Friday, November 23, 2012

the day after Thanksgiving (and my new favorite pumpkin pie recipe)

I think the day after Thanksgiving is a serious contender for best post-holiday day.
Let's talk through it's merits:

  • the fridge is filled with amazing food (so even if you have a house full of guests, people can feed themselves)
  • no substantial decorations mocking you to clean them up (isn't a Christmas tree on Dec. 26th like the saddest thing?)
  • there is a lovely anticipation for the holiday season (can still day-dream all the unrealistic expectations of what can be accomplished- for example, giving every one a jar of homemade jam for Christmas.) 

But deep down, the number one reason the day after Thanksgiving is the best post-holiday day is:

pie for breakfast.

Man, do I love pumpkin pie. The Thanksgiving meal itself is so amazingly oversized and good, that I secretly think the enjoyment of desserts at the end gets a little lost (anyone else feel this way?)
But pumpkin pie chilled out the fridge the next day with a mug of hot coffee? perfection.

This year I tried a new pumpkin pie recipe and both my husband and I love it so much, I thought I would share. I first read about this recipe on Elsie & Emma's blog, A Beautiful Mess. They took a Paula Deen recipe and instead of using the cream cheese, substituted an equal amount of mascarpone (genius). The result is a very custardy pumpkin pie on the brink of cheesecake.

I am a firm believer in homemade crust. It may be my favorite thing about pie. I recently acquired Deb Perelman's new book, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and tried out her recipe for all-butter pie crust. I believe it will be my new go-to pie crust recipe- it is very good.

mascarpone pumpkin pie

1 8 ounce container mascarpone, room temperature
2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional- I substituted 1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg)
1 9-inch pie crust
whipped cream, for topping

1) Place pie dough in 9-inch pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for an hour to firm up. (I love this recipes assumption that the pie crust came from the freezer in the first place and we're just going to be putting it back into the freezer. But I will save my pie crust rant for another day.)

2)  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove pie crust from the freezer and fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.

3) For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the mascarpone with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger (or nutmeg), if using, and beat until incorporated.

4) Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.

We have a very low-key day ahead of us. This is how Harriet plans to spend the day:

To be fair, yesterday was exhausting for her- with the running around the kitchen trying to keep up with all the food preparation to ensure no fallen crumb went uneaten. :)
(In case you're wondering, top right corner of the picture is a mess of yarn- I am currently working on crocheting Christmas garland to drape around the house to warm things up for the holidays.)

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