Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Goodness of Pie

There's nothing that can beat pie in the holiday dessert department. There's something about a warm flaky crust, en robing the warm blend of apples and cinnamon or offsetting a super sweet pecan pie. A cake is nice, but it connotes fancy celebrations and parties. A pie is like a comforting sweater or blanket. It means a good down to earth dessert at the end of a homey meal.

Pies are relatively easy to bake. You just need a simple crust and a good filling. It doesn't have to come out looking pretty like any other dessert. It just has to be made well and taste good. The best crusts are made with shortening, lard and flour. You can use butter instead of fat for a richer, taste but these are more for tartes such as a delicate pear or apricot. For a really easy one there's nothing like graham crackers ground up , mixed with melted butter and sugar and baked.You can also use chocolate, cinnamon or honey flavored ones too.

As for fillings, nothing beats fruit. You can vary a basic one like apples. adding caramel and walnuts for a caramel apple pie. (this is the best spin on the traditional apple). You can also add raisins or dried cranberries. Nothing beats a peach pie which is more of a summer dessert. However this is the season for pumpkin, and pear. For pumpkin the best bet is a can of processed cooking pumpkin (what you probably still have on your porch is a carving one). Pears are plentiful right now and can be baked into an open kind of tart.

Cream pies are an easy option for those who have little or no time to bake. You can create some interesting layers with puddings and whipped toppings. You can even add a layer of fruit or nuts on top. There's also the very easy to make ice cream pies which just require a baked crust and your favorite flavor. These are the pies that everyone from adults to kids will like.

Enjoy a slice of pie this Thanksgiving or Christmas. There's nothing like the homey goodness of one to warm your soul.

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