The weekend before Thanksgiving, I was lucky enough to bake with all three of my grandparents. Nani Bird and Potchie held a pie bake-off and Grandma Wanda helped me to learn how to make her famous pie crust. I'm nowhere near the master she is, so I'll be calling her for tips for sure. The pies were so good that I recreated them for Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, my pies weren't as good as Grandma Wanda's Lemon Meringue Pie, but I'm still learning. I especially need to work on my crust crimping technique and making the crust look more professional. I can only hope my pies turn out like hers one day.
A clear winner couldn't be concluded for the pie bake-off, but I can tell you that the baking session included some bickering and attempted sabotage, Nani and Potchie style. I saw a lot of ingredients that were tampered with, but that's all I can divulge. Not wanting to get written out of either's will, I decided to remain neutral. You can make both pies and decide for yourself - both will soon be holiday season favorites!
Adapted from the kitchen of Joe Mayer
1 can condensed milk
15 oz. canned pumpkin
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
Make your favorite pie crust recipe. Roll out crust and place in 9 inch pie pan. Freeze for 30 minutes. Do not blind bake the crust (produces a hard crust)!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine all above ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour filling into frozen pie crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely before serving and top off with homemade whipped cream.
Adapted from the Food Network Kitchen
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups chopped toasted pecans
1 1/2 tbsp. bourbon (I prefer Maker's Mark)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Again, prepare your favorite pie crust dough and roll out into a 9-inch pie pan, and do not blind bake. Freeze crust for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and stirring constantly, continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, bourbon and vanilla. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth. Put the pie shell on a cookie sheet and pour the filling in the crust.
Bake on the lower over rack until the edges are set but the center is slightly loose, about 40 to 45 minutes. (If the edges start to get too dark, you can cover them with aluminum foil half way during baking.) Cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, with either homemade whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.