Sour Cream Pumpkin-Banana Pie

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I thought Dorie Greenspan’s decision to add banana to the pumpkin pie was inspired.  The flavors just blend together so well, and the banana adds an element of surprise for those expecting a traditional pumpkin pie.

 

Sour Cream Pumpkin-Banana Pie
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 2 9-inch pies

For the crust:

  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 2 cups (canned) unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream OR plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas
  • Lightly sweetened lightly whipped cream, for topping

 

To make the crust:

  1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut shortening into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
  2. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
  3. When the pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl, divide it in half and gather each half into a ball.
  4. On a well-floured surface, flatten the first ball, flour a rolling pin, and roll out the pastry until it is 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  5. Fold pastry into quarters and move into the plate.  Unfold it and press it firmly against the sides and bottom.
  6. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.
  7. Repeat with second ball.

To make the filling:

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 450°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat and put the pie plates on it.

  2. Slice bananas into 1/4-inch slices on the bias, and line the bottoms of the crusts.  (If you forget this step, don’t worry – you can put the banana slices on top of the pies after they bake and cool, then cover with whipped cream.)
  3. Put all of the filling ingredients in a food processor and process for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.  Alternatively, you can whisk the ingredients together vigorously in a mixing bowl.

     

  4. Rap the work bowl or mixing bowl against the counter to burst any surface bubbles, and pour the filling into the crusts.

  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 300°F and continue to bake for 35-45 minutes longer, or until a knife inserted close to the center comes out clean.  (If you don’t want to create a slash in your masterpiece, tap the pan gently—if the custard doesn’t jiggle, or only jiggles a teensy bit in the very center, it’s done.)

     

  6. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool to room temperature, then top with whipped cream.

 

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Caramel Pumpkin Pie

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Caramel pumpkin pie is an interesting twist on the classic pumpkin pie.  The caramel really stands out in the filling, complementing the other flavors perfectly.

 

Caramel Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 9″  pie

For the crust:

  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum, cognac, or apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Tiny pinch of ground allspice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

For topping:

  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream

 

To make the crust:

  1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut shortening into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
  2. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
  3. When the pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl, gather it into a ball.
  4. On a well-floured surface, flatten the ball, flour a rolling pin, and roll out the pastry until it is 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  5. Fold pastry into quarters and move into the plate.  Unfold it and press it firmly against the sides and bottom.
  6. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.

To make the filling:

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF.  Place the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
  2. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the sugar evenly over the bottom of a large nonstick skillet.
  3. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and, staying close by, cook until the sugar melts and starts to color.  Once you see a little color, gently swirl the skillet so that the sugar colors evenly.
  4. Cook the sugar, without stirring, until it turns deep amber – almost mahogany.  The sugar will bubble up and foam and soon it will start to smoke.  It is very dramatic, and it might make you think you’ve gone too far, but you want a dark (though not burned black) color; the darker the sugar, the fuller the flavor.  When the bubbles have gone from foamy to big and fat, you will probably have reached the right color.  To check the color, drop a bit of the caramelized sugar on a white plate.
  5. Lower the heat to medium, stand back, and pour the cream into the skillet.  The sugar will bubble and hiss and, if the cream was cold, it may even clump.  Just continue to cook, stirring and it will even out.
  6. Add the rum/cognac/cider and butter, and cook just until the caramel is smooth.
  7. Pour the caramel into a heatproof pitcher or bowl and cool it for about 15 minutes.
  8. Working with a whisk in a large bowl, beat the pumpkin to break it up and smooth it.
  9. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar to the pumpkin and beat to blend.
  10. Whisk in the spices, salt, vanilla, and eggs, beating until the mixture is smooth.
  11. Whisk in the caramel.
  12. Rap the bowl against the counter a few times to de-bubble the filling, then pour the filling into the crust.
  13. Bake 45-50 minutes (actually, I needed to go to 60 minutes), or until the filling is puffed and set.  A thin knife inserted into the center of the pie will come out clean.  It will also leave a gash in the filling, but you’ll be covering it with whipped cream.
  14. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool to room temperature, or cool and refrigerate.
  15. When you are ready to serve, spread the lightly whipped cream over the top of the pie.  If you’d like a dressier look, whip the cream until it is firm, put it into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe rosettes over the surface of the pie.  Alternatively, you can pipe the cream in a lattice pattern.

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

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I thought these rolls were amazing – soft, tender, just a little sweet.  The pumpkin flavor doesn’t come through, but the puree does give the rolls a nice color.  Although I didn’t try it, the original recipe suggests adding a couple pinches of cinnamon or nutmeg if you want to boost the pumpkin taste.

Original recipe

 

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
From Woks of Life

Yield: 16 rolls

  • 1/2 cup (about 120 grams) pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup (158 ml) heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) milk, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (115 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) cake flour
  • 3 1/2 cups (500 grams) bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon (11 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) salt
  • Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • A large handful of raw pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • Simple syrup (optional): 2 teaspoons of sugar dissolved in 2 teaspoons hot water

 

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add ingredients in the following order: pumpkin puree, heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cake flour, bread flour, yeast, and salt.  I highly recommend measuring the flour by weight to get the right amount.  If you don’t have a kitchen scale, make sure to tap the measuring cup against a hard surface to ensure there are no air pockets.
  2. Turn the mixer on to the lowest setting, and let it go for 15 minutes, stopping occasionally to push the dough down off the hook.  The dough is very stiff, especially at first.  If you’re in a humid climate and the dough is too sticky, feel free to add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If you don’t have a mixer and would like to knead the dough by hand, extend the kneading time by 10 minutes.
  3. After 15 minutes of mixing, the dough is ready for proofing.  It should not feel tacky when you touch it.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel, and place in a warm spot for 1 hour.  The dough will grow to 1.5 times its original size.
  4. In the meantime, grease a square 11″ x 11″ pan or 9″ x 13″ pan on all sides with a stick of cold butter or cooking spray.
  5. After an hour of proofing, put the dough back in the mixer and stir for another 5 minutes on the lowest setting to get rid of any air bubbles.
  6. Next, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces on a lightly floured surface, ideally using a kitchen scale.
  7. Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball and arrange them in a 4×4 grid in the pan.  In an 11″ x 11″ pan, the balls will have about half an inch of space between them on all sides.  In a 9″ x 13″ pan, the balls will be touching along the shorter direction and have about an inch of space between them in the long direction.
  8. Cover and proof for another hour until the buns grow to 1.5 times their original size.
  9. Prepare egg wash.
  10. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF.  Brush the risen dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with the raw pumpkin seeds (if using).
  11. Bake for 16-18 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
  12. Prepare simple syrup.
  13. Take the buns out of the oven and immediately brush them with the sugar water to give them a nice shine and sweetness.  Serve warm.
  14. To store, put in covered container and microwave briefly before serving.

Persimmon-Apple Pie

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Fall is the time for persimmons, so what could be more seasonal than a persimmon-apple pie?  For this recipe, make sure to get fuyu persimmons – they are the smaller, squatter type that you can eat when crunchy.  (For hachiya persimmons, you have to wait until they’re extremely soft otherwise they taste terrible.)

 

Persimmon-Apple Pie
Adapted from Betty Crocker

Yield: One 9-inch pie

Crust:

  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash of salt
  • 4 cups thinly sliced, pared fuyu persimmons
  • 1 cup thinly sliced, pared tart apples (about 1 medium apple – I like using Granny Smith or Fuji)

 

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut shortening into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
  3. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
  4. When the pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl, divide it in half.  Gather each half into a ball.
  5. On a well-floured surface, flatten the first ball, flour a rolling pin, and roll out the pastry until it is 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  6. Fold pastry into quarters and move into the plate.  Unfold it and press it firmly against the sides and bottom.
  7. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.

 

To make the filling and assemble the pie:

  1. Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg (if using), cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Stir in persimmon and apple slices, tossing with fork to coat them with the sugar mixture.
  3. Turn filling into the pastry-lined pie plate.
  4. Roll out the other ball of pastry.  Fold into quarters and unfold again over the filling, cutting slits so steam can escape. (Alternatively, if you’re in a fancy mood, you can cut the pastry into thin strips and make a lattice pattern.)
  5. Trim overhanging edges of the top crust 1 inch from the rim of plate.
  6. Fold and roll top edge under lower edge, pressing on rim to seal it.  For a pretty pattern, press the tines of a fork into the edge of the pastry all around the rim.
  7. Put pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet to catch any juice overflow.
  8. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through the slits in the crust.

Sweet Potato Pie

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Fall seems like the perfect time for sweet potato pie.  Get into the spirit of the season with this recipe!

Original recipe

 

Sweet Potato Pie
Adapted from All Recipes

Yield: 9-inch pie

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water

Filling:

  • 1 lb sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar OR 1/2 cup white sugar + dollop molasses
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves OR allspice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, to thicken
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

To make the crust:

  1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut shortening into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
  2. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
  3. When the pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl, gather it into a ball.
  4. On a well-floured surface, flatten the ball, flour a rolling pin, and roll out the pastry until it is 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  5. Fold pastry into quarters and move into the plate.  Unfold it and press it firmly against the sides and bottom.
  6. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.

To make filling:

  1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40-50 minutes, or until you can easily poke a skewer through it. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin. For the best texture, use the sweet potato immediately; do not refrigerate.
  2. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF.
  3. Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, evaporated milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, lemon juice, flour, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth.
  4. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust, making sure to stop just below the edge of the crust, since the filling will puff up as it bakes. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil to catch any drippings.
  5. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. If necessary, add to the baking time 5 minutes at a time. The top will be golden-brown when it is done. The pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

Pecan Pie

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For those who don’t happen to have corn syrup on hand, here is a pecan pie recipe that uses sugars alone to achieve pecan-pie-ness.  The top puffs up like a souffle while baking and forms a crisp, tasty crust.

Original recipe

 

Pecan Pie
From All Recipes

Yield: 9-inch pie

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water

Filling:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

 

To make the crust:

  1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut shortening into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
  2. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
  3. When the pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl, gather it into a ball.
  4. On a well-floured surface, flatten the ball, flour a rolling pin, and roll out the pastry until it is 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  5. Fold pastry into quarters and move into the plate.  Unfold it and press it firmly against the sides and bottom.
  6. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.

To make filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy, and stir in melted butter.
  3. Stir in the brown sugar, white sugar, and flour; mix well.
  4. Lastly, add the milk, vanilla, and nuts.
  5. Pour into pie crust.
  6. Bake 10 minutes at 400ºF, then reduce temperature to 300ºF and bake for about 50-60 minutes. The pie top will puff up like a souffle and will be browned and cracked when done. A toothpick inserted into the pie might still come out sticky, but the filling will set as it cools.

Pork Chops

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This is one of my favorite pork chop recipes, which comes from an ancient newspaper clipping.  You can make the spice mix and store it in an airtight container for use on other types of meat, such as chicken drumsticks.

 

Pork Chops
From Paul Prudhomme

Yield: 8 pork chops

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 (4.5-oz) pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

 

  1. In a small bowl, combine salt and spices.
  2. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon spice mixture on each side of the pork chops and rub it in.
  3. In a heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat for 3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, dredge half of the pork chops in flour.  Just as oil begins to smoke, shake off excess flour and slide each pork chop into oil, making sure bottom of each chop is well coated in oil.
  5. Cook 2.5 minutes then turn chops and reduce heat to medium.
  6. Cook about 3 minutes and turn again.
  7. Cook 1 minute longer and turn.
  8. Cook 1 minute, then remove chops to serving plate.  Keep warm.
  9. Discard oil.  Loosen browned bits on bottom of skillet and discard.  Wipe skillet and pour in 1 tablespoon oil.
  10. Flour and cook remaining pork chops.