Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Day Countdown - Prep Day 2 - Fill Pies

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I wish you all wonderful memories with your families and delicious phoods in your tummies.

The desserts on my table this year will be apple pie, pumpkin pie, and sweet potato pie.

Because I don't like to serve anything I haven't tested out myself, I made miniature versions of the pies with some set aside filling.

Apple Pie - Filling adapted from Williams-Sonoma
Crust recipe can be found here

Apple Filling

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1⁄2-inch chunks
3⁄4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1⁄4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


1. Stir together the apples, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice and vanilla.

2. Let stand, stirring once or twice, for 20 minutes.

3. Spoon the apples and all the juices from the bowl into the pie shell, mounding the fruit slightly.

4. Fill the pre-baked (15 minutes) pie shell and top the apples with slabs of butter.

5. Cover the pie with rolled out pie crust. Cut slits on the top crust for steam to exit.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until the crust gets golden brown.

Pumpkin Pie - filling adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

1 (15-oz) can pumpkin puree
1 cup packed (7 oz) dark brown sugar
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
4 large eggs


1. Combine the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves. Transfer to a medium saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constatnly, until thick and shiny, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the cream and milk, return to a simmer briefly, then remove from the heat.

2. Whisk the eggs and slowly add the hot pumpkin mixutre.

3. Pour the filling into the pre-baked (15 minutes) crust. Bake at 400 degrees until the filling is puffed and lightly cracked around the edges and the center jiggles slightly when shaken, about 25 minutes.

4. Let the pie cool on a wire rack until the filling has set, about 2 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes), peeled and chopped into a 1/2-inch dice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpoe flour
3/4 cup full- or lowfat buttermilk


1. Pour 1 1/2 inches of water into a 3-quart stock part with a strainer basket suspended over it and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes, cover and steam until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Place the steamed sweet potatoes in a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Mash them into a smooth puree with a fork or potato masher. Add the butter, lemon juice if using, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula after each addition.

2. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a whisk, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until they’re a creamy lemon-yellow color, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the egg mixture to the sweet potato mixture and stir until the eggs are thoroughly incorporated and the filling is a consistent bright orange color. Add the flour a little at a time, stirring after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. Add the buttermilk and again stir until smooth and even.

3. With a cleaned whisk (or electric hand mixer), whisk the egg whites to soft peaks in a clean, dry bowl. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the sweet potato-buttermilk mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the prebaked crust and bake at 400 degrees on the middle rack of the oven until the center is firm and set, 35 to 40 minutes.

4. Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely on a rack. Serve at room temperature.

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