Giving thanks, part 2

December 3rd, 2011 by veronica

Our second Thanksgiving dinner of the season was at the home of friends of ours. One of them is a doctor and was scheduled to work all day Thanksgiving so they decided to postpone dinner a couple days and invited some friends and family over. And who wouldn’t accept an invitation to an extra holiday dinner?

They had the turkey covered this time so I focused on dessert. I skipped out on making desserts for our own T-day dinner so I looked forward to the opportunity to work on a few pie recipes I’d been eyeing. I made two pies: one was Linda Padia’s award-winning Himalayan Blackberry Pie and a Maple Hazelnut Pie. Okay, so blackberries aren’t very autumnal nor are they really T-day traditional, but it was a special request and, really, I’d be happy to eat this pie any time of year.

Both turned out really well. I was experimenting a bit with the crusts. For the blackberry pie, I used chilled vodka for my liquid instead of water. I understand that this is supposed to make the pastry flakier by preventing gluten formation. IT also keeps the dough colder when you’re working it. In the Hazelnut Pie, I used half butter, half lard from the lard I rendered from Drusilla the Pig earlier this summer. Again, lard is supposed to make for a flakier crust, though I’m not exactly sure of the science behind it.

In any case, both crusts turned out wonderfully well. But the lard crust I thought was especially good — so tender and flaky and with a little extra flavor. It wasn’t porky, really, which was something I was afraid of, but it just had a little extra umami oomph, especially against the nuts and maple syrup. Next experiment? Vodka AND lard. How do you like that?

Follow the links for the recipes, and here are the pics:

blackberry pie
Himalayan Blackberry Pie

maple hazelnut pie
Maple Hazelnut Pie

spread
A mere fraction of the whole T-Day II spread

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