Wednesday, December 29, 2010

About those Christmas pies...

After writing the post last Thursday about pies, I couldn't decide which pies to make for Christmas dinner. So I decided to make all four of them. I shopped for the ingredients on that Thursday, but couldn't find mincemeat anywhere. On Christmas Eve (the next day), my hubby went to four different stores and found it at the last store. Thank you SaveMart!
On Christmas Eve I started by mixing the pie dough so I could get it into the refrigerator to chill. Then I started on the cranberry nut pie.
Yummy. Cooking the cranberries until they pop. What a wonderful scent, warm cranberries and lemon.
My chopping, grating and juicing were done in the living room while I watched TV Christmas movies, one of my favorite 'activities' of the season.
Six nicely wrapped dough packets waiting their turn in the refrigerator.
Since I have tile counters, I had to be creative to find a way to roll out my pie dough. I have an old enameled kitchen table which I used for this purpose for years, but I wanted to be able to work at the counter, it is a better height and less messy. I found this large wooden bread board for $1 at an estate sale in Placerville. It is perfect. I keep it in the laundry room when not using it to make pies, biscuits or bread. My 'cherry pie' recipe plate is one of two that I have had since the early 1980s. They are ceramic and very sturdy.
The Cranberry Nut pie comes out of the oven. I love its tart/sweet flavor. The hard sauce which I made Christmas morning for the mince pie also goes well with this pie.
This is the crust for the California Lemon ready to bake for 8 minutes before filling. On the right is my vintage juicer. I bought this art-deco masterpiece from our neighbors at a garage sale about 25 years ago. I use it often. A lemon yields about 1/4 cup of fresh juice.
The pumpkin pie crust starts to take shape in one of my favorite pie pans.
A slightly blurry California Lemon Pie overflows a bit in the oven, good thing I had my cookie sheet underneath. This cookie sheet has a twin, and I use them when I make the biscuits for the Kelsey Community breakfast once a month. They are double thickness with a space in between. It helps to keep your cookies or biscuits from burning on the bottom.
The California lemon cooling on the rack. I made this and the cranberry nut Christmas Eve. I was done for the night.
Christmas morning, starting in again on the pie baking. Mincemeat mixed with extras: two chopped granny smith apples and over a cup of walnuts. This rolling pin is one of my vintage rolling pins. It has been used so much the red has worn off the handles. I also have a handmade wooden rolling pin which I bought at an estate sale in Garden Valley. The lady's son had made it for her. It has several different kinds of wood, and it is very beautiful and useful. It is a bit heavy though, and I decided I wanted the lighter one this go around.
The mince pie goes into the oven.
I got so busy making the pies, I forgot I was trying to photograph each step. So I grabbed the mince out of the oven to show it unbaked.
I love the smell of just-baked mince pie with its unique spices. My niece told me the reason she doesn't care for mince pie is because of the raisins. But she was willing to try a taste just for me. Three pies down, one to go. It was Christmas morning and only about 7:30 am, so I was doing well.
The sour cream pumpkin pie ready to bake.
And cooling fresh out of the oven. All done, except for the hard sauce for the mince pie. I guess I can go open my presents now!
This recipe for the pumpkin pie is a lot thicker and fluffier than most. It is because you whip up the egg whites separately and then carefully incorporate them into the filling.
We live off of a very curvy highway, and sometimes it is difficult to transport our addition to potlucks in our car, unless we can hold them in our laps. I have had several mishaps, one involving chili, which I don't even want to think about! My dear husband gathered as many bath towels as he could find and tucked our Christmas pies into the back seat of his car, and they barely moved as we made our way down the hill to civilization. Gosh did our car smell wonderful!
Over the river and through the woods, to our niece's house we go. The pumpkin was the favorite, the California lemon got rave reviews, the cranberry nut was a surprise hit to those who tried it, and some courageous folks even tried the mince.
Next year, if I make the pies, I think I will only make two.
Happy New Year!


Heidi Ann said...

Well, I can tell you all that I was one of the lucky few who got to try all four! On Christmas night, although I was stuffed, I took a small slice of the lemon and a sliver of the pumpkin. The pumpkin has to be the best one I have EVER had (sharing this honor with the same recipe Tina has brought in previous years!), and I told her that night that the lemon one was like a luscious lemon cloud on a plate. I HAD to take home a small-ish slice of each of the other two - the mince and the cranberry, and OMG they were SO good!! I took my little slices of each, and for the two nights following Christmas, I cut them both in half, heating them up together and then I added her hard sauce, which melted in. They were so good I almost couldn't stand it - I am not kidding you. And when my pie was gone, I was VERY, very sorry that I had not managed to spirit away more slices, because they left me wanting more. I simply needed to be able to enjoy them when I was not completely stuffed already with very rich (but yummy!) Christmas dinner food! Thank you for all of your hard work Tina - it paid off BIG time!
(Got any of that pie left?? You could freeze me a slice - with some hard sauce! I'm just sayin...)

yosemite faith said...

can't remember how to spell it but it used to be szonga's outside of sonora where i would order my pies. they made a great mincemeat with a hearty but flakey crust. they made mini pies so i would order many types of pie in the mini size for us to have at home. i would take the full size pies to our thanksgiving/christmas potlucks. my gram (who lived in the house we are living in now) made a great mincemeat pie! i wish i could taste all four of yours tina. YUM...nom...nomm...nommm i bet your car did smell good!

Denise said...

Wow i sure would have loved a piece of every pie.. my grandma made the best mincemeat pie and i miss next year if you do bake another one i'll share it with you..great post Tina as always.. love Denise

Midcenturymadam said...

I would surely love a slice of each right now. I was so full after our Christmas dinner and so exhausted I didn't eat any pie! And we didn't even bring any home. That mince meat pie looks so good! I can almost taste it.