I can’t believe it is already November. It is one of the busiest months of the year with the election tomorrow, Food and Wine Chef Showcase and CHILL next week. (And for those of you who have asked which Presidential candidate I am supporting….I can only give you a hint…it is a man.)
November is also home to the biggest food event of the season….Thanksgiving!!!!
I love when people talk to me about this holiday. Some people go into long history lessons about Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims. (I actually know some of this history because the Brady Bunch AND the Waltons did an episode on it.)
Other people talk about how they are so lucky in their lives and are grateful for so many things in their lives. (I know this is where the sentiment is supposed to be but it tends to make me a little gaggy.)
I wish someone would just say what I believe so that I wouldn’t feel so shallow….it is about the FOOD!!!! (I do have a lot to be grateful for but I am grateful every day!)
There are very few people I know that skip the massive feast. It is part of the tradition of the holiday. (Another part of the tradition is complaining,,,oh wait, am I the only one who does that?)
So as many of you know, MY tradition is to celebrate Thanksgiving-giving on the Sunday of the time change. It is a great way to test new recipes, make some of your favorites that won’t be served at your mother in law’s house (first jab at MIL for the season if you are keeping track) and, most importantly, practice making gravy from scratch!
My big recipe test this weekend was to make a pumpkin pie with a homemade, duck fat piecrust. I had tasted a pie like this at Chicago Gourmet and have been craving it ever since.
The challenge…there really aren’t a lot of recipes out there for duck fat piecrust. (Another challenge is finding a duck that needs liposuction so you can render all of it’s luscious fat.)
I dove right into making it yesterday morning (which is how I spent my extra hour) and must say I wasn’t disappointed in my results. My pie will never win any beauty contests but as one of my friends pointed out to me…it is what is on the inside that counts!
Classic Pumpkin Pie in a Duck Fat Crust
Crust (makes 1)
1 ¼ cups flour
2 Tbsp rendered duck fat
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, chilled, cut up into small, small pieces
2 Tbsp ice water
In a food processor, pulse the flour, duck fat, sugar and salt until it looks like consistency of cornmeal.
Add the butter slowly, piece by piece and pulse after each piece.
Drizzle in the water …slowly..pulse until the dough comes together.
If it doesn’t hold together, add a little more water.
Pat the dough into a disk in plastic wrap, wrap it up tightly and place into the fridge for at least an hour. (I put mine in overnight)
On a floured surface, roll the dough into an EVEN 12 inch circle. (The best way to pick it up is to flop it over the rolling pin so you don’t stretch it out.)
Gently place the curst into a 9-inch pie pan. There will be some overhang, which should be folded over and crimped. (I fail miserably at this part.)
Pierce with a fork, cover again with plastic wrap and chill another hour. (All the chilling keeps the butter from breaking down.)
Set stove for 350 and take crust out of the fridge. Line the crust with foil and add some pie weights.
Bake until edges are golden, 20 minutes. Make sure you check on your crust so it isn’t burning or getting too brown.
Remove the weights and foil and bake another 10 minutes.
While the crust is cooling down mix the following filling and set aside…don’t over mix!
1 15-ounce can of pure pumpkin
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¾ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
(Optional: 1 egg and raw sugar for the crust)
Ding! The piecrust is cooled off. If you want a shiny crust edge, beat the one optional egg and brush on the crust edges. Sprinkle with raw sugar
Pour in the filling. And back for 55 minutes. The edges should be set and there will be a slight jiggle to the middle. (Very slight!!)
Set on a cooling rack and cool completely.
I must say as a person who doesn’t enjoy baking….making this pie was a great experience! I am glad that I did a test run before Thanksgiving to make sure the pie was all that it was “quacked” up to be!