Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving pies

Thanksgiving in the U.S., of course, is defined by its food. Although the details tend to vary from region to region (e.g., cranberry sauce in New England, collard greens in the south), one thing that seems pretty consistent is that dessert consists of pies. In our case on Thursday, it was pumpkin pie made by my wife and apple and pecan pies baked by my aunt.

I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie. I think it's something about the spices, which probably explains why I don't like gingerbread, spice cake, and other similar desserts, too. However, by all accounts, my wife's pumpkin pie, based on her grandmother's recipe, was excellent.

The apple pie had a lightly-baked, doughy crust. Pie purists would say that this is an affront, as pie crust is supposed to be flaky, not doughy. I, however, love anything doughy, and the filling (made with the last New England apples of the season) was great, so I thought it was terrific.

My aunt substituted maple syrup for Karo corn syrup in the pecan pie, and it turned out great. Evidently, this is a fairly common practice in Vermont, which makes sense considering all the maple syrup produced there.

The day after Thanksgiving, we went up to our friends' house in New Hampshire and had another round of pie. I had another decent slice of apple pie (made by my friend's mom), some chocolate pie that looked like it was store/bakery-bought (pretty good, nothing special), and some ricotta pie that we brought from Arthur's Pastry Shop. The latter isn't really a Thanksgiving kind of pie in my mind, but it's good, so who cares?

All in all, a successful dessert weekend. And, with Christmas approaching, visions of sugar plums (well, sugar cookies, anyway) are dancing in my head.

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