Well Happy Weekend it is! Thankful for a week off. Oh yeah!!! My little mom job at the school comes with perks of getting all the days off that the kids have off. So what am I going to do with all this extra time?!? For one, I am gonna post like a crazy lady here!! I still don’t know what I am doing but whatever! I am going to keep winging it. Eventually it will make sense. 😉
So it’s officially the weekend before Thanksgiving. Time to get that grocery list made and face the music and maniacs at the market. I live in a small town where our food comes from either Jewel or Aldi. I hit Sam’s Club or Costco when we are having really big parties. However this Thanksgiving, I might be able to keep it totally local since there’s only a few that I am hosting.
I am in my glory with a holiday as big as Thanksgiving. Like I live for this. When I was a little girl I would watch the great Julia Child every weekend on WTTW channel 11 on the little white tv in the kitchen. This little box of a tv is where we grew up. Let me just say that tv is so old, we watched The Jackson Five on it. My sister has it now in her kitchen and it still works! Stations like MeTv rock because they air the shows that we were watching on it back in the day.
Anyway, watching Julia inspired me at a very young age. I thought she reminded me of my Grandma Elvira, who turned 100 this year! She was cool and in control in her kitchen. When I was 4, I remember getting a pretend stove, refrigerator, sink, and cabinet that I played with for hours at a time. I would play restaurant and store. Sometimes my sisters and I would pretend we were making commercials. How crazy is it that Dee got into advertising and I am still “playing” in my kitchen?
The first time I ever attempted to make pie crust from scratch I broke every rule out there. I had no clue! The oven was on way too far in advance making the apartment too hot. The butter wasn’t cold enough. I touched it with my hands. (SIN!!!) I added too much water. Then I added too much flour to soak up the extra water. I rolled the life out of that poor crust repeatedly!! And then it would break apart and crumble and I would patch it up with water. I am going to guess it wasn’t very flaky. I know I cried and probably swore out of frustration at some point. But I got it made and my family acted like it was the best pie ever. I love you guys! (This is not the first time my family has a pie story on me. My in-laws own the gold one of Applesauce Pie to be posted at another time!)
Somewhere down the road I learned more about pie crust. Learned that the less you touch it the better it will be. Learned to use super cold butter and shortening. Learned to spoon the flour into the measuring cup and then leveling it off versus scooping it directly. Learned to roll it out between 2 pieces of wax paper versus the counter. Eventually I had it down. My butter crust game was legit! For every holiday or some special occasion where there was a call for pie, I was happy to bring the homemade goods.
That went on for awhile and then one day I was watching Oprah and Cindy Crawford was on. Well I gotta say, I have always loved Cindy. She’s an Illinois girl! And from a place not too far from me. She was making her strawberry rhubarb pie and I was interested in how she made the crust. It was too easy to be true. Instead of using cold butter and cutting it in to make perfect pea size coarse meal (HAAAAA!!!! That’s how all the cookbooks describe it!) she used vegetable oil and milk. What????? It was done in probably less than 30 seconds.
I thought no way can that be good for you, all that oil. But then it dawned on me lard, Crisco, and butter are not that great for you either but this is freaking pie crust we are talking about and it’s like twice a year….so enjoy it and forget about it.
Well I gave it a try one year when I was making her strawberry rhubarb pie after we went strawberry picking. That crust was unbelievable! Totally flaky and tasted good too. When my dad was having a piece, he said, “tastes like Grandma’s”. When I told him what I used, he said that’s how his mom made it her whole life. His mom being my Grandma Elvira! Whoa!!
So until the other day when I made my favorite ladies a pumpkin pie for our school Thanksgiving feast, I had only made Cindy’s crust with her strawberry pie. I was short on time and thought what would happen if I made the easy crust with pumpkin pie? What happened was that it turned out f’kn awesome!!! OMG this changed my life and anyone who thinks buying a pre-made crust is the way to go, you need to try this. It takes just as long to open the box and unroll it into the dish. No joke.
Your family and making lasting memories of your delicious food is worth the few extra seconds. I mean seriously, I have a friend who has a tattoo of his grandma’s apple pie. People remember this stuff!
To make the crust you will need:
2 and 2/3 C unbleached all purpose flour (I try not to use bleached flour.)
1 tsp. salt (I use pink salt but regular white table salt is fine)
2/3 C vegetable oil
6 Tablespoons of cold milk
Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Measure out the oil, and add the milk to the oil but DO NOT mix it. Add it to the flour. Move it around in the bowl with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until it starts to form a dough ball. Transfer to a pie plate and start forming it to the plate using your hand. You might want to wear a rubber glove!
Push it up the sides of the plate until it’s even all the way around. No more than 1/4″ thick. Trim the excess to roll out decorative shapes or make *cinnamon roll ups. Fill your crust and bake according to your recipes directions.
If you need (2) crusts, separate the dough into two halves and roll the top one out between 2 sheets of wax paper. If you only have need one crust, you will have extra dough.
*Cinnamon roll ups are bonus crust treats Grandma Elvira would give us when she made pie. Basically sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on dough, roll it up and slice into 1/2 inch pinwheels. Bake until lightly browned about 12 mins. Little kids love them!
The only pumpkin pie I have ever made in my entire life came from the recipe on the back of the Aldi pumpkin filling. The only difference now is that I buy the Simply Nature Organic pumpkin.
Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1 can (15 oz) Simply Nature 100% Pure Pumpkin
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 can (12 fl. oz) evaporated milk
1- 9″ pie crust
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Add all of the ingredients to a very large mixing bowl. Mix well. Pour into pie crust and bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for another 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately after or refrigerate. Top with Whipped cream before serving.
Note: It is super helpful to have a pie crust shield put on the edge of the pie about 20 minutes into baking. This keeps your crust from getting too done. You can try to make one out of foil but it is worth having the real deal.
Well that’s it for pumpkin pie! I will be rocking a couple more out this week. One is going to a coworker/neighbor that is trading me a pie for fresh roasted salsa. It is really unlike any salsa I have ever had before. It was so good when I tried it at work.
Now I need to go set up my tunes for the day and start cleaning up the chaos of a house well lived in all week. Talk to you later! xoxo