No, its not March 14th. Every fall, I have a pie day. I wait until pumpkins, sweet potatoes and apples are in season and then make all my pies for the winter months. I usually do banana, pumpkin and zucchini bread too, but I did not have enough time. I definitely learned a new lesson – do not do pie day after work, dedicate a whole day.
Step 1 – Cut the pumpkins in half and scrape out the insides. Coat pan with oil, place pumpkins face down. Bake pumpkins in 380 for like 40 minutes? I dunno, I just wait until I can smell them and then periodically check with a knife to see if I can easily poke through the shell.
The pumpkins take a good amount of time, so I started them before i even set the rest of the kitchen up. Another note – I buy the pumpkins about a week before I need them so that they can ripen a bit more and are easier to cut. This time I also got Kyle to cut the pumpkins so that I didn’t have to face the struggle. I probably need new knives.
The supplies. What you don’t see in the picture is the wine (really important for the process) and the bowls/utensils.
Step 2: The second longest process is the sweet potatoes. Peel, cut and then boil until soft.
Step 3: The apples are easily the most awful part of the day unless you have a combo peel-core-cut machine. Kyle was done in the garage and was back to help me with the apples.
We improvised by using an egg slicer for the apples. It was perfect! However it was also not designed for apples and broke after maybe 20 uses.
Step 4: The zucchini was cut (NOT peeled) and then placed into a food processor. In the end we got too tired to attempt bread so the zucchini will be frozen until bread day.
Shown below is the zucchini, two large zucchini makes 4 cups. The pumpkin after it was removed from the oven and scraped from the shell is in the food processor. Three pie pumpkins made about 8 cups. Four large sweet potatoes made 6 cups. The apples are still being cut; two bags of apples made about18 heaping cups. For the apples we went with the apple core and cut utensil then cut each slice twice long ways and once across to achieve the desired thin slices. The process wasn’t too bad.
Squash and apples are super safe for dogs. Just make sure to remove the seeds from the apple cores. Also, Blue LOVES zucchini ends so he stays by and cleans the floor as I go! I am a very messy cook.
Step 5: Make the crust! My recipe is 2-2/3c of all purpose flour, mix in 1/2t of salt and approx 1/3c of finely chopped nuts (I use a slap chop). Then cut in one stick (1/2c) of real unsalted butter. Mix in 1/3c of water as you stir and then get your hands in to mix up the rest of the flour. It is not necessary to kneed the dough, but I do so to achieve consistency and because the spoon just doesn’t do it for me.
Step 6 – Roll out the dough and place into pie tins. The mix above gives approx three and a third pies. Note: I do not use a matt to roll the dough. I just clean my counter REALLY well a few times before I start the dough process.
I use walnuts for sweet potatoes and pumpkins, then pecans for apple pies.
As I was doing the crust, Kyle made the batter and we baked! The pumpkin and sweet potato go in at about 375-400 for 45 minutes and the apple pies are at 425 for 25 minutes. We used store bought spices for everything except the ginger which I used fresh and ground myself.
Pies in the oven. It was always full! Note: the apple pies have a lattice crust and before going in the oven get three dollops of butter.
Blue is tired from the floor monitoring. Kyle was also done with the process. I really shouldn’t have crammed what would be a days experience into an evening. I wouldn’t have been so crabby at the end, I would have had time to make the bread and I would have been able to drink more wine!
The pies are cooling! Note: each of the pies will be frozen. I wrap mine in saran wrap then put in a gallon ziplock. When you want to use one, let it defrost in a fridge or bake at 375 until ready. For the apple pies, brush milk over the crust before baking and maybe add another dollop of butter before baking/defrosting.
Watching some futurama with the rest of my wine while the pies cool.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for the bread day post.