Thanksgiving Eve 2015

Thanksgiving Eve 2015

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‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving and all through the kitchen

Flour was flying and cranberry sauce was a-glistenin’

At about 7pm tonight, I printed out Ina’s Perfect Pie Crust recipe and strode meaningfully into the kitchen, ready to take no prisoners.

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Step One: Dice butter, put in fridge. Done!

My delusional thoughts at the time: I’m really good at this. Maybe I should bake pies professionally.

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Step Two: Get three cups of flour. Decided to weigh out the flour rather than just use measuring cup.

128 g per cup x 3 cup = 384 g flour

128 is according to allrecipes. The weight seems to vary depending on who you ask.

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Step Three: Add salt and sugar. That added a few grams.

Unforeseen issue: Food processor blade tipped up as I tried to put the processor bowl onto the mechanical part.

Next time, I will measure the flour in a separate bowl and then put that into food processor.

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Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite unhealthy ingredient… SHORTENING!

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Step Four: Acquire 1/3 cup of shortening.

I store mine in the fridge so it was already super cold, a widely-acknowledged key to pie crust success.

I decided to weigh this also, partially because I think it’s more accurate and partially because I find a plate easier to wipe clean of fat than my 1/3 cup measuring cup.

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Step Five: Deposit cold butter and shortening into the food processor.

Hellooo, gorgeous!

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Step Six: Pulsed 12 times, per Ina’s instructions.

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Step Seven: With food processor running, added a half cup of cold water slowly. Recipe said I didn’t have to use all of it. Just went with my gut.

My thoughts: Confidence took a little wobble there. The show must go on!

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Step Eight: Turn out onto floured surface, cover with plastic wrap, and place in fridge for at least 30 min.

Side note: You can see my new favorite beverage in the background here: Sprite Cranberry Zero. Mmmmm. It’s important to stay hydrated in the kitchen! It’s a delicious, festive, low cal drink.

Side note 2: Check out my sweet plastic wrap dispenser below. I kept seeing it on tv and getting mad jealous. So I got one last year for my birthday and it has absolutely changed my life.

More of my thoughts: This is going swimmingly. I wonder what my pie shop will be named.

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Step Nine: Commence the cranberry sauce!

The first step for the sauce was to oil the mold, which I did with my good friend, PAM.

I chose a metal mold because the sauce will be really hot when I pour it in. Plastic didn’t seem like a good choice.

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Step Ten: Acquire one cup of granulated sugar.

According the allrecipes website, one cup of sugar is 201 grams.

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Step Eleven: Rinse cranberries and pick out any yucky ones. I used one 12 oz package of fresh cranberries.

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Step Twelve: Put one cup of water and one cup of sugar in pan. Add cranberries, too (not pictured in this picture).

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Step Thirteen: BTB.

This is Chef Anne Burrell code for bring to boil.


Secrets of a Restaurant Chef

I really like acronyms.

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Step Fourteen: Stir so it doesn’t boil over, but make sure lots of cranberries explode, thereby releasing their magical pectin properties. Boil about two minutes.

Side note: This is my first ever gif made at You can make free 5 second gifs from video without logging in. Waaay easier than figuring out how to do it in photoshop!!!

Side note 2: Why is there a candy thermometer in my pan? I read that cranberry sauce should reach 217 degrees Fahrenheit in order to get that coveted jellied-ness. But then I realized water boils at 212, so how can it reach 217? At that point, I removed the thermometer, which had been inconveniencing my stirring. Then I stirred some more and decided it was done.

stirring cranberry sauce

Step Fifteen: Pour into pre-oiled mold.

That was easy!

I left it on the dining room table on a trivet to cool for at least an hour before I put it into the fridge.

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Step Sixteen: Return to the pie crusts!

I cut the ball in half and weighed the halves to be approximately even.

My thoughts at the time: Phew. I’m getting a little bit tired. But we must find a way to carry on. We really need to focus on what our pie shop will be called. (I was getting all high and mighty, using the royal we!)

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Step Seventeen: Roll out crust.

Roll onto rolling pin.

Hindsight discussion: So I rolled out my crust to be a little over 12 inches in diameter, despite only having a 9 inch pie pan. My reasoning for doing this was that during previous attempts at pie making, I didn’t roll out the crust enough. So I decided to make it opposite day. As you will see by the end of the post, this did not work out too well for me. In the future, I will roll out to be 10 or 11 inches for a 9 inch crust… That being said, I just discovered this NYT article that says to roll out into 12 in circle. Ay yai yai…

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Step Eighteen: Gingerly place crust onto pie pan.

As you can see, I had lots of excess hanging over. This seemed good at the time, but I don’t think I will do it again. It seemed kind of wasteful.

My delusional thoughts at the time: Damn, gurrrl! I am totally amazing at this. My pie shop will be called Lardy Party. Oh wait, that sounds disgusting. How about: A Pie for a Pie Makes the Whole World Happy. Too long. *shakes head* Branding issues.

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Step Nineteen: Acquire filling.

Today’s special: Kroger cherry pie filling.

I didn’t even see that I got two different kinds until I took this picture, lol!

There really were more cherries in the extra cherry can. Good quality control, Kroger.

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Step Twenty: Dump cans of filling into pie crust.

At this point, I did a taste test of the filling. Results: scrumptious!

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Step Twenty One:

Many things are not pictured here.

  • Put the pie into the fridge. It is sitting on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
  • Roll out the other dough ball.
  • Extract pie from fridge and place second crust on top.
  • Trim excess (and there was a lot of excess!)
  • Hindsight note: I should have trimmed even more!

What is pictured is my crimping technique.

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Here’s an closeup of the crimping. I hoped that the two would merge together in the oven.

Hindsight note: They didn’t! Maybe I didn’t press hard enough? Maybe I should have squished them better. Next time, I will use a fork.

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Step Twenty Two: Add vents to top of pie. Super star!

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Step Twenty Three: Brush on milk.

Hindsight note: Add more milk!

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Step Twenty Four: Sprinkle on granulated sugar.

Hindsight note: Add more sugar!

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Step Twenty Five: Bake for at least forty-five minutes. I ended up baking one hour, the entire time at 400 degrees.

My delusional thoughts as I put the pie in the oven: I should consider entering professional baking competitions. Maybe I could fly to England and be the first American participant in the Great British Bake Off!

Hindsight discussion:

I put the aluminum foil protectors on the edges from the beginning because of previous bad experiences. I ended up taking them off for the last fifteen minutes of baking. I don’t really know which is better. Next time, I will probably bake without aluminum foil for the first ten minutes at 425, then drop down to 375 or 350 for forty more minutes.

I should have been more generous with the toppings (milk and sugar), as you can see from the uneven browning.

Crimping situation! I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but the edge of the crust is drooping because I didn’t trim off enough excess. Also, my crimping did not hold in that one area. I don’t know if that would change if I used a fork. It didn’t start oozing until the last ten minutes.

My realistic thoughts as I removed the pie from the oven: I am a complete newb/noob. Do not quit day job. Postpone pie shop opening indefinitely. Consider culinary school. GBBO definitely out. Would not stand up the cold stares of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.

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I will report back with more information about taste tomorrow.

The cranberry sauce recipe was:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 bag of cranberries (12 oz for mine)

You can find Ina’s pie crust recipe at food network here.

Tomorrow will also feature more side notes and hindsight discussions.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a Good Night!

What are your tips and tricks for pies and cranberry sauce?

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Howdy! We are a two-sister writing team in sunny Arizona. We are authors, photographers, and Woof Trekkers. Read our blog for posts about food, positivity, pets, self-publishing, and travel.
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