It’s beginning to look a lot like Thanksgiving!

This is without doubt, my most favorite holiday. Massive quantities of food. No presents, no drama – just food.  Perfect.

We actually started the cooking a couple of days ago with an Egg Nog Cheesecake. Yeah – sounds pretty outrageous, eh?!?  I’ll get a picture and the recipe posted this weekend.  It needs the final egg nog and whipped cream topping…  I mean…  I could take a picture right now but…  I’ll wait until it’s done…

Yesterday I made pie dough.  Today we baked pies.  I’ve been making the same pie dough forever and I find it infinitely easier than trying to unfold or unroll something from the frozen food section of the store.  Any time I’ve gotten a pre-made crust I’ve ended up having to do something with them, anyway.  Might as well start off with real butter and go for it.


Pie Dough

for a double crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 lb butter, frozen
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Using a food processor, add flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse to mix.

Chop up frozen butter and add. Pulse until butter is incorporated and mixture looks grainy.

Slowly add ice water and pulse until mixed.

Turn out onto counter. Press and form mixture into 2 disks . Wrap in plastic and refrigerate about an hour to allow the flour to properly absorb the water and to relax the gluten.

Roll out crust and place in pie plate. Crimp edges and fill.


The Pumpkin Pies were our basic add-a-bit-of-maple-syrup recipe.  It really adds a nice touch.

Pumpkin Pie

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups – or 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked 10″ pie shell
  • Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425°. Beat eggs, sugar, maple syrup, and spices in large bowl. Add pumpkin amd mix well. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425° F. for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Top with whipped cream before serving.

And then the nut and cranberry pie…

Four Nut Cranberry Pie

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Lyle’s syrup – or light corn syrup
  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out pie crust and place in deep-dish pie plate. Gently press into place. Fold overhang under crust and crimp edges. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

Line pie crust with foil and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake until crust is set, about 15 minutes. Remove foil and beans and continue baking until crust just begins to color, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Meanwhile, toast nuts until just golden, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Mix brown sugar, light corn syrup, butter, eggs, molasses, vanilla and salt. Stir in toasted nuts and cranberries. Pour filing into prepared crust. Bake until center of filling is set, about 45 minutes.

Cool and serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Crostatas are pies that you make on a cookie sheet instead of a pie plate.  They’re super-easy because they’re free-form. And no matter how they look – it’s how they’re supposed to look.  I’ve made variations on a crostata for years.  You can go crazy with it adding nuts, raisins, and such or keep it simple as I did, today.  I did use a splash of Amaro Massagli a liquore from Lucca we brought back from vacation.

Pear Crostata

  • 4 pears, peeled, cored and cubed
  • splash liquore of choice
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 oz butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400°.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Roll dough out to about a 13″ circle and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pile pear mixture into center of dough and bring dough up over the filling.

Bake about 35 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

The Pumpkin Cake is a take on the cake I made last week – without the cranberries.  I split the layers and filled them with leftover pumpkin mousse I made for Leah’s baby shower.  The Pumpkin Mousse was really just pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger folded into whipped cream.  Really basic but also really yummy.

I know this holiday intimidates the hell out of some people, but I just can’t think of a way to have more fun!

Happy Thanksgiving!