Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving Post In December - You're Welcome

Guiseeee. I didn't even get to tell you about how my Thanksgiving pies turned out yet. I am super late on this. I know. So here's what happened:

This is the Mile High Apple Pie I made the crust for in the last pie post. On the left is the photo from the Martha Stuart web site, and on the right is my pie. You can see the top of my pie popped open a little. My cuts on top might have been to close together. My sister suggested that maybe I put the entire pie in the freezer one more time before the oven to make sure the dough stays put as much as possible. I'll try that technique next time I make the pie. Maybe next year?

This is the Buttermilk Pie I made alongside the apple pie. It might be safe to say that the buttermilk pie was actually more of a hit than the huge apple pie. Maybe it was less intimidating to the people who say they only want a little piece and make a face when I actually cut a little piece? I'm not sure, but it was more than half eaten before we even left Grandma's on Thanksgiving day, and was gone only two days later. There is actually one piece of the apple pie left in the fridge right now. Maybe I'll finish it off tonight at dinner.

So first things first, I have to brag about how much stuff I got done on Thanksgiving Eve. I had a custom laser cutting order to work on Friday morning, so I HAD to get wood from Lowes on Wednesday. They would be closed Thanksgiving Day and I didn't want to even step foot in a big box store on the morning of Black Friday. So I had to get this sheet of wood Wednesday. I also had to get my hair cut and make both pies before the kitchen at our house got overrun by our other resident cook: my sister. She had like 5 full dishes to make for the big turkey day, so a reasonable person couldn't expect to have the entire island cleared and deep cleaned to herself when sharing a kitchen with the main TG entree cooker. I also was going to a wedding Saturday and needed shoes and a bag to go with the navy dress (everything I own is black!) I was wearing to match my boyfriend's suit. (He wanted to match and I couldn't resist his adorable request.) I ended up going to Lowes over my lunch break at work because I couldn't foresee another time to go. We only get a half hour for lunch and it ended up taking an hour to get the plywood because I made the guy at Lowes cut it verrrrrrryyyyyy sllllllooooooooly so the wood wouldn't splinter. I needed this plywood, ok?

I get out of work at 4 pm and I needed to be at my hair appointment (had to cut my slight mullet before the Saturday wedding) by 5:30 pm. My sister was working from home but wouldn't get into the heavy cooking until after she was done working at 5 pm, so my window was 4-5 pm to clear the island, soap it up, rinse, and dry and then roll out the three sheets of dough I needed. *deep breath* I got it all done. It was perfect timing because after rolling out all the dough, it needed to go into the refrigerator to chill. I did this while I was at my haircut and came back ready to cut some apples. One thing I will do differently next time is do a better job at covering the dough when it went back in the fridge. Two of the three rounds went into dishes so they didn't need to be worked again after being chilled, but the top of the apple pie dried out in the slightest and cracked a little when I was laying it over the pan. A minor issue, but still I'll try to remember for next time. 

This is the first apple pie I've ever made so I've never known the pain and agony of peeling, slicing, and coring 14 apples, but I can imagine it. And I definitely didn't want to experience it, so I bought an apple slicer/peeler/corer at the store when doing the supply shopping the night before. Oh Market District, you are so clever with your product placement. It was right next to the tart apples. Had I not seen it in the days before the big shopping trip I might not have given any thought to buying an apple peeler. However, earlier in the week I saw it next to the apples. I knew I was making this pie, and a seed was planted. I even discussed the necessity of buying such a contraption with my office mate in the days leading up to the purchase. Conscious consumer right here.

The peeler worked like a dream and I was able to produce this bowl of apples in about 10 minutes. The only downside is because all apples are a little different, it's hard to line up the core exactly. Make the coring circle larger to have a better chance of aiming for the core and you waste more apple. It wasn't a big deal to cut out a little core here and there. 

A little tip: don't forget to put the peeler blade back down after loading an apple or you will have a big apple coil with peel on it. No, you cannot run it back through. Both my dad and sister asked me this question when I showed them what I had done.

Next I added the spices. The list of items for the filling of this pie were very, very simple. Apples, white sugar, cinnamon, and flour. That was it! Pretty nice because I don't like to buy a bunch of extra supplies just to use 1/8 of a teaspoon of something. I needed a much bigger bowl to mix this all together. Next time I might only add a bit of the mixture at a time so it doesn't all fall to the bottom of the apples. This happened and I couldn't really get to it.

Next step was the toughest because there were so many apples. Piling them all into the crust was harder than it looks, a balancing act. The sight of a huge pile of apples in a crust was what I had been looking forward to this whole time. Something about that imagery is, IMO, the epitome of baking an apple pie, the pinnacle of the project. My first apple pie. The pride.

Next step is to add butter to the pie so when it bakes it will melt all over the apples. I'm getting hungry.

Finally, the top of the pie goes on. Like I said before, I would have liked to cover the crust a bit better because it had dried slightly. I struggled a little to get the top of the pie to lay flat over the apples. It behaved sort of like a floppy hat. Pull the sides down, and the front and back pop out, and vice versa. Looking back, I may have been able to put the top of the pie on and let the room temperature and gravity take care of things for me.

I then folded over and crimped the edges of the pie, cut slits in the top, brushed it with egg yolks, and sprinkled it with sugar. The two photos on the left are before the egg yolk and sugar, the top right is after.

While the apple pie was in the oven I started working on the buttermilk pie. There really isn't much to this recipe. It's just a few basic ingredients mixed together, poured into the crust, and sprinkled on nutmeg. I actually really enjoyed working on this pie in contrast to the more labor intensive/high maintenance apple pie. I will keep this one in mind next time I want to make a really great, easy pie. Also, the nutmeg was an excellent touch.

Ta DAA! The apple pie came out of the oven just right.

So did the buttermilk pie.

Here are some more pictures of the apple pie after we cut into it. The pie was definitely better a day or two after we baked it.

I would 100% make either of these pies again. The apple was awesome, such a classic taste. The ratio of apples to crust was perfect. I was also very happy with the buttermilk pie. It was somewhat like a cross between a cheesecake and a sweet ricotta cheesecake. I'm really looking forward to the next apple pie during Christmastime. This one will be a spiced apple pie, so I'm expecting it to be quite different from our Thanksgiving apple pie. Keep an eye out!

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