November 26, 2010

Stick a Fork In It

Mike and I spent this Thanksgiving snuggled up at home. We opted not to head to Michigan or Wisconsin this year. So that meant I wouldn't just be able to sit down to a Thanksgiving meal this year. This year, Mike and I were in charge of our own menu.

In light of this fact, and knowing our own culinary limits, we opted for some easy to prepare dishes: green beans from a can, pre-made rolls, store bought cranberry sauce, and a prosciutto-wrapped pork loin in lieu of turkey. Don't let the pork loin fool you. It's crazy easy to make. However, it wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving to me without mashed potatoes, and Mike felt the same way about pumpkin pie. Lucky for me, Mike makes awesome mashed potatoes. Unlucky for me, I was stuck making a pumpkin pie. My first ever attempt on a very high pressure pie making day.

So here I bring you, Amy's 15 easy steps for making pumpkin pie.

1.) Find the easiest pumpkin pie recipe you can.
God bless All Recipes. I was able to find two recipes that would do - both listing pre-made crust as an ingredient. God bless pre-made crust. So I used the ingredients from this recipe and added the amount of vanilla extract listed in this one. I thought the vanilla might add a little something.

2.) Thaw your crust. 
While pre-made crust is a gift from God and Trader Joe's, it still takes time. You can't just take it out of the freezer and start baking. It needs time to thaw. About 1.5 hours to be exact. I got a little impatient 45 minutes in and tried to see how pliable my crust was. It was not and snapped in half. Thankfully the pre-made crust I bought had two crusts in the box. I suggest you buy a package containing two pre-made pie crusts as well.

3.) Assemble ingredients.
Thankfully, I picked an easy recipe so this step did not take long.

4.) Place thawed pre-made crust in pie pan. 
This step is as simple as peeling back the cellophane layers that cover the pie crust and putting it in the pan. I tore a little bit of the excess crust off the edges to try and make them more even. I used the excess edges to fill in the spots on the bottom of the pan that seemed thinner.

5.) Attempt to get fancy.
This step entails taking a fork and trying to make pretty indentations on the rim of the pie crust. I tried. It looked ok. But I decided not to devote too much time to this. Ultimately I cared more how my pie tasted than how it looked.

6.) Try your best to ignore the cute dog making sad puppy eyes in the kitchen.
This will be difficult but you must press on. You have a pie to make!

7.) Break two eggs in a bowl and whisk them.
That's really it for this step. No witty commentary necessary. I honestly took longer taking a photo of this step then I spent actually doing it.

8.) Put all remaining ingredients in to the bowl and stir. 
I figured this might be where the recipe would get complicated, but much to my surprise, it was not. I thought I might have to mix things separately or add them in a certain order. Not so. Really this step is measure, dump and mix.

9.) Realize what time it is and open a bottle of wine.
In this case, it was 2:07 p.m. And the wine was this great bottle of Merlot that Mike and I got at the Leelanau Cellars while we were at Kristin and Galen's wedding.

10.) Pour contents of bowl into your pre-made crust.
I tasted the pie mixture just to make sure it tasted like pumpkin pie. Much to my surprise, it did, so I poured it in.

11.) Take your mom's advice and dig out your cookie cutters.

I was talking to my mom earlier in the morning. I told her of my planned attempt to make a pumpkin pie. She assured me making pumpkin pie was really easy and even suggested a way for me to jazz up my pie. Since I bought two pre-made crusts, she said I should take the one I didn't plan on using and put some crust leaves on the top. Genius! The only problem was out of my tub of 100 cookie cutters (also courtesy of my mom), I couldn't find a single leaf. I found cutters for trophies, fire trucks, bats, dinosaurs, but no leaves. I finally settled on the pumpkin cookie cutter. It made sense.

12.) Cut leftover crust and get to baking.
I cut my leftover crust and plopped my cutout smack dab in the middle of my pie. And then I held my breath hoping it wouldn't sink into my pie. It did not, so I shoved it into my pre-heated 425 degree oven and set my kitchen timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes the temperature needed to be turned down to 350 degrees. And since I'd been drinking wine, I knew I might need a reminder.

13.) Pet the dog that was making sad puppy eyes at you earlier. 
 Realize that sadly the puppy fell asleep sometime while you were making your pie.

14.) After 40 minutes, take the pie out of the oven.

Then stick a fork it in to see if it's done.

It is.

15.) Let the pie cool on a wire rack for at minimum 2 hours.

And in the meantime, eat your Thanksgiving dinner.

My dinner was quite good by the way. It wasn't traditional. There wasn't a turkey. There wasn't stuffing. There wasn't a green bean casserole. But there was me and my man sitting at our table and eating by candle light. That's not a practice we do often enough, so for that I gave thanks. And honestly, for so many other things. I have much to give thanks for. I hope you do too.


kelsalynn said...

First, my pie did not have a cookie cutter center; therefore, you win.

Second, every pie I bake from here on out, I assure you, will indeed have a cookie cutter center.

Third, love the parts about the dog- too funny! I was cracking up reading this post. Oh my word, you're a funny gal.

Happy Thanksgiving to you & Mike!

Anonymous said...

When you post photos of your activities it's always like you just fell out of Martha Stewart Living. It makes me think that 1) it's possible and 2) I should possibly hate you for making it look so easy/perfect.

Really beautiful photos of your pie prep, Amy. Love it! The pie was so yummy looking.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Dorrie said...

You even make a bowl with two eggs in it look good! Nice work as always Amy!