mixture, and the mousse is chilled until completely set. Sooooo good.
|cranberry goodness. . .|
All in all it was a lovely Thanksgiving spent with family and good food, and the pies went over well. Plenty to be thankful for this year!