Thanksgiving Pie

Thanksgiving seemed to sneak up on us expats here in Dresden. There was flurry in the last week of emails (my inbox counted at least 28 ) as we decided who would bring what where and when. Since it was our friend Lindsay’s birthday the same day, she decided to host it in her awesome basement pub/party area. We celebrated potluck style and everyone brought some yummy food they usually have at Thanksgiving, or had always wanted to try making.

We had everything – a bird (not turkey, but chicken and very tasty), stuffing (Fred Meyer’s brand, which was fantastic in a sentimental goodness way), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad with all the fixings, baked apples, and I’m sure I’m forgetting something amazingly good but it was just so much! For dessert we had pie, which I had gingerly baked in my mini oven Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

As those who read my blog regularly know, my oven only has one temperature setting, and after further experimentation I don’t know exactly how warm it is, but it is too warm for normal pie baking. I had read somewhere that if you place tin foil around the crust, it will prevent it from burning while the filling finishes baking. Normally, I don’t have to worry about my crust burning (my dad’s recipe is quite fool proof most of the time), but the trick was perfect for my inflexible oven.

I snapped this picture before I stuck my pumpkin pie in the oven, in case it flopped miserably and looked ugly. It didn’t look ugly at all – in fact developed that beautifully rich, autumn orange-brown color it should – but the pictures I took after it came out of the oven just weren’t as nice as this one. To bake, I placed foil over the crust of my pie and turned on the heat for a few minutes, then turned it off and let the remaining warmth in the oven bake through, then turned the heat back on. This tedious process obviously required me to be watching the pie very closely for about an hour, perhaps longer, while it baked until I was sufficiently pleased. However, it was much more difficult for the apple pie, and I have to say I wasn’t as patient and so it didn’t turn out nearly as well. The recipe was also off, as I had to use an internet recipe and not my father’s tasty one. Therefore, I’m only posting the pumpkin pie recipe.

This recipe is put together in two parts (as pie usually is): the crust is from Edith Norton’s contribution to the congregation cookbook, “Our Cup Runneth Over,” of the First United Methodist Church in Schenectady, New York. Its name suggests its simplicity, and the recipe is for anyone who doesn’t like making pie crust. It uses sour cream instead of water and makes for a very yummy, flaky crust.

The filling is a recipe from my late paternal grandma, Grace. The custard makes for an excellent pie filling, or pumpkin pudding (either cooked on the stove or in the oven). I had extra filling this time, which I cooked up on the stove and have been mixing into my cream of wheat in the mornings with excellent results. It’s a take on my traditional slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast on the Friday after Thanksgiving!

Happy pie baking and congratulations on surviving part one of the holiday season!

Easy as Pie Crust

3 cups flour
2 sticks (= 1 cup) margarine
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening (e.g., Crisco) (not oil)
at least 1/2 cup sour cream


Cut the fat into the flour using a fork until you have circa pea sized little pieces of mix. Add the sour cream. If you add too much sour cream, you end up with a sticky glob, so go on the low side to start with.

Cut the dough into two equal pieces and place a piece on a floured surface. Roll out and place the crust into your pie pan and crimp the edges how you like. You can use both halves in one pie (one for the bottom crust, one for a top crust for cherry or apple pies), or you can use the recipe to make two pies with just a bottom crust (recommended for this pumpkin pie recipe).

This dough can be frozen for at least 1 – 2 months or stored in refrigerator for 3 – 4 days.

Pumpkin Pie/Custard Mix

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees

Mix Dry Ingredients:

1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice (this isn’t a spice I could find in Germany, so I used Spekulatius seasoning, which is similar)
1/4 tsp salt

Mix Wet Ingredients:

2 cups pumpkin (canned is fine; fresh winter squash works just as well
as fresh pumpkin)
2 slightly beaten eggs
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tall can (about 1 2/3 cups) evaporated milk (I used condensed milk successfully this year)
1 cup of water (I don’t always use a whole cup)

Combine the two mixtures and pour into prepared pie crust and bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit then 35 – 50 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2 Comments to “Thanksgiving Pie”

  1. Don’t you mean “partially” mashed potatos? ;)

  2. Haha! We’ll forgive Ben for “missing” the last few potatoes at the bottom of the pot. Their taste made up for it!

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