Cheryl’s Cuisine: November 2020

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

What a year 2020 has been!!!   As I’m contemplating Thanksgiving, and listening to the evening news, I’m wondering if it will be a “traditional family” Thanksgiving or “Covid” Thanksgiving.  Cautions are already being issued against large family gatherings for Thanksgiving. 

One thing I know for sure…even if there are small family gatherings, the meal will end with what I call a “Pie Fest.” Pies seem to be the favorite dessert to close out the evening of celebration. Other years I have served Cranberry Refrigerator Dessert, Apple Pie, Lemon Lush, Blueberry Pie and Mincemeat Pie.  However, this year I’m already working on a new pie menu.  

Yes, you can make your own pie crust, however, for testing sake, I use Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts.  Sandra Lee, author of Semi-Homemade Series, urges people to use these pie crusts, but brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar before pre-baking them for a “more homemade” taste.  Works for me.

So here are the recipes I’m working with for the upcoming 2020 Pie Fest:

Sugar Cream Pie:

1/4 cup butter
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In medium saucepan add butter and whipping cream.  Heat over medium heat and whisk constantly.  Once butter is melted, add cornstarch and sugar.  Continue whisking until mixture thickens.  Once filling begins to boil, allow to boil for 1 full minute.  It should be the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and pour into baked pie crust, which has been cooled. Refrigerate.

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Butter Pecan Pumpkin Pie:

1 quart butter pecan ice cream, softened
1 – 9″ pastry shell, baked and cooled
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. each ground cinnamon, and nutmeg
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
1/2 cup chocolate ice cream topping (optional)

Spread ice cream into baked, cooled pie crust; freeze for 2 hours or until firm.  In small bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; fold in whipped cream. Spread over ice cream.  Cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm.  May be frozen for up to 1 month.  Remove from freezer 15 minutes before slicing.  Drizzle with chocolate ice cream topping, if desired.

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Sweetie Pie:

Pastry for single-crust pie
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate pieces or semisweet chocolate pieces (I use milk chocolate)
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup butterscotch-flavored pieces
1 cup pecan halves
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Line a 9″ pie plate with pastry.  Make a double thickness of foil and line pastry.  Bake in preheated 375 ° oven for 10 minutes.   Remove foil.  Cool slightly on wire rack.  Meanwhile in small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and melted butter; toss to mix well.  Spread cracker mixture evenly over bottom of partially baked pie crust. Over the cracker mixture, evenly layer finely chopped pecans, 1 cup of chocolate pieces, the coconut, butterscotch pieces, the remaining chocolate pieces and pecan halves. 

Gently pour condensed milk over entire pie.  Bake in 375 ° oven about 30 minutes or until condensed milk turns golden brown.  Cool on wire rack for at least 1 hour.  Cover and refrigerate.

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Harvest Pie:

Pastry for single pie crust
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. finely shredded orange peel
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
5 medium Jonathan apples or other cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 5 cups)
3 Tbsp. orange juice
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Prepare pie crust and line 9″ pie plate.  For topping: In medium mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar.  Beat until well combined.  Beat in 2/3 cup flour.  Mixture will be crumbly.  Stir in walnuts and set aside.  

For filling: In small bowl combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour, cinnamon, vanilla, orange peel and nutmeg.  Set aside.  In large bowl, sprinkle apples with orange juice.  Add sugar-cinnamon mixture and cranberries.   Gently toss until coated.  Transfer apple mixture into pastry-lined pie plate. Sprinkle topping over apple mixture, mounding high (topping will be generous).  To prevent overbrowning, loosely cover pie with foil.  Place in shallow baking pan as it may drip over.  Bake in preheated 375° oven for 40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake 20-25 minutes more or until fruit is tender and filling bubbly.  Cool on wire rack.

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Bourbon Pumpkin Pie:

Pastry dough for single 9-10″ pie plate
1-15 oz. can pure pumpkin
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. bourbon
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. salt

Line pie plate with pastry dough. Lightly prick all over with a fork.  Chill at least 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375° with rack in middle of oven.  Line shell with foil.  Bake until side is set and edge is golden, about 20 minutes.  Carefully remove foil and bake shell until golden all over, 10-15 minutes more.  Cool completely.

Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour into cooled shell.  Bake until edge of filling is set but center trembles slightly, about 45 minutes.  Note:  Filling will set as it cools.  Cool completely on a rack.  Note: Pie can be baked ahead and chilled.  Bring to room temperature before serving or rewarm slightly.

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French Silk Chocolate Pie:

Refrigerated pie crust for one 9″ pie plate
3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1 cup butter, softened (Do not use margarine)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs

Topping:
1/2 cup sweetened whipped cream
Chocolate curls, if desired

Preheat oven to 450°.  Bake pie crust for 9-11 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Cool completely on wire rack.  

In 1 quart saucepan, melt chocolate over low heat; cool.  In medium bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy.  Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla until well blended.  Add eggs, one at a time,  beating 2 minutes on high speed after each addition; beat until mixture is smooth and fluffy.  Pour filling into cooled crust.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.  Garish with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

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