Pies. Pies. Pies.

Part of my favorite part of Thanksgiving is making pies. I have some golden oldies I make every year (pumpkin), a few I have my own twist too (sweet potato with a walnut streusel top) and then I'm always open to trying out new recipes on the family (spiced apple/pear pie with a hard apple cider caramel sauce). 

All three went over well this year so I thought I'd share them  with you. 

Classic Pumpkin:

3/4 C sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 lg eggs
15 oz canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix but purred pumpkin)
12 oz evaporated milk
1 9-in unbaked pie shell

Mix sugar and spices. Add eggs. Stir in pumpkin and evaporated milk. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake in preheated oven (425) for 15 minutes - reduce temperature to 350 for remaining 40 minutes. Serve hot or chilled. 

Sweet Potato Pie with Walnut/Pecan Streusel:

Pie filling:
15 oz canned cut yams (NOT candied yams)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 Tbsp brown sugar

Streusel top:
2 Tbsp cold butter cut
2 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 C chopped walnuts
2/3 C chopped pecans
1 graham cracker pie crust

Pie: Heat canned yams, sugar and spices into saucepan for 3-5 minutes to infuse the spices flavor. In large bowl mix eggs and evaporated milk. Temper yams into egg mixture. Mix well - strain if lumpy. Pour into pie crust. Bake in preheated over (375) for 15 minutes - then add streusel.

Streusel: Mix flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut butter into flour mixture until lumpy (do not over work). Add in nuts. Place mixture lightly onto semi-cooked pie. Bake pie for another 30-40 minutes. 

Spiced Apple & Pear Pie:

2 pie crusts (of your favorite recipe or premade)

3 pounds baking apples (about 6 apples)
1 1/2 pounds baking pears (about 3 pears)
2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the pie
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten

Peel, core and then slice both the apple and pear into 1/2-inch slices. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the fruit, then toss fruit with the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fruit and cook about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, uncovered, until the fruit softens and the juices evaporate some, about 10 minutes. Evenly mix the flour into the fruit; then cook about a minute more to thicken the juices slightly. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest; and remove from the heat. (The filling should resemble a tight compote.) Cool completely.

Poor into pie shell and top with second crust. Crimp and decorate as you wish. Paint top with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake pie in preheated oven (375) for approx 50 minutes (or until both top and bottom crusts are golden brown). 

 Serve with cider sauce* 

 *2 cups of hard apple cider, 2tsp cinnamon, 1/4 C brown sugar and 2 tsps of corn starch cooked on stove top until reduces by 1/2.


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