my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

November 17, 2010

ready, set, bake!

it happened again. yup, another baked good magically appear in my oven yesterday. maybe those little cookie making elves live under my house, making pies and cakes, using up all my butter and sugar. yeah, it's totally elves, and that's what i'll say next time i make something horrible, i'll just blame the elves. and not the nice christmas ones, those ones that help santa, they rock. and so i would like for them to make me a new throw rug to match my curtains in my living room, and a can opener, and new boots. am i too old for a christmas list to santa? maybe we'll just play quid pro quo with the awesome cookies i plan on leaving out this year.

anyway, yes, i really did make another pie yesterday. but it was an experiment, for science! (i can't help but think of portal every time i say that, probably why i say it so often) i know i'm using that as an excuse for all my baking these days, but this was legitimately to try out a new crust recipe. see, next week, maybe tuesday if i'm lucky, maybe 9pm monday night if i'm not, my hubby and kiddies and i are going to visit our in-laws for thanksgiving. and since the kids don't have school for a whole week (really not sure what that's about, and the fact that they're in elementary school and get the monday after thanksgiving, better known as "first day of deer season" 'round these parts off too) we are planning on visiting my hubby's family for a whole week. i actually don't mind going to visit, though i won't enjoy leaving at 9pm because, since i hit a deer, driving at night through the mountains makes me more than nervous. though since we are planning on leaving so early in the week, and i am the one making desserts for the big day, i'll have to do my baking up town so things stay fresh and yummy for thursday. or knowing my family, so things last and don't get eaten before thursday.

so most of the baking i've been doing has been in preparation for the event next week. thanksgiving is a big deal to me, it really is my favorite holiday. and because i am prone to stress and freaking out, i thought it best that i go into things as set and ready as i possibly can be. which is why i've been testing things, trying to find what i can do ahead, and what are the easiest recipes to use that still taste awesome. all my practice has totally been worth it too, because i have found a crust recipe that remains flaky and crisp, but actually gets prepared ahead of time and stored in the freezer.

to test this i made the dough on monday and left it in my freezer over night. i was worried because it seems like a very loose and sticky dough, but freezing it must have done the trick, because though it did take some extra flour to roll it out, and even though it did break and crack in a few places, i was able to patch it up without much trouble and get it in my pie tin pretty easily. it baked up well, didn't really brown too much and i hadn't even remembered to cover it with foil, which was a plus. it remained flaky, even now it's still nice and crisp after being stored in my fridge overnight. so i think i found a winner of a pie crust, something that i can make here and just roll out when i start baking next week. one less thing to worry about is always very good.

of course, in testing out a pie crust, i figured i might as well test out a pie recipe while i'm at it. and i think i have finally found a pecan pie that i can love. it's crunchy and creamy and sweet but not too sweet, and it's oh so easy to put together. it's almost sad, because i have been scouring websites and cook books, and the recipe i settle on using is the one that my mommom has used for ages. her pies at thanksgiving were always the highlight of the day, and i was never quite able to replicate them. finally though, i learned her secret, and it couldn't be more simple. her wonderful and fabulous pecan pie recipe, oh so good that it deserves to be passed down through the generations, is the one off the back of the karo dark corn syrup bottle. i'm still not quite sure what to think about that, but at least the pie is good.

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