I always make two pies for Thanksgiving, even though my family is so small and some of us are such tiny eaters that even one pie would likely still leave us with leftovers. One reason was because while I believe pumpkin pie to be an essential component of any Thanksgiving holiday, I am not especially fond of it, and so always wanted a dessert that I could enjoy as much as the rest of the meal. After years of making pumpkin pies for the rest of the family, incorporating various iterations such as caramel drizzles andwalnut streusels and gingersnap crumb crusts, I have finally developed an appreciation for plain old pumpkin pie, and my recipe of choice is from The Joy of Cooking cookbook.
Sesame-Almond Cookie Crust
makes enough for two 9-inch crusts
1 cup whole almonds (+ 2 tablespoons for streusel)
3/4 cup sesame seeds (+2 tablespoons for streusel)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces total) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds and sesame seeds on separate baking sheets and toast about 10 minutes (almonds will take about 12). Remove from oven and cool.
Combine cooled almonds and seeds with 1 cup flour in food processor and pulse to a fine grind. Add to stand mixer with remaining flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and lemon and blend. Using paddle attachment, add butter and mix on low until coarse and crumbly, about 3 minutes.
Whisk together eggs and vanilla and mix into dough just until combined. Divide dough into two pieces, pat into a flat circle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days (or freeze up to two months).
Once chilled, roll out one circle of dough into 12-inch round, lay into pie plate and crimp edge as desired. Freeze for 30 minutes, then fill with foil and pie weights, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes until golden.
Remove beans and foil and set crust aside to cool.
Note: This is a great video for how to make decorative crusts. I especially love the "wheat" border, because it seems so complicated until you watch how easy it is to make.
Harvest Pie Filling2 Granny Smith apples
2 bartlett pears
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon peeled, grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup cornstarch
Peel and core apples and pears, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Combine in large bowl with 1 cup sugar, cranberries, and lemon juice. Toss well and place into colander. Allow to juices to drain at room temperature for one hour.
In bowl, combine cornstarch, 1/2 cup sugar, and spices, then toss with drained fruit. Pack tightly into cooled crust and top with streusel topping.
Sesame-Almond Streusel Topping
2 tablespoons toasted whole almonds
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons white sugar
Coarsely chop almonds and cut together with butter, seeds, flour, oats, and sugar using pastry blender or your fingers.
Bake assembled pie at 350 degrees for 90 minutes and cool at least one hour before serving.