Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude 8: The smells of Thanksgiving...

I've just spent the last 6 hours enjoying some of my favorite smells. They include:

  • Butter, flour, and salt when making a pie crust

  • Scalding milk cooling with the help of butter and sugar for crescent rolls

  • Fresh grated lemon while cooking the pudding for a lemon meringue pie. This pie is the only reason I have cornstarch in my pantry - I use it once a year.

  • Egg whites and sugar for meringue 
  • Sweet potatoes boiling on the stove

  • A nice pizza for dinner (okay, that isn't Thanksgiving, but I wasn't about to make dinner after baking two pies and a batch and a half of rolls.)
Here are my pies. Apple crumble and lemon meringue. (Sorry about the apple pie picture - it's in my garage between a bag of wood chips and a baseball mitt. The garage is warmer than the fridge but cooler than my house!)

And no post is complete without a picture of the mess and a self-portrait.

It's only 9:52, everything is done and cleaned up and I'm hanging out, excited for tomorrow. I love Thanksgiving Eve. I'm grateful for the tradition of it - the recipes that are both new and old, the knowledge that my mom, sisters, and nieces are making the same recipes, the feeling of excitement for the holiday tomorrow. The only glitch for tonight was when I discovered that the beater was stuck on my mixer. I thought I was doomed, but some WD40 did the trick after 10 minutes of frenetic trying and everything was back to normal.

The recipes:

Crescent Rolls

1T yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 c milk
1 1/3 cubes butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1t salt
4-5 cups flower.

Mix the yeast with the warm water and 1t sugar. Set aside.

Scald your milk. Remove from heat and add sugar, butter, and salt. Beat eggs. Add milk and yeast mixtures - beat for a while. Add flour 1 cup at a time.  Put in tupperware bowl overnight.  3-4 hours before eating, roll out into 3 circles. Melt some butter and pour over the top of each dough circle. Cut the dough circle into 12 pie-shaped pieces; roll from the outside in and lie on a greased cookie sheet with point side down. Cook at 375 for 12-15 minutes.

Pie Crust
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup butter
5-6 T cold water
1T vinegar (I forgot the vinegar this year!)

I like to use I Can't Believe it's Not Butter (even though I hate the name!) When I use it, it somehow turns out perfect - the dough is stretchy but not too stretchy, and the crust is flaky.

I cooked one pie crust to make the lemon meringue because the recipe calls for a pre-baked pie crust. The recipe I use is from the Better Homes and Garden's New Cook Book. For the apple pie, I used 1.5 cans of pie filling and topped it with a recipe of Pie Crumble from the same cook book. I can't wait to have a piece of this pie with some freshly whipped cream tomorrow!

What are your favorite recipes, traditions, or smells for Thanksgiving?


Amy Sorensen said...

Wait. My rolls recipe calls for 2 T of yeast, not one!!!! Wonder if it is me or you who's been doing it wrong all these years????

also. Today I bought shortening because I ***CANNOT*** get a butter crust to work. I've given up. And I am OK with that. My once-a-year thing is shortening. Or, at least...only for pies!

And. If you want some good recipes for using up your corn starch, I could share! Like...Lucy has a recipe for, gah, some sort of Chinese chicken that is delicious and uses cornstarch. Or, lemon curd uses corn starch.

That is all. Except: now that I'm finished I wish I would have taken pictures. AND. Tomorrow during the preparation i am going to!!!

Hugs. Hope your day is fabulous!

Becky K said...

Amy - the great debate yesterday was over yeast. Lyndsay called me and asked how much salt goes in the recipe for rolls - I pulled up yours in the internet and she then asked me of the difference in yeast. My recipe (which she copied a few years ago) has always called for 2t of yeast and then I saw yours asking for 2T. I dunno what the right amount is, but I used 1T last night because that is what Mom said was correct.

I guess we all make them a little differently! Part of the charm. And honestly: mine have always worked with the 2t, so maybe it doesn't matter???