Garden Thyme: Thanksgiving Pie Recipes
Come prepared this Thanksgiving with more than your grocery store bought pumpkin pie. If you have a fall garden, you can use what you’ve harvested to create a delicious, organic pie. Here’s some pie recipes to knock your family’s socks off.
Pumpkin Pie with Real Pumpkin
For this year’s Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie, why not try it with a real pumpkin? Using real pumpkin in your pie creates a velvety, rich texture that is easy to whip up. If things go wrong, you can always pick up extra canned pumpkin from the grocery store.
Oftentimes large pumpkins are bred for size and not taste. Look for smaller pumpkins that say “Pie Pumpkins.” Because they are more dense, they have a richer taste and color. Some great pumpkin varieties include Baby Bear, Cinderella, Jarrahdale, and Dickinson. Look for pumpkins that have no blemishes and are heavy for their size. If you’re looking to use up some squash from your winter garden, they can work just as well in a pumpkin pie: kabocha, butternut, acorn, buttercup, honeynut, and delicata squash.
Pumpkin Puree Directions
Once you’ve got your pumpkin, you can make a pumpkin puree instead of the canned pumpkin.
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Using a sturdy serrated knife, cut the pumpkin into 5×5-inch pieces. With a large metal spoon, remove the seeds and strings. Discard the seeds or reserve them to make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.
2. Line a large baking pan with foil. Arrange the pumpkin pieces in a single layer, skin side up, in the pan. Cover with foil.
3. Bake the pumpkin, covered, for 1 hour or until the pulp is tender when poked with a fork. Let the pieces cool until easy to handle.
4. Use a metal spoon to scoop the pumpkin pulp from the rind. Place the pulp in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until smooth; this step is essential to achieve the correct consistency.
Once the puree filling is created, the rest is a quick job. Since real pumpkin can taste less sweet and more squash-like, you might want to add more spices and sugar, taste-testing as you go.
Mix Ingredients and Bake
1. In a large bowl combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, spices, and salt called for in your recipe.
2. Lightly beat the eggs with a whisk and whisk them into the pumpkin mixture just until combined.
3. Stir in the milk just until combined.
4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Transfer the prepared fresh pumpkin pie filling to the pastry crust. To prevent overbrowning, cover the edge of the pie with foil.
5. Bake the pie for 30 minutes, then remove the foil. Bake 25 to 30 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
6. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill within 2 hours for up to 2 days.
Best Apples for Apple Pie
Not all apples are created equal—at least not when it comes to making apple pie! While technically you can use any apple to make apple pie, that doesn’t mean you should. Some apples have too soft of a texture, resulting in apple sauce when cooked. Flavor is a big part of apple pie, and there are some apples out there that are pretty boring in flavor. If you want to spice things up for the holidays, be intentional about your apple choices. You can even mix a variety of apples together to create a more exciting flavor.
Here are some of our favorite apple varieties:
Granny Smith Apples
The tart, citrusy, acidity level of this type of apple compliments the sugar added in pie, and the firmness of the texture holds up substantially in pies. These apples can be found all year round, making them a great choice for pie anytime of the year.
This is Granny Smith’s cousin, and has a great sweet and tart flavor with even a hint of spice. The apple keeps its form during cooking, making it great for apple pie.
Pink Lady Apples
Also high in acid and sugar, this apple has a zingy taste that is the perfect combo of sweet and tart. An added bonus is that Pink Lady apples oxidize at a slower rate, meaning if you slice them up, and set them aside, they won’t brown as quickly.
These apples have a sweetness that develops in richness as they bake. The sweetness is compared to syrup, and the apple is juicy and crunchy enough to be a great pie filling.
The secret to an amazing apple pie is time. If you’re looking to make your apple pie a little more savory, mix the apples with brown sugar, granulated sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, allspice, and cardamom and then let the mixture sit between 1 and 3 hours. You can also boil apple cider and mix it with the liquid apple mixture, adding cornstarch to thicken.
Once the pie is in the oven, bake at 375° degrees for 1.5 to 2 hours. Once the mixture inside of the pie is boiling, take it out and let it sit for 4 hours. Allowing the pie mixture to sit overtime will cause the flavors to combine. Your pie will come out richer, juicier and even more amazing!