First, let me tell you about the apple pie gone horribly juicy.
|Don't be fooled. A river runs through it.|
Something (bad) happens when you put 11 cups of apples in a pie and only one tablespoon of flour: the juice doesn't thicken, which creates a runny mess that ruins the bottom crust. Either my apples - a combination of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious - were extraordinarily juicy, or the recipe was incorrect in calling for only a tablespoon of flour.
Whatever the case, it was a disaster. After my sister and I poured the juice from the pie dish, we were left with dry apples in a soggy crust. This sucker met its new friend the garbage can - and fast. Apologies to my sister, who peeled, cored, and sliced her way into oblivion.
Turkey Day pie No. 2: pumpkin. This one usually gets rave reviews but it was mediocre. Pie shouldn't need whipped cream. I don't know why I stuck with the recipe so long because it always annoyed me that it took forever to set and I constantly had to check on it and return it to the oven. This particular creation lacked punch. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out some fresh spices were needed.
Now, the good news: Food Network Magazine had an article in its November issue that included classic pie recipes and updated versions of them. I didn't give a flip about the updated versions as I obviously am still trying - eh, struggling - to master the classics.
First, I made pumpkin. I was skeptical because the crust is prebaked, and I don't recall ever prebaking the pie shell for pumpkin pie. I made my usual no-fail butter pastry (see my "Crusty Trials and Tribulations" post for the recipe), then followed the recipe directions.
Although my crust shrunk, this pie was a treat for the taste buds. The newly purchased ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves packed a wallop in this rich and creamy pie. Next time, I'll roll out the crust to exact specifications instead of eyeballing it. Here's the recipe link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/pumpkin-pie-recipe2/index.html
After that success, my confidence was restored and I reached for the apple recipe. This one required precooking the apples in a saute pan, another step I had never done before but one I thought made sense since the syrup consistency would be guaranteed.
Turns out this pie is a winner, presenting a pleasing balance of sweet to tart flavors, a shiny, golden crust, and an intact slice with a decent syrup. Yup, a very nice slice: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/apple-pie-recipe2/index.html
If you haven't checked out Food Network Magazine, give it a look. It's loaded with interesting recipes, covering a gamut of taste preferences and culinary skill levels. I received it as a gift last year and enjoyed every issue. Thanks, Patty! It also saved Christmas - my pies at least.