Thanksgiving is right around the corner and, with it, time to get in the kitchen with your kids and cook up some mouth-watering treats. To help provide inspiration, we reached out to six chefs, restaurateurs and food experts and asked them to share their favorite seasonal dishes. Click through for some tasty inspiration for Turkey day — and beyond!
For a Classic Pie
Dad of Milo, 5; Julian, 7; Luc, 10; Abraham, 20
Thanksgiving thoughts: “Thanksgiving has always been like a magical opening in the universe for me. Accompanying the very fond memories I have of all the years of feasts, and the many crazy stories of things that have happened on Thanksgiving (not all of them printable), I also opened Bubby’s on Thanksgiving.
Before Bubby’s opened, we used the kitchen at 120 Hudson Street to bake pies. We were supposed to be there in secret, because the man who owned the shop before it was Bubby’s was trying to sell his business and didn’t want anyone to know we were there. Since no one knew he was there, it made little difference. From the time we started using the kitchen in September I asked him if I could open the day before Thanksgiving to sell pies, since, despite the idea of keeping us secret, the whole neighborhood smelled like pie.
Finally, after months of pressing, two days before Thanksgiving he said I could open for one day to sell pie. We sold a ton of pie, and the next day decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner for friends. After drinking a lot of wine, the idea of opening the next day was tossed out as a joke, since the owner would not be back in town. So, I opened. Three weeks later the owner showed up with a surprised (mad?) look on his face, but I was in the middle of a lunch rush and only had time to say “Sorry!”
He rolled his eyes and left, but turned around first and suggested we work out the details later.”
Bubby’s Pumpkin Pie
Makes one, 9-inch single crust pumpkin pie.
Par-baked crust for a 9-inch single-crust pie, crimped and chilled in pie tin (see recipe for Bubby’s All-Butter Pastry Pie Dough below)
2 cups fresh pumpkin puree or canned unsweetened pumpkin
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixture, blend the pumpkin, cream, eggs, sugars and vanilla until smooth.
Remove skin off of baked pumpkin and puree in a food processor. Mix the pumpkin, cream, eggs, sugars and vanilla until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and blend just until combined. Sprinkle the ginger in the par-baked pie shell and pour the filling on top.
Bake the pie on a lipped baking sheet for 50 to 55 minutes or until just barely set in the center. Wiggle the pie gently to test its doneness — look for a center that jiggles but doesn’t slosh. The retained heat in the custard will continue cooking the middle as the pie cools off. Don’t overcook it or the texture won’t be as silky. Cracks in a custard are signs of overcooking. A cracked custard is still quite edible.
Cool the pie completely on a cooling rack before cutting, at least a few hours, then refrigerate. Serve it cold with caramel sauce and candied pecans.
Bubby’s All-Butter Pastry Pie Dough
4 to 5 tablespoons ice cold water
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
Measure out the water for the crust (with a bit of extra water in the measure in case you need a touch more) and then add ice cubes. Chill it in the freezer.
Measure out the flour (unsifted) by leveling off dry measuring cups, and add the flour to large bowl. Add the salt to the flour and give it a quick stir to combine evenly.
Use cold butter, measure out the amount you need, and then coat the cold, solid stick with the flour in the bowl. Using a dough scraper or a long butcher knife, cut the butter lengthwise in half, and then lengthwise in quarters, coating each newly cut side with flour as you go. Dice the butter into ¼-inch cubes. Break up any pieces that stick together and toss them al to coat them with flour.
Using a pastry cutter, press the blades through the mixture, bearing down repeatedly like you would to mash potatoes. Repeat this gesture until the largest pieces of fat are the size of shelling peas and the smallest are the size of lentils (none smaller).
When adding the water, begin with a fully chilled flour and fat mixture and ice cold water. Be judicious, even stingy with the water. Do not add all the water at once; it must be dispersed into the mixture incrementally. Add water two or three tablespoons at first, quickly tossing the mixture with your hands after each addition with light upward motion to distribute the water evenly throughout it. Work the dough as little as possible.
Continue adding little bits of water at a time. When there are no floury bits anymore — just little comet-like cobbles that don’t quite cohere— slow down and sprinkle or flick water at this point. One drop can make the difference and bring it all together. The balance can shift quickly from crumbly to wet.
To test the dough for consistency, lightly pat together some dough the size of a tennis ball. If the ball crumbles apart of has lots of dry-looking cracks in it, the dough is still too dry; let it break apart. Add a drop or two of water to the outside of the ball and work it just a little. If it holds and feels firm and supple, mop up any remaining crumbs with the ball — if they fall back into the bowl, you might need a touch more water. The pastry should be just a little bit tacky when you touch it.
Wet dough may seem easier to work, but because the extra water overdevelops the gluten, it makes it a really tough crust. If your pie dough is stretchy (glutinous) and quickly retracts when you roll it out, chances are you have added more water than you need and your pastry is overworked. If your dough is quite sticky, soft and wet, it is better to pitch it and start over.
Dough can feel like it’s holding together because the butter is melting. If at any point the dough ceases to feel cool to the touch or the butter pieces feel melty, soft, and warm, put the whole mixture in the freezer until it’s cooled down again — about 10 minutes. It’s impossible to gauge the water ratio accurately if the fat is melting into the flour.
Shape the dough into one round ball with your hands. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour to relax and slow the gluten development and rechill the fat.
Roll and gently shape the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate the crust-lined pan. After allowing the dough to settle into the pan completely, trim the excess dough (about ¾ inch beyond the end of the pan) with the pastry cutter or the tip of a sharp knife. Crimp the dough by rolling the trimmed dough edge and resting it on the lip of the tin. Work your way around the edge continuously, striving for a rolled edge pretty even in thickness — about ½ inch. Chill the fully formed crust for at least 20 minutes.
Before baking, dock the bottom of the entire crust with a fork. Line the inside of the crust with parchment or foil and fill it with dried beans or commercial pie weights, spreading them evenly all the way up to the top edge.
Bake the crust at 450 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until the edge looks blonde and lightly blistered. The bottom of the crust will look partially cooked and there may still be some translucency in the dough. Carefully lift out the liner and weights. Cool the crust completely on a rack or trivet.
photo: via Bubby's Facebook page
Share your favorite holiday recipe below!
— Lambeth Hochwald