Yes, I have saved the best for last…the finale of the feast…DESSERT! At my family’s Thanksgiving Feasts, we pretty much need a separate, equally sized buffet for the sweets. A single taste of each will cause any ‘dessert sized’ plate to overflow…don’t be shy, go with a dinner plate here! Pies, cheesecakes, yummy bars, candied nuts…mmmmmm! You cannot imagine the concoctions my brilliant Jedi-Master-of-cooking Mom comes up with! Her cheesecakes put “The Factory” to shame! And her pies…Lord, her pies are divine! Talk about an amazing twist on an old-standby…classic pecan pie with dark Dove chocolates shoved in here & there…yes it is THAT delicious!
For me, I will be making 3 pies for this feast…Pumpkin (of course), Pecan (this is a Southern Thanksgiving, duh!), and an Apple (darling husband’s favorite). My pumpkin pie recipe comes right off of the Libby’s canned pumpkin label…obviously I don’t make it from scratch…but it is delicious. I have never made a pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin…nor do I intend to, plenty of other things are from scratch…this is where a “Semi-homemade” approach is perfect. The pecan pie has been in my family forever, best I’ve ever tasted…you will find the recipe on my RECIPES page.
Apple pie…the American classic…I really don’t think you can mess one of these up, ingredients wise (you can burn it, though…so I’ve heard lol). My Aunt Michelle and I have spent many late nights baking apple pies…what we learned over the years:
- The apple corer, peeler, slicer thing-a-ma-jig is AWESOME & a HUGE time-saver!
- you can’t have too much butter or vanilla
- a bit of lemon juice is a MUST
We use a mix of apples…always some Granny Smiths…and another sweet, firm apple (I love Pink Ladies). After our thingy gets the apples prepped in a flash, we put all of the uniformly sliced apples in a mixing bowl and add all of the other ingredients in, give it a mix & let it sit while we get the crusts ready…you are gonna need a tablespoon or so of flour to thicken the filling…and some spices (cinnamon, nutmeg…whatever floats your boat) & sugars (we use granulated & brown). Keep reading for my ‘secret’ to a great pie crust.
Now you know I like my food to be pretty…so I always make sure to have extra crust for decorating…I have these super cute little pastry cutters that are in Thanksgiving themed shapes (a couple of leaves, an apple, a turkey…I love them!) from one of my all-time favorite stores, Williams-Sonoma (I used to live 10ish miles from an outlet…I miss that!) this is the new version of mine.
Today’s secret revealed…I use pillsbury pie crusts…they come rolled up & are perfectly delicious. There are times that there is no substitute for ‘from scratch’, for me pie crusts is not one of those. I will add that I have tried the ‘store brand’ pie crusts, they look the same but just aren’t as good.
A few more ‘secrets’…frozen veggies ROCK! Don’t forget about your crock-pot for sides…crock pot mac ‘n cheese is scrumptious! The frozen yeast rolls by Rhodes…like the pie crusts, I’ve gone to the effort of making them from scratch…these are a delicious substitute, not worth the effort in my humble (but slightly food-snobbish) opinion.