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by Sarah Steimer

This was the first time I ever made a pecan pie, and I had planned to head over to Martha Stewart’s website for the recipe. After talking with my mom, she mentioned my Uncle Steve makes great pecan pie (even though I don’t think she’s ever tried it). I asked him for the recipe and here we have it: The great Stephen Jameson pecan pie. And now I can officially vouch for how good it is.

For the crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water

Combine the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, mixing until coarse crumbles appear.

Whisk together the vinegar, egg and cold water in a small bowl. Add the liquids to the dry mix and combine with your hands. Form into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

For the filling

  • 1 1/4 cup Grade A maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans (plus a few halves for garnish, optional)

Whisk all filling ingredients together in a medium bowl.

I plan to freeze this pie (just wrap tightly with plastic wrap and aluminium foil) and take it home for Thanksgiving.

Roll the pie crust dough into about an 11-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, allowing about 1/2-inch or so to overhang the edges of the dish — the crust WILL shrink a bit. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust and bake for about five minutes at 375 degrees. Remove the crust from the oven and carefully arrange the edges in your preferred design. I took a cue from Caitlin and made an easy criss-cross pattern with the back of a knife.

Carefully add the filling so as not to overflow the crust. Return to the oven (still on 375 degrees). Let bake for about 1 hour, checking it about halfway through. If the crust is beginning to brown too quickly, cover it with aluminium foil or a crust shield (cheap and totally worth it). The pie is ready when the center is still slightly jiggly and has puffed up.

Allow the pie to cool completely before serving. The center will mostly level out once cooled.

Recipe adapted from my Uncle Steve.

*This month we’re featuring classic pies that would be a great dessert at any Thanksgiving table. For the full list of pies, click here.

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by Sarah Steimer

I’ll admit to two issues I had with this pie: the middle sunk in and the apple filling was a little mushier than I had intended. Luckily, neither problem affects how delicious this pie is. To avoid a sinking crust, I should have used my handy little pie bird. The mushiness, however, is sometimes unavoidable because it depends so heavily on the apples themselves, which you have little control over.

Follow this recipe for the cheddar crust (I previously used it to make a blueberry pie — I love it).

For the filling:

  • about 6 Granny Smith apples, or other good pie apples such as Cortland (may need to increase the number), cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1/4 cup good-quality honey
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Cut the refrigerated dough in half. Roll the one half into a 13-inch circle. Place the circle into a 10-inch pie dish, allowing the dough to sink into shape, and refrigerate. Roll out the second half of the dough into another circle and place onto a piece of wax or parchment paper. Lay flat in the refrigerator. Both should be chilled for about 30 minutes.

A little sunken, but still a really beautiful pie. There’s not a whole lot that looks prettier to me than a big, fresh pie sitting on a kitchen tea towel. Guess who’s already looking forward to her holiday diet?

When ready, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit for a few minutes so they’re a little easier to work with — if the crusts are too hard, the top will break when you try to lay it over the apple mound. When ready, spoon the apples into the bottom pie crust (if you’re using a pie bird, put it in now!). Cover with the top crust and press the edges together to seal. Cut off any excess dough at the edges and crimp (optional). Cut a few slits into the top of the crust so the pie may vent.

Place the pie in the freezer for another 30 minutes. Remove and brush the pie with the egg, being sure not to leave any puddles of egg on the crust.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Tent the pie with foil and bake for another 45 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling.

Let cool for at least an hour and a half before serving.

*This month we’re featuring classic pies that would be a great dessert at any Thanksgiving table. For the full list of pies, click here.

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by Sarah Steimer

Caitlin and I sort of turned this into an international wonton guide. Considering we already did something a bit Asian (mushroom and kale), one that was clearly French (French onion) and a Greek wonton (beef, onion and feta), I figured I’d wander into German/Eastern European territory with this last savory wonton.

  • 15 wonton wrapper
  • 3-inch piece of kielbasa, cut into very small cubes
  • 1 cup sauerkraut (or more)
  • 1/3 of an apple, cut into very small cubes (comes to a little less than 1/4 cup)
  • olive oil
  • paprika

Toss together the kielbasa, sauerkraut and apple in a bowl.

Wet the edges of the wonton that are facing up, working one sheet at a time. Place a heaping tablespoon of the sauerkraut mixture into the center of the wonton. Fold in half, making a triangle, pressing tightly to seal the edges well. Arrange the wontons on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

These would be an awesome appetizer for an Oktoberfest party. What’s that? You need beer suggestions? Got ’em here.

Brush both sides of the wontons with olive oil and dust just one side with paprika.

Bake the wontons at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, flipping the wontons over about half way through. The wontons should be crispy and golden-brown when they are ready.

For the spicy mustard dipping sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Whisk together all ingredients and serve with the warm wontons.

Makes 15 wontons.

* Want One? is our October guide that pays homage to the wonton, a traditionally steamed, fried, baked or boiled dumpling that can be filled with an array of goodies. We’ll feature meatless, meat-full and dessert renditions.

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