#122: Bake and Cook
Memories of the baking with my grandmother at Thanksgiving and recipes for Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust, and Bacon, Cheese and Turkey Pot Pie.
Early on Thanksgiving morning, my grandmother Geeg got up at what felt to me like the crack of dawn to come into the kitchen and begin the ritual of making the Thanksgiving meal. There was no question that she owned the kitchen that day. Our once a year guest in residence, Tom the Turkey, was on the shelf in the fridge waiting to be stuffed and roasted, but that would be later…after pies were made. The day always began with pies and she made three; apple, pumpkin and lemon meringue.
As a little girl, I dragged a chair from the breakfast nook, across the linoleum floor to the kitchen counter, so I could stand next to her as she made them. She plopped ice cubes in a glass of water, brought out a big blue can of Crisco, a bag of Gold Medal flour, the round blue Morton salt carton, a big bowl, two blunt tables knives, a fork, and set to work making dough.
She let me help add plops of soft shortening and ice cold water to make a light and flaky crust. I watched as she rolled out dough and each year I got to do a little more of that, too. Then she deftly slipped the doughs into waiting pie tins; hers were aluminum and I still have two.
Fillings were next. Apples were sliced, seasoned and sugared, and pumpkin pie filling made from cans of Libby's pumpkin purée and condensed milk mixed and carefully poured in to waiting shells, and finally set in the oven to bake. Then she went on to make the lemon curd and billowy white meringue for her legendary lemon meringue pie.
The memory is indelible and it is impossible for me not to think of her when I make pies…especially so on Thanksgiving. Geeg was a fierce, independent, no-nonsense woman, and cooking and baking was how she showed the tender heart inside that loved her family dearly.
We’re having a small gathering this year so just one pie will do. Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, a lighter version of pumpkin pie which can also be made sweet potato purée, is what I’ll be making.
What to Do with Leftovers?
Leftover turkey? Make a Bacon, Cheese and Turkey Pot Pie.
Leftover dough? Try Jolene Handy’s Cranberry Crostata
And if you are a pie lover, you won’t want to miss this episode of As We Eat, too.
For Paid Subscribers: Recipes follow for Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust, and Bacon, Cheese and Turkey Pot Pie.