|Boiling the sugar and water to make caramel.|
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday this year...it's my favorite holiday of all and I just want you all to enjoy it as much as I do. Yes, it's been a while since I've been here, but the blog fairies dictated that I had to take a break. The pain was just too unbearable to stand and really impinged upon my crafting time (and everything else). Not sure how much I'll be able to get accomplished in these coming days either, but at least I can try a few things again! Right now, after dealing with this for a year, physical therapy is my main goal and I've been trying very hard to accomplish what they're asking of me. "They're" is actually a pseudonym for the person behind my exasperatingly, cringingly (come on now, you DO remember how I like to make up words, right?), painful physical therapy. If I were a nicer person, "They're" would actually remain nameless. But I'm not nice and "They're" has inflicted a gluttony of misery on my being and has ENJOYED every minute of it. For that, he shall be named. MIKE. There, did ya all see it? MIKE or, as I like to call him, Torturer of my Soul. His awesome employees help to inflict the misery but, since we all need jobs these days, I understand their need to do what he says so that they can pick up a paycheck. Much as I'd love to throw Andrew, Beth and Greta under the bus, I can't do it. They're only doing as they're told.
|Cooling after getting to the caramel stage.|
So...just because I can FINALLY make something (thanks to the joyfully masochistic MIKE), I am here sharing my pie with you. Well, ok, I won't technically share my REAL pie with you, but I'll share the pictures and recipe. And since we're on the subject of sharing, I cannot make this post without giving my good friend Leslie her share of the credit. You see, I can make pie. I can make a mean inside of a pie. Delicious, flavorful, smooth, luscious, to die for - you name it. BUT, I cannot tell a lie; I cannot make the outside of a pie worth a darn! Believe me, it has been tried in my repertoire a million times (and I mean a million - I really can count that high! It comes after six, right?). In the history of my cooking and baking years, I have been able to accomplish almost everything I've wanted to do. Sometimes it might have taken a second or third try, but I was able to be successfully fed. Pie crust? IT HATES ME AND I DIDN'T EVEN DO ANYTHING TO DESERVE IT!!!!! And that, my friends, is why Leslie gets a huge share of the credit!
|Gross looking, but delicious tasting pumpkin mixture.|
Let's start with that fateful afternoon as a sophomore in high school. Alas, it makes me so sad to remember it all, but my mind won't let go of it. Here I was, in Miss Gore's Home Economics class, with my two partners, Dan and Carl. They were seniors. This particular week was all about baking. Cakes, cookies, decorating desserts and...pie. Of course, being the new girl and having to have two popular senior guys as my kitchen partners was a little intimidating in itself (I was super shy then, believe it or not.) But they were actually really nice guys and we kind of helped each other out of our weak spots. Dan couldn't make cookie dough to save his soul; Carl couldn't get a cake not to fall for anything; and I could not make a frosting rose no matter what. We were all happy - it was working out well. And then came the pie. This particular day, we were instructed on how to make pie - the crust and a filling. We could choose any filling we wanted and we all chose banana. Don't ask me why. I have absolutely no idea...I'm sure that it was because we thought it would be a cinch. And it was...the filling. We thought we were awesome! And then, the crust. The no-good for nothing, tough as a board, falling apart everywhere and dried out crust. What the heckles????
|I used this cute pie dish to cook my pie in.|
Ok, not everyone is cut out to make a pie crust under pressure (class was only 50 minutes after all, and we'd already worked on the filling) and I have now come to understand that. However, that day, we all decided that we would go to my house after school and practice so that we could take a pie to Miss Gore and show her we were not completely pastry inept. Thankful that those two were seniors and could drive, I didn't have to walk home and think about it all the way. They gave me a ride. So, here we are in my kitchen, the three of us, when my mother walked in. Now, first of all, you all have to know that my mother was a woman of great patience (notice the "was" in there?) and could cook or bake anything you ever wanted and it would come out perfect every time. And, of course, she didn't need a recipe. I did not inherit this genius from her. But, I digress...here we are in my kitchen...
|Into the oven we go, my little dearies!|
And we had the most disgusting, tornado-like, messy counter top and sink full of dishes that has ever been recorded in the history books. Seriously. I cannot tell you how many times we had to rewash something because we had already dirtied it. How were we supposed to know we'd need it later and not then? Come on, have a little sympathy here! We had mounds and mounds of dough (and no flour at all left out of the 25 pound bag) and NONE of it was the way we thought it should be. NONE. OF. IT. At all. Here we are, all intent and frustrated and disappointed, and here comes my mother, whom we of course did not even notice at all - UNTIL - the 'WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY KITCHEN? and WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU TRYING TO DO HERE?" came screeching out of her mouth. Now recall, she was a woman of great patience. Was. No more after that day. You see, the thing I forgot to mention was that in addition to the dirty dishes, the lack of any more flour, the hurricane of a mess and everything else, the three of us got so frustrated that those little mounds of dough were attached to the wall. No, we didn't try to roll them on the wall...we got sick of them not turning out and threw them at the wall in frustration. I never told who's idea it was to do that, but let me just say here that it was not Dan and it was not Carl. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure that we shouldn't have done that, but I will take the punishment we got again and again over having to make a stupid pie crust EVER AGAIN IN MY LIIIIIIIFE!!!!
|Fresh out of the oven!|
So...all these years, when I make the insides of a mean pie, I buy (gasp, I know, it's wrong) the refrigerated pie crust. This year, enter my good friend, Leslie, who makes the bestest, most flakiest and tender pie crust I've ever eaten in all my 49 years. I *HEART* her soooo much! And the best thing? She took pity on me! She knows I've been in a lot of pain and been limited for a while (hey, not mentally, knock it off!) and that I have a pie crust making hatred and fear; and she offered to make my pies for me!!! Well, I may be slow but I'm not stupid! Of course I said yes!!! Leslie made an out of this world apple pie for my hubby (I don't care for apple, so I wasn't going to make one because I'm too selfish) and the crusts for me to do my pumpkin pie. Is there anything better than having a friend who knows when to show pity? I think not! The evening before Thanksgiving (which is when she made the pie and crusts because she wanted them to be as fresh as possible for me) found Leslie and I having a clandestine meeting behind Chattaroy Hills Restaurant exchanging pie. Ok, SHE exchanged pie for my gratefulness. I had nothing to offer at that point. I admit it, I'm a horrible friend.
|Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Yummmmm!|
I still make a killer inside of a pie...but Leslie makes the killer outside! And the only reason I could make the killer inside of the pie this year? Yep, you guessed it. MIKE. Even though I tease him about being cruel, inhuman and inordinately unfeeling (he says he feels just fine and doesn't hurt a bit when he's working with me), I couldn't even have done the pie innards without his persistence and teachings. Just for that, he gets a plug here so he can have his four seconds of fame (what do you want...this is a small-time blog for heck's sake! We don't get 15 minutes here!).
|I like my pies thick and this is perfect!|
Here's the gist before you read the pie recipe...if you need a pie crust maker, call Leslie. She's the greatest. If you need rehabilitational physical therapy, call Mike at Elite Physical & Sports Therapy. I promise you, you'll be pleased with the outcome (and he'll be much nicer to you than he is to me. Honest!)
Thank you Leslie! I love you beyond the moon and back! And thank you Mike, Andrew, Beth and Greta! You guys made my Thanksgiving so much better than it would have been by working (with) me!
CARAMEL PUMPKIN PIE INNARDS
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (heated until warm)
Note: warming the cream helps it blend with the caramelized sugar mixture
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pie crust (preferably Leslie's) :D
Pie crust (preferably Leslie's) :D
Preheat oven to 350F.
To prepare the filling, combine sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil. Gently stir until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup becomes a deep golden color, 12-14 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in warm cream. Let cool slightly.
Combine remaining ingredients (pumpkin through salt) in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk in tepid caramel mixture until smooth. Pour into piecrust. Bake on a baking sheet 55 to 60 minutes, until the filling is just set. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 1 hour. Chill 3 hours before serving.
Pie recipe courtesy of Squidoo.com