We had three Thanksgiving dinners this year. One with Nonni on the day, one with my Mom the day after, and then I cooked one for us at home on Sunday. I’ve never cooked a whole Thanksgiving dinner in my life because we’re always away. It occurred to me that this is one of the things I want to do before I die, and that maybe I should start working on that list sooner rather than later.
So, I roasted a giant turkey leg that I had procured the week before from Diemand Farm in Wendell, MA with Annabelle of Calamity Shazaam in the Kitchen and her lovely family. Alongside the turkey leg were roasted carrots from Waltham Fields and potatoes from Picadilly Farm. Then I made oyster and chestnut dressing with Wellfleet oysters (courtesy of Grandpa P), as well as the stale, half-eaten baguettes I’ve been collecting from Russo’s. Finally, I made roasted Eastham turnip with local shallots and apples. Husband followed everything up with a homemade pumpkin pie.
One of the great things about this dinner was that the kids actually ate it. Not only ate it, but liked it. I was definitely not expecting that. The dressing alone was “food on the food” at its worst: many of the ingredients were green (leeks, celery, thyme, sage, parsley), several were gross-looking (chestnuts, oysters), and they were all mixed up with stale bread doused in the drippings of a dead bird. I did not explain it to them in this way, however. Maybe that’s the secret.
After they had eaten every bit off their plate, and my dad had eaten every bit off his plate (yes, including the turnips), they had pumpkin pie and ate every smear of filling right out of the crust. Since when is pumpkin pie popular with kids? Now they suddenly adore it, which means Husband will be even more inclined to sneak downstairs in the middle of the night for secret pie.
Husband’s recipe is as simple as, well…pie. It’s the simplest pie you’ll ever make, put it that way. He makes it with canned pumpkin and a Pillsbury crust, so it’s super-quick to put together. If you don’t already have a standard pumpkin pie in rotation, I’d suggest starting with this one and building off it.
Now, all we have to do is marry his pumpkin pie technique with my homemade lard crust, possibly also real CSA pumpkin or squash, and then there will be world peace.
Husband’s Pumpkin Pie
His secret is to mix fresh, grated nutmeg along with the powdered stuff, half and half.
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, lumps sifted down
1 can pumpkin pie filling (or 1½ cups cooked and puréed fresh pumpkin)
1 Tbsp. flour
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. salt
1¼ cups low-fat milk, heated (not boiled)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Let pre-made dough come to room temperature for 15 minutes to unstiffen. Grease the pie plate, line with dough, and crimp.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugars. Mix in the pumpkin, flour, spices, and salt. Slowly add the heated milk, whisking all the while, over the course of a minute or so. If you like your pies creamier, you can use whole milk instead or go up an extra ¼ cup on the low-fat milk. However, Husband likes his dark and firm. His words. Hmmmmm…
Bake pie for 10 minutes at 450°F, then lower heat to 350°F and bake 55-60 minutes longer. Let cool, then refrigerate until chilled. Serve with whipped cream or, as Husband prefers it, plain.