Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving pies

I love baking pie, far more than I like baking/ cooking anything else. I'm not sure why I find it so enjoyable. Perhaps it's because making pastry is a slightly delicate process, but also a forgiving process. I am always happy at Thanksgiving because I get to bake lots of pies (five this year, plus a caramel-pecan cheesecake): two regular pumpkin, the ginger-streusel pumpkin, pear, and a chocolate tart. It is a good thing that pie can be forgiving, because after hours of baking, you start to get a little stupid. Luckily, everything turned out well enough. My chocolate chemistry didn't quite succeed, but the tart was still tasty despite a slightly lumpy ganache. The pear pie was delicious although the almond, cookie-like crust was a bit of a bother (very crumbly and cranky). But in combination with the cardamom filling, it was well worth the trouble.

A few years ago I cooked nearly the entire Thanksgiving dinner for my family (in response to my mother's declaration that we should all just go to a restaurant). But I think she felt like her territory was being invaded, so now I am only allowed to take on certain portions of the dinner, which usually means dessert (which is fine by me--I'd rather bake a pie than baste a turkey). This year, mom even bristled a bit when I decided to cook some green beans (but what could I do?--she was going to serve canned beans!) It's funny to observe my mom's response to these holiday meals. She really doesn't like cooking, but she wants to maintain her role in the tradition.

In other Thanksgiving news, my lovely niece Frances Jane was born, joining me as a Thanksgiving baby. She wasn't as big as me (10 lbs., 11 oz.) but she did arrive with a respectable, feast-day appropriate weight (8 lbs., 14 oz.). I attribute much of my interest in food to the fact that my mom cooked the entire Thanksgiving dinner while in labor with me, so hopefully Frances will be equally enamored with food.


Blogger tara said...

Is that the caramel-pecan cheesecake from the latest issue of Chow, by any chance? It looks delicious.

I made a pumpkin-toffee cheesecake and even my sister, who normally won't eat pumpkin desserts, cleaned her plate. I also made the chocolate-cranberry tart you recommended and it was just as gorgeous as the Epicurious photo.

Fuller report on my dinner to come later. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

10:40 AM  
Blogger lis said...

It was the cheesecake from Chow, sort of. I had much trouble with the caramel (two tries and I still failed), so the caramel I used was a very easy recipe from Betty Crocker.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Five pies plus a cheesecake? Good grief! You are the Queen of Tarts!

I made the chocolate cranberry tart too! It was a big hit.

Happy birthday, Melissa, and congrats on a new niece.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Lisa B. said...

Happy birthday, belatedly!

My mother too doles out the Thanksgiving cooking. She said to me just prior to everyone digging in, "I think Thanksgiving is a little much, don't you?" And I'm thinking, "Uh, no!" This year I was entitled to make the dinner rolls and a green salad. I like to make pie, too, very much, and think I have perfected a sublime pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin, but unfortunately my family has turned against pumpkin pie. My sister made a pumpkin-y dessert which was good, but it wasn't pie. What the hell.

1:39 PM  

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