Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Pies

Last night I had a dream that my little sister Liz had been using my stash of unsalted butter. Do you remember my butter stash in the basement mini fridge next to my Dad's beer?

I don't remember the specifics of the dream, but I remember thinking afterward that this would be a good start to a movie about my life. It left me wondering if the situation in the dream had actually happened in real life... who would be in the wrong? Yes, butter is readily available at the store, but I got that butter ON SALE, and butter is actually kind of expensive if you're buying enough for 25 pie crusts. Plus I stashed it in the basement fridge, away from everything else for a very clear reason. On the other hand, do I really want to fight about butter? My life is a constant struggle over what to worry about and not worry about. Sometimes I exhaust myself. Yes, we are still talking about a dream.


So today I am deciding what pies to make next. Thanksgiving is coming up and I am going to knock at least two pies off of my list. Maybe three... probably two. I just spent the last half hour deciding which two pies to make. There's a lot to think about here. If I choose two standard holiday pies, that will be ok but will that leave me with the obscure holiday pies from the list for Christmas? The horror. Also, I am seriously reconsidering the choice I made to make the specified pie crust for each pie recipe. If I somewhat coordinate what crusts are most similar and make them together in one batch, or make two pies that call for the same crust recipe, a very rare occurrence in this situation, am I making things easier? There's just a lot to think about.

After some thought I've decided to make the Mile High Apple Pie and Alexis's Sweet Potato Pie. Apple pie is a no-brainer. I'll do one for Christmas too. There are two on the list. This pie is a deep dish pie though, so now I need to go to the store to get a special pie dish. My mom is with me at Panera, and has a credit card. This is a good time to go.

Mile High Apple Pie
Alexis's Sweet Potato Pie

***a few hours later***

I made both crusts for the pies tonight. It went really well actually. I learned an insanely important rule about dough making last time, which is use as little water as possible, and it was in the forefront of my mind when making these batches.

First part is always chop up the butter and get it in the fridge right away so it can start to chill. For the first batch, The Mile High Apple Pie, I used 3 sticks of butter. The rest of the crust recipe can be found here. This is probably the largest crust recipe my food processor can take. For Alexis's Sweet Potato Pie I only needed half of the corresponding dough recipe.

The next part of every pie dough recipe is to put all the dry ingredients into the food processor and mix it up. The photo on the left is the dry ingredients for the Mile High Apple Pie before being mixed and before adding butter. The photo on the right is the result you're looking for after adding butter to the dry ingredients, but this is a picture of the mix for Alexis's Sweet Potato Pie. The first batch was so large after mixing that I had to scoop it out of the bowl as soon as the lid came off, before I could get a picture. (No smoke and mirrors here.) The last step is to add a very small amount of ice cold water to the mix until the dough forms together when you pinch it. Last time I made dough, I added all the water to the mix before realizing the goal is to use as little as possible. I paid for that one later when rolling it all out. My dough was a little sticky.

Here's the result from the two recipes. One is clearly very large because it is for a deep dish double pie crust. This just means that there will be crust underneath and on top like a lid. The other one is for a regular size pie with an open face. Overall, this was a successful endeavor. I feel good knowing the pie crusts are done and ready to be filled. On Tuesday I will likely bake the crusts so that Wednesday I can focus entirely on making the fillings.

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