I'm a sucker for the 'holiday season'. I love the traditions associated with the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I look forward to the food for months. I would probably start listening to Christmas music in early October if it weren't for all my nagging friends that tell me it's "too early". Also, I really love being home for the holidays. I've spent a few Christmases with my family on vacations (Hawaii, Caribbean, etc) and while that's fun, I prefer home. Today is my second Thanksgiving away from home. I'm sad that I can't be home with my family (and also sad that I'm at work on Thanksgiving), so since I can't be with them today, the best I can do is to 'recreate' the food traditions here.
I found a 'breast of young turkey' at the grocery store this week. It only weighs 4 pounds and it's supposed to feed 6 of us. What it lacks in quantity, it will make up for in quality, though. It's currently in a brine ( brinning, brined?) and I will pop in it the oven after work.
The breast of young turkey will be roasting in this pan. As you can probably tell from the picture, it's really just a roasting pan folded in half. I have a really tiny oven...so this is the best I can do for my breast of young turkey. I like calling it 'breast of young turkey', in case you haven't noticed...
Besides making the brine for my breast of young turkey, I also baked pumpkin pie. My mom was kind enough to spend too much money to ship me organic canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices so that I could bring some traditional Thanksgiving to the DR.
And I can't make a pie without having pie crust cookies. Pie crust is my favorite part of the pie. My mom always used to make me pie crust cookies with the scraps left over. They're so simple and so delicious. They taste best when consumed right out of the oven. I ate most of them last night because none of my roommates were around to help me eat them. Then, I had a tasty Thanksgiving breakfast with the remaining cookies this morning. They're a perfect compliment to a morning coffee.
I hope all of you have wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you happen to be. I'll post more pictures this weekend of my Thanksgiving (with a Dominican flare). Until then, here are some pumpkin pie and pie crust cookie recipes for you.
I've tried many variations on the pie crust and have concluded that there is nothing better than a full butter crust. The shortening may make it flaky, but the butter makes it taste much much better. The key to a good crust is to keep it cold. The butter needs to be cold, the water should be ice cold, and the dough needs time to chill before you roll it out. The recipe I've been using the most recently is from Smitten Kitchen. You can find a great pie crust tutorial pie crust 102 and pie crust 103
from smitten kitchen's pie crust 102
2 1/2 cups flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 sticks (8 ounces, 16 tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
- Start by filling a jar or liquid measuring cup with cold water. Stick a few ice cubes in it and put it in the freezer. You want the water to be very cold.
- Mix together the flour, sugar and salt.
- Cut the butter into 1/2 in thick slices and use a pastry blender to mix the butter into the flour mixture. [Note-you can also use forks (like I did last night), but it's much easier with a pastry blender]
- Don't mix the butter too long. You only need to mix it until the butter pieces are pea sized. It's ok for it to be a little uneven.
- Drizzle 1/2 cup of water over the flour and mix together with a spatula or your hands. I usually add in 1/4 - 1/2 cup additional water, but only add in a little at a time. You don't want the dough to have too much water and become sticky.
- Gather the dough together with you hands and separate it into 2 balls. Wrap them up and put them in the fridge to cool for at least 1 hour, but 2 if you have the time.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 2 large eggs 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
- Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves.
- Beat in 2 eggs
- Stir in pumpkin
- Slowly add evaporated milk
Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 40-50 minutes. You'll know it's done when you insert a knife and it comes out clean. I usually cover the pie crust with tin foil so it doesn't burn.
Pie Crust Cookies
Left over pie crust Cinnamon sugar Butter
- Roll out the left over pie dough
- Cut up some pieces of butter and lay it evenly on the dough
- Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar
- Roll up the dough into a log and slice it (kind of like a cinnamon roll)
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees (bake these guys first so you can enjoy them while the pie bakes)