I am well aware that Thanksgiving has passed, but I just had to share these recipes with you. Pin them for next year, I promise you won't be sorry.
I've been in charge of Thanksgiving Day pies for a several years now and each year I have gotten closer and closer to what I consider the perfect pecan, pumpkin, and apple pies. This year (if you'll forgive my gloating) I knocked it out of the park. Simple, delicious, decidedly autumnal: the trifecta of Thanksgiving baking perfection. Oh, and they can be made the day before! Now while I was working on these I didn't know I had stumbled on such a share worthy list so please forgive the lack of photos. Sometimes you must create and devour without all those pesky pauses for glamour shots.
Mini Maple Pecan Pies (Adapted from Epicurious)
The mini element of these pies is critical, the crust to sweet filling ratio is spot on. Plus, even when you're stuffed full of turkey it's impossible to resist a mini dessert.
Make a baker's dozen
- 2 rounds of pie pastry (my favorite recipe follows)
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped raw pecans
You'll Also Need:
- Muffin Tin (plus a small pie dish or ramekin for your baker's treat)
- Something 5" round to trace when cutting the dough
- Cut 5" rounds from your crust and press them into your muffin tin. You will need to combine the leftover cuttings and roll again to get a full 13. Chill your dough in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.
- Spread nuts evenly over crusts.
- Pour filling over. Bake until filling is set and slightly puffed, about 20-30 minutes. Cool completely. Store in the refrigerator if you baked the day before.
Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
I love traditional pumpkin pie, but after making this I will likely never bake another standard pumpkin pie, ever. Trust me, it's that good. This is like a fabulous pumpkin pie with cheesecake singing back up and a gingersnap crust that makes you wonder why you blind baked pastry all those years.
- 6-7 ounces gingersnaps - Triple Ginger from Trader Joe's are ideal (about 30 small ones)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 1 large whole egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Place your ginger snaps in the food processor and blitz until they are the consistency of coarse sand.
- Add the melted butter and process to combine. If the mixture seems super greasy add a few more cookies.
- Press your crust mixture into a 9" deep dish pie pan. Chill in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Pulse cream cheese in food processor until smooth. Add sugar and pumpkin and process until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Add egg and yolk, flour, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon; blitz until well combined.
- Pour filling into chilled shell and bake until custard is just set, about 35 minutes. As soon as the center is no longer liquid, it's ready.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve with lots of whipped cream!
Salt Carmel Apple Tarts (Adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbirds)
I love me a rustic tart, they are beautiful without being fussy. They just beg to be eaten. No toiling over a lattice top. Or even fussing with peeling apples. And when you're feeding a crowd the makings of one pie becomes two tarts, that way everyone gets a slice!
Makes two large tarts
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (not ultra pasteurized)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 6-7 large organic apples (I love Gravenstein, Gala, and/or Honey Crisp)
- juice of one lemon
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 discs of pie pastry (my favorite recipe follows)
- 1 egg
- raw or brown sugar
To make the salted caramel:
- Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil. Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper.
- Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove it from the heat and immediately add the heavy cream - the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam - be cautious as the sugar will be very hot.
- Whisk the final mixture together well over low heat and sprinkle in the sea salt. Keep caramel warm while you prepare the apple filling.
Make the filling:
- Core your apples, slice thinly (a mandolin work's great for this), and cover in lemon juice.
- Sprinkle your apples with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss to combine.
Assemble your tarts:
- Preheat your over to 350 degrees F. Place parchment or silpats in two large rimmed baking sheets.
- Roll one of your pastry discs into a 14" circle. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with the other dough.
- Lay a thin layer of apples on the center of each crust, leaving about a 2" edge of crust. Then drizzle the apples with carmel (I just pick up the caramelly whisk and wave it over the apples a few times). Continue to layer apples and caramel, ending with caramel, until you have used up your ingredients.
- Fold your crust up over the apples. Brush the crust with egg and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake until apples are soft and crust is a nice golden brown, about 50 minutes, swapping the location of each tart half way through. These tarts can be stored, covered, at room temperature overnight.
- Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.
All Butter Pie Pastry (Adapted for Rustic Fruit Desserts * affiliate link)
Makes 4 pie crusts
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 cups (1 pound) cold unsalted butter
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or 1 tblsp apple cider vinegar)
- Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Cut butter into 1" cubes and toss in flour mixture. Place bowl in freezer for 10 minutes.
- Pour flour and butter into a food processor and pulse until you have pea sized crumbles.
- Add lemon juice to water and pour over your flour and butter. Pulse three times.
- Pour contents of food processor onto a clean, lightly floured surface press and fold over a few times until it holds together.
- Divide your dough into fourths. Press into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour. Pastry dough freezes beautifully.
Before I leave you I must share a few pictures from our Thanksgiving.
My Dad always barbecues the turkey, it's so so good! My mom makes my great grandmother's stuffing recipe that is my very favorite part of the whole meal. Jason made the mashed potatoes, hand-mashed to fluffy perfection. And this year my sister Mia showed off her artisanal bartending skills with an amazing line up of cocktails.
Jude wanted the turkey leg and he made a pretty good dent in it before retiring to the annual screening of Elf.
And Ronan didn't just have his first Thanksgiving, but his first turkey too! It was a hit!
This beautiful life has given me so many things to me thankful for.
Here's to celebrating our gratitude not just during the holidays, but each and every day!