Wednesday, November 21, 2012
It Is All About the Pies
When the boys were little we invited our best friends over to our house for a communal Thanksgiving dinner. They brought half of the food, we supplied the other half. Following dinner we went "Thanksgiving Caroling"! Hah! I bet you've never heard of that before!
We walked through our neighborhood, stopping at about a half dozen homes and sang the following, to the tune of "Frère Jacques". Go ahead, try it... it's fun!
Turkey and muffins.
One foot wide.
We were all much thinner
Before we came to dinner.
Me, oh, my!
Me, oh, my!
And, once you've mastered the song... you can sing it in a round with your best friend! Isn't it amazing how a person will do something really silly, or daring, or something totally stupid with a friend standing beside them?
Anyway, today is "get ready to make pies" day. I am in charge of a pumpkin and an apple pie for our "sort of" family dinner. I always use the pumpkin pie recipe on the back of the can. That's how my mom made it, and I always loved it, so why make any changes?! (One year I did make a pumpkin cheesecake with a carrot cake crust... and that was delicious- but oh, so much more work!)
Usually I make a plain Jane pie crust, or, oh horrors! buy a frozen crust. This year I am trying something a bit different... I am going to use some coconut oil in the pie crust.
You see, I just received a sample of the Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions to use and review. That is a whole 'nuther' post, by itself, so tune back in later to read all about it! But, it seemed timely that the sample arrived just in time to make the crust. So... why not?! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
And the other pie.... last year I baked Grandma Ople's Apple Pie and received raves. So... why do anything different? Well, actually, I want to make a different crust for the pie. I want to use an all butter crust with almonds. I thought the subtle taste of almonds, from the almond flour, might be interesting. So... off to the kitchen I go...
The coconut oil is quite firm and has a slight odor of coconut. I scooped out the required amount, breaking it into smaller pieces, and added an equal amount of cut up unsalted butter. I placed the bowl in the fridge for a bit to get everything well-chilled. After whirring the flour and butter/coconut oil combination in the food processor I mixed in the ice cold water. Curiously, it took almost double the water than the recipe called for, and when I made the other pie crust dough, it also took more water to get the flour/fat mixture to clump together. I wonder if the very arid climate in Colorado contributes to that?
I baked samples of the coconut oil crust, the almond crust and traditional butter crust, so that Mr. Dreamy and I could taste test them.
Mr. Dreamy said he couldn't taste a difference between the three. I also did not tell him what the differences were until he had finished tasting. I could taste a hint of the coconut oil. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't taste any of the almond. Only 20% of the flour mixture is almond flour, however, so perhaps if I used a bit more it would make a difference. The traditional crust, one I had made earlier and frozen, was simply butter, flour, salt and water. I could really taste the buttery richness in it.
The coconut oil pastry was the flakiest of the three samples. The traditional pastry shrank more than the others. The coconut oil pastry may have been a touch darker in color.
Making and tasting the different pie dough was fun. Tomorrow I will bake the pies in the morning before we head over the river and through the woods.... well, maybe over the highway and through the traffic would be a more apt description!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
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