Cranberry Pecan Pie is Christmas Special

PecansCranberry-Pecan pie is great for Christmas events. Yummy sweet paired with tart cranberry makes it special. Make two or a honey-pecan at the same time. My family love’s both of these pies!

Here’s how to make the pie crust. (Have no fear. Pie crust is easy-peasy!) I make two crusts using lard which I think makes the best crust. My daughter uses real butter instead. Combine two cups flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut in 2/3 cup lard or butter and mix until the dough is crumbly like cornmeal. Gradually add 7 tablesoons of ice cold water and form into a ball. Knead lightly and divide for two pie plates. Roll out on a floured board and fit into the pie pans. Crimp the edges. (Don’t worry about getting the crimping perfect. Imperfection shows the crust is homemade.) Remember the more you fuss and work on pie dough the tougher it will get.

For the Cranberry-pecan pie filling: mix together two cups of fresh cranberries, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup pecans, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Pour into the crust. Now beat together 2 eggs, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/3 cup graulated sugar, and 3 tablespoons flour. Mix this well and pour over the cranberries. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes longer. Center should be set.

The other crust can be used for a honey-pecan pie. Here is the recipe for honey-pecan pie: Cream 1/2 butter with 1 cup granulated sugar. Add 3 eggs and beat after each egg. Add 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey, 3 tablespoons light corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of baking soda. Stir in 1 cup pecan halves and pour all into the waiting crust. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the center is set.

Pie Pumpkins aren’t always Orange

fullsizeoutput_7ad1This pretty white pumpkin isn’t orange at all, but will make at least 4 fine orange pumpkin pies! I never knew there were other colors of pumpkins until a few years ago. Pumpkins come in all shades of orange and tan, and even white, gray, blue, and purple. Yet most are orange meated.

The pumpkins we grew up seeing were round and bright primary orange. The rounded orange ones usually for sale around Halloween are thin-walled and easier to carve so they are just right for the season. The squatty tan pumpkins have thicker meat and are good for pie baking. I have tried all colors even the blues.

I like a pie made from the fresh pumpkin instead of the canned pumpkin. Why not try it?

Pumpkin Pie

Plan for two pies. Make two crusts and place those into pie plates and crimp the edges.

Crust recipe: 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup of lard, shortening or butter. 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cut the shortening or butter into the flour until crumbly. Add 7 tablespoons of ice water. Stir into a ball. Knead until mixed well then divide in two balls and roll out.

Cut up and clear the seeds and strings from inside your pumpkin and place it in a stock pot over boiling water to steam for about 30 minutes. Then cut out the soft pulp. You will need three cups for two pies.  Add the cooled pumpkin pulp to 2 cups of sugar and 4 egg yolks and 2 cups milk. Mix together. Add spices: 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Beat the egg whites until fluffy and then fold them into the pumpkin mixture. Pour into the two pie crusts and place in preheated oven (350 degrees) for 40 minutes.

This makes a wonderful couple of from-scratch pumpkin pies with a nice custard and flavor. Freeze one for later. Serve with whipped cream.