Pie Night!

I wish I could take credit for pie night, but I can’t.  When I was working at Deloitte, one of my colleagues was an incredibly cool guy, who, on top of his just genuine nice-ness, also introduced me to the concept of pie night.  What is pie night, you ask?

For most people*, one of the worst things about a great Thanksgiving is that you spend the day eating a ton of rich, savory foods… and by the time it’s time for dessert, you’re full.  So, either you skip dessert with the reasoning that you’ve eaten plenty, or you eat it but you don’t enjoy it because you’re too full to fully appreciate it.

So, to solve this (admittedly luxury) problem, pie night comes in.  The night before Thanksgiving, we forgo dinner.  Instead, we make and eat pie for dinner.  Our tradition for pie night also involves inviting our neighbors and good friends over to share, and of course, there are always leftovers for Thanksgiving.

This year, we made ten pies and an English trifle–definitely our most ambitious pie night to date.  Which, of course, makes sense, because with three young kids and a baby on the way, we obviously had nothing else going on.  And with Kullervo busy at work, it was totally not at all stressful for either of us.  Ultimately, Kullervo made all but one of the pie crusts, and the three fruit pies, and their lattice crust tops.  I made the trifle and the other seven pies.

That said, here is our spread.

This is our table before anybody arrived, complete with a sneaky five year old...

This is our table before anybody arrived, complete with a sneaky five year old…

English trifle... peaches, ladyfingers, jello, custard, and whipped cream.  It takes three days to make, but is actually quite simple.  Definitely a kid favorite.

English trifle… peaches, ladyfingers, jello, custard, and whipped cream. It takes three days to make, but is actually quite simple. Definitely a kid favorite.

 

Lemon-lime meringue pie

Lemon-lime meringue pie

 

Chocolate mudslide pie.  This is a two layer pie, and is pretty intense.  A tiny sliver is plenty, but it's hard to stop there!

Chocolate mudslide pie. This is a two layer pie, and is pretty intense. A tiny sliver is plenty, but it’s hard to stop there!

 

Pecan pie--a pretty basic, standard recipe.

Pecan pie–a pretty basic, standard recipe.

 

Pear pie, cooked with moonshine and dried cranberries

Pear pie, cooked with moonshine and dried cranberries

 

Bourbon apple pie with golden raisins

Bourbon apple pie with golden raisins

 

Strawberry-rosemary pie, with rosemary essential oil added to the crust

Strawberry-rosemary pie, with rosemary essential oil added to the crust

 

Standard pumpkin pie

Standard pumpkin pie

 

Chess pie.  It's a southern thing with some unusual pie ingredients (vinegar and cornmeal), and was really popular, even though I thought it was too sweet.

Chess pie. It’s a southern thing with some unusual pie ingredients (vinegar and cornmeal), and was really popular, even though I thought it was too sweet.

 

Butternut Squash pie with a vanilla-beet swirl. ***

Butternut Squash pie with a vanilla-beet swirl. ***

 

Orange Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan Crumble

Orange Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan Crumble

Happy Thanksgiving!

*Note that I say for most people.  That’s because I actually don’t like most traditional** Thanksgiving food.  I am not a huge poultry eater, I don’t eat potatoes, stuffing confuses me, and green bean casserole sounds weird.

**We have spent most of the the last seven Thanksgivings with some of our absolute best friends in the world, and they always bring food that I love–butternut squash dishes, and a baked corn dish that’s insanely good… really, everything they’ve ever made for me to eat has been amazing.

***The butternut squash pie was the very first pie that I have ever invented.  I steamed a squash and pureed it.  While I was doing that, I boiled two beets that I had peeled and quartered in water with vanilla and sugar added to it, until the liquid was very syrupy.  I took the squash and made a variation on a pumpkin pie recipe, using only cinnamon and a bit of vanilla (instead of also incorporating ginger, nutmeg, and clove).  I pureed the beet concoction, and my plan was to try to spread it into the pie to give a marbleized effect.  It didn’t spread into it really well, but I did my best.  And it tasted quite good!

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