Is this what happens to pie at your house?

pieWe always do three pies, pecan, apple, and pumpkin. OK, sometimes we skip the pumpkin.  We made the pumpkin pie out of one of the butternut squashes from our garden, so it was delicious. The apples for the apple pie came from right across the river in Illinois. The pecans, unfortunately, came from Schnucks, our generic market, and not from Texas trees, as far as I am aware.

So why did the pecan pie get eaten the most? Do I really have to ask that? Have I never tasted pecan pie? Of course I have, and it is true, there is nothing quite like it. The nuts are rich, roasted. The base is creamy with Karo syrup. It is redolent with butter. I found a little bourbon in a flask and put it in. The crust was crisp, flaky. I suppose if I had only one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would not be pecan pie, but right now, I’m not quite sure why not. Maybe a bit too sweet?

Apple pie needs no recipe. Surely you know to toss the apple slices, unpeeled mostly, in a little lemon zest and juice, throw in a small handful of sugar and some flour and bake in a covered crust? I like raisins in there too, but left them out for the purists. And no, this year I did not use the flour. I used a little xanthan gum instead.

This year our pies had gluten free crusts, in honor of one of our loved ones. They were just as crumbly and delicious as the wheat ones, thanks to lots of butter, a little sugar, and a tiny amount of xanthan gum. I like the Trader Joe’s gluten free flour better than the other kind I had. In general, I like the ones with more rice flour, not garbanzo flour as the main ingredient.

The butternut squash pie had mace, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice since I couldn’t find any cloves. It was creamy and rich, but perhaps more main course than dessert.

I grew up with tarts, not pies, too much Europe in our family. Let’s see who eats what this sleepy Black Friday morning.


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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