Monday, November 29, 2010

What are YOU Thankful for?

I know this is a late Thanksgiving post, but it is never too late to be thankful. I am thankful for a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend which included, but wasn't limited to:

  1. Tons of turkey.  Luckily we had some leftover to make Joe's leftover casserole on Friday; I thought that I might have to go buy a roasted chicken from the grocery store to stand in for the leftovers!  We also had some yummy ham and luscious crab.  It was delightful!
  2. Nice, mellow time at my mother-in-law's home with the rest of that side of the family.  We missed those who couldn't be there!  And those we couldn't travel to go to be with.
  3. Monkey's lovely centerpiece that added festive color to the dinner table.
  4. Watching slides of Andy and his family when they were younger.  So much fun, and some laughs, too.
  5. Black Friday shopping with friends...starting at 11p.m. Thursday night and ending at 10a.m. Friday morning.
  6. Making Belgian waffles this morning with my new Black Friday waffle maker!
  7. Seeing the next to the last Harry Potter film with the two oldest kids, and eating sunflower seeds through the whole thing to keep myself awake at the 9:15 show after staying up the night before and only napping during the day.
  8. Monkey asking if they were going to get a "Lumpin Coal" from Santa for Christmas
  9. Bri, Natty, Andy and I speaking in Church on Sunday...So happy that's over!
  10. Hoping my Grandma is smiling down on us from Heaven this Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Humble Pear Crumble Pie

If you hadn't realized it yet, Thanksgiving is next week.  Next week.  NEXT WEEK!!!  I KNOW!!!  And you're welcome for the reminder.  Because in my world, Thanksgiving feels like it should be two months away still.  That being said, I'm gearing up for Thanksgiving dinner at Nonni's house.  We'll be celebrating there, and it will be a collaborative effort, with the turkey, potatoes, some pies and a jell-o cranberry sauce as my OUR responsibilities.  I'm putting the kids to work!

The rest of the menu includes ham, green bean casserole, yams and apples, salad and bread.

Heaven on a plate.

I've been the turkey roaster for the the past few years, including The Thanksgiving that almost wasn't, and I really enjoy it. 

I also really enjoy pie.  Any kind of pie.  And it's not because I love the crust, because I'm more than willing to give the crust up to Andy.  I think it's because Pie equals Love.  Homemade, comforting, gather round the hearth love.

This is one of our favorite pies.  It is similar to a Dutch Apple Pie, but mad with pears.  Any variety will work, but I used some locally grown Bartletts for this pie.  The pears take on an almost buttery flavor and texture.  Of course, that might also be from the stick of bUtter in the crumble topping.

Pear Crumble Pie

Use your favorite pie crust recipe.  I used Sylvia's Perfect Pie Crust recipe from Pioneer Woman, and it got rave reviews from the pie testers.
I am obviously not a pie crust perfectionist.  I don't have the patience to expertly flute the edges, and I usually have to do some patching after lifting the crust in, but the pie tasters care not about the aesthetic appeal of the crust as they're wolfing it down.


3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
dash of salt
1 teaspoon of shredded lemon peel
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (basically the juice from one large lemon)
6 to 8 pears, peeled and cored, then thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon peel and juice.  Toss with the pears and arrange in pie shell.

I do not spend my time arranging.  The pears are dumped in and shoved to fit.
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)(I cube it up while it's cold and let it sit in the bowl til it is room temperature.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I grate from a whole nutmeg and it's delish!)
1 cup flour

Combine the topping ingredients until it's crumbly.  Sprinkle over the pie filling.  Make sure you don't pat it down, it will make a crust and not a crumble.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 425.  Wrap the crust edges in foil for the first 1/2 hour then remove and cover just the crumble for the last fifteen minutes to prevent overbrowning.
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