Funny thing happened. I spent some time the last couple of days writing a blog post, only to have one I wrote this time last year pop up on my Facebook “share your memories.” It was way too similar, all about turkey or sides; you know that great consideration, of which I fall on the side of the sides. Turkey is merely a vehicle for the go-withs. I thought, “Would it be plagiarism if I wrote the post?” Anyway, those 500 words got ditched in lieu of the dessert board.
Since Thanksgiving is only a few days away it’s time to bring out the mixing bowls, pastry mats and rolling pins for the flour-flying-pie-baking undertaking, which will happen tomorrow with a little assistance from one of my granddaughters.
Pumpkin everything has really dominated as the holiday norm, and don’t get me wrong, pumpkin pie is the bomb, but there are other glorious pies out in pie-land.
Nut pies with their gooey brown sugar-corn syrup goodness are rich and decadent. And being from Oregon where hazelnuts reign supreme, they’re often the nut of choice. Tangy-tart cranberries – again grown in bogs on the Oregon coast – spiked with fragrant orange zest have just the right amount of pucker power. Pears with slivered almonds are delicate when placed into a flaky tart, or the humble all-American apple pie with big buttery crumbs on top.
In his book, “The Anatomy of Dessert,” Edward Bunyard expresses this sentiment: “It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption.”
With that in mind, perfectly ripened fruit, roasted nuts and pungent cheese would be a lovely end to the bounteous dinner.
For our big family gathering, there will be several pies and tarts to sample; including the ubiquitous pumpkin with brown sugar, freshly ground nutmeg and daubs of whipped cream. Tomorrow’s baking project will be a new recipe which marries a pumpkin and pecan pie, maybe with a shot of booze in the filling. If time lends itself, I’ll nestle a cranberry-orange pie up to the spice-filled custards, offering a stark contrast in flavors.
So for all of us whose first choice isn’t pumpkin pie, I hope you’ll give cranberry a try, or the fruit and cheese option.
- 3 cups cranberries, rinsed and sorted (12 ounces)
- ¼ cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur or orange juice
- 2 teaspoons finely zested orange peel
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- Butter and lightly flour a deep 10 inch pie plate. Place cranberries in the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle with walnuts and ½ cup sugar.
- In mixing bowl combine melted butter, eggs, liqueur or juice, orange zest, sugar and flour. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over cranberries.
- Bake in a 325 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean and top is golden brown. Cool pie on a wire rack. Cover and chill to store. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Cheers, my friends and Happy Thanksgiving –