Last week, before the big storm and before the holiday, we packed our bags to head south to Delaware, where my brother and his girlfriend live. Right before leaving Tuesday night, the sky put on quite a show with the pinkest sunset I’ve ever seen. You know I’m a sucker for skyscapes. I live for them.
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.
We arrived in Delaware at 3 a.m. Yes, we ran out of toll money. At one point, we were digging pennies from underneath our carseats. Yeahh. We’re not used to paying tolls. That royal purple Crown Royal bag full of quarters (found in the washer) is going to find its new home in my glove compartment. Luckily, two different toll booth attendants had pity on us and let us roll through.
This was the first Thanksgiving I’ve spent with my family in five years. My brother and his girlfriend are in the middle of their residencies and they never have two days off in a row, much less two days off in a row together. This year, both happened to have the same four days off in a row, so spending the holiday with the two of them was a no-brainer.
Our Thanksgiving Menu:
Roasted Turkey (of course)
Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing
Chevre Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Buttermilk Pumpkin Pie
Malaga Spring Wine
Wild Turkey (Blerg)
Before I get to the pie, I must talk about this bread. It’s from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. This is the easiest, most delicious bread I’ve ever made. It’s as easy as mixing as banana bread but with fewer ingredients, let it rise, and it can be stored in a fridge for two weeks! I added 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary to the dough, and it was a crispy-outside, pillowy-inside, slightly sourdough-esque perfection. It was especially perfect the next day when it served as the vehicle for a leftover turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich.
And it’s beautiful to boot!
The next best thing on the menu was this buttermilk pumpkin pie. I used the real buttermilk here, not the milk-lemon juice (or vinegar) combo. Could you use the DIY version? Perhaps, but I think you’d really be missing out on the full effect. It made for an awesome breakfast pie, too. It got rave reviews from all parties, and I’m sure you will too if you make this for your next feast.
I used a sugar pie pumpkin and pureed the roasted pumpkin meat because it trumps the canned variety. If you’ve read cooking magazines or talked to anyone in the culinary business in the past couple years, that’s the unanimous consensus among cooks, but you won’t be won over until you try a pie without the canned stuff. I swear, the fresh pumpkin is sweeter and it fuller bodied because it hasn’t been boiled.
Who are these little guys, you ask?! These are my friends Allspice, Nutmeg, Pepper, Ginger, Salt, and Cinnamon. These hung in my grandma’s kitchen and my brother and I used to play with them as if they were toys. There is so much nostalgia wrapped around these little porcelain, ruddy cheeked chefs. When my grandma passed while I was living in Alaska, my brother insisted these not be thrown in the yard sale pile and he’s the proud owner of these jolly fellows now. It makes my heart happy to see something so seemingly small in my brother’s kitchen. They’re so much more than what they appear to be: they’re my first memories of being in a kitchen with the people I love(d) the most and creating a loving, nurturing, and nourishing space together.
- 1 small sugar pie pumpkin, roasted and pureed (see note above)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
- 1 pie crust, either homemade or store bought
- To prepare pumpkin: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove stem from baking pumpkin and cut in half lengthwise. Using a metal spoon, scoop seeds and pulp from each half and reserve for later use. Place pumpkin halves, skin side down, on a greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until the skin appears to be drawing away from the pumpkin flesh. Let cool completely before handling.
- When ready to puree pumpkin, scoop cooked flesh from skin and place in a food processor. Process until desired consistency.
- For the pie: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a pie pan with prepared dough. Prepare pie crusts to your liking. Scalloped, fluted, or braided all work fine. Once done, wrap the edges of the crust with aluminum foil.
- Stay with me here: using a pound of dried beans and cheese cloth, create a circular bean bag, simply tied at the top, about the diameter of each pie. This will weigh the pie crust down during its preliminary bake. There are such things as "pie stones" but I'm not that fancy. Place in oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Baking it before filling it will help the bottom cook a bit since this is a wetter pie. After baking 15 minutes, remove from oven and remove beans and let cool completely before filling.
- For the filling: Whisk together the pureed flesh of one sugar pumpkin (mine yielded about 2 cups), the eggs, melted butter, brown sugar, syrup, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl until combined. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, and flour and whisk until smooth. Pour into the cooled pie crust. Bake at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the pie has set. Once done, remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before serving.