Monday, December 24, 2007

The Christmas Post that's really about Thanksgiving and Hanukkah

Wow - Kathryn, the kitchen looks so cute, and those latkes look really amazing. I also tried to spread Hanukkah (and Thanksgiving) joy to my friends with my holiday fusion party called Thanksgivingkah. These two holidays are my favorite - perhaps because they both involve eating autumnal and fried foods. Since I had not had a proper chance to celebrate them in London, having this party was the perfect excuse to embark on a cooking project and get all my old high school friends together.

You probably can't tell from looking at this photo, but half of guests had reached the legal drinking age. I think they are pretending to gobble up all the food. We also ended up playing dreidel with pennies - we are so classy.

And to all those doubters out there, a vegetarian thanksgiving feast is not an oxymoron. The stuffing and the vegetable side dishes, are definitely the best part of any Thanksgiving meal, so what's with all the hooplah over flavorless turkey? Anyways, here is my answer to a vegetarian thanksgiving:

Carrot Soup with Almonds and Lime 
Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad (from Orangette)
Chevre and Carmelized Onion Frittata
Garlic Green Beans

But the real shows stopper was this pumpkin pie. I settled on and adapted this recipe from America's Test Kitchen's Best New Recipes. This might have been the most labor intensive pie that I have ever made - it involved pre-baking the pie crust, processing the pumpkin, and cooking the custard over the stove - but, the filling was so creamy, and so worth all of the extra steps. The Test Kitchen explains that the secret to a perfect pumpkin pie is to transfer a hot filling into a freshly pre-baked pie crust, so that the filling cooks evenly.


1 homemade or pre-made pie crust

1 15 oz. plain canned pumpkin

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. salt

2/3 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup milk

4 large eggs

Roll out pie crust unto a pie dish, and place a sheet of aluminum foil over the top, along with a layer of coins, which will weigh down the crust as it bakes in 375 degree oven for about 20-22 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil from the top, and continue baking pie until it is lightly golden brown (about 5 minutes). Take out the crust when it is done, and turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees

As the crust bakes, start making the filling. In a medium-sized-heavy-bottomed-saucepan, add the pumpkin, the sugar, salt, and the spices, and process with an immersion blender for a couple of minutes. Heat the mixture until it is thick and shiny, while stirring it constantly. Slowly add the cream and milk, and whisk to combine. Crack and beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Take the saucepan off the heat and temper the eggs by whisking in a little bit of the hot pumpkin mixture to the eggs to bring them up to temperature. With slow care, add the egg mixture to the pumpkin, and whisk vigorously. Immediately add the filling to the hot pie crust, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Let cool, and either eat the whole by yourself (I will not judge you at all for doing this), or wait for your friends to help you finish it off. My friend who has celiac disease, and thus could only eat the filling, ending up fighting with my other friend for the last slice and for possession of the whipped cream bowl (again, I really can't believe we are juniors...)

I didn't end up with much in the way of leftovers, which was good because my family and I are off to Florida tomorrow morning. I'm signing off, and finishing packing.

Have a Merry Christmas Kathryn, and have a Happy New Year.


Kathryn said...

Wow, Allison, that pie looks delicious! I also see you had the same butternut squash and chickpea salad that I made in London... but you were probably able to find more than half the ingredients, so yours MIGHT have turned out better. I'm off to my grandmother's house in Illinois (aka the Land of No Internet) tomorrow, but I'll be making a post about cookies when I get home!

Alison Wilder said...

that would be me, of age! hoorah!

for alcohol and for your blog, which I found, at last!

Kate said...

i am famous on the internet!
ps. darling, the blog is beyond lovely. even though i am a ravenous carnivore.