Earlier this week our son who lives in another state was in town overnight for a business meeting. Wish he'd been able to bring his wife and our two faraway grand preciouses with him, but since he couldn't, Hubby and I decided to round up any of our kiddos we could gather and have an official Thanksgiving feast. We decided it would have to do.
Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce—the works—was served at this rushed-up event, but all was wonderful and tasty and memorable. Gave us a chance to play "find the real leaf"—a tradition that has been part of many past Thanksgiving dinners. Hubby went out into the yard and brought in a colorful bit of fall foliage. We interspersed it with the traditional artificial decor leaves that accompany our annual autumn centerpiece. As as been our custom for many years the kids (all adults, but who will always be our "kids") searched until they found the authentic one. Winner got to be the first person to be served dessert. (Believe me, with our daughter, son, and son-in-law as contestants, this gets dog-eat-dog competitive!)
How to pick out a menu for our "drive-by"—since I couldn't cook my entire Thanksgiving recipe file, I zeroed in on the things the kids like best. A traditional pecan pie was there, of course—prepared from my grandmother's recipe that's featured in my first cookbook, Way Back in the Country. To appease Hubby I knew I had to have pumpkin represented. That called for Pumpkin-Pecan Pie, featured in my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden. It's a blending of the things he likes best. The lower strata of the pie is a pumpkin layer formed from fresh pureed pumpkin. After that bakes for about 25 minutes and starts to set, I pour on a pecan layer. From the surface the finished pie looks similar to pecan, but the pumpkin layer at the bottom forms a surprise. For pumpkin-pie lovers such as Hubby, it's a true Thanksgiving delight.
Adored son blitzed in and out of town; our dinner is history, but we have this unusual Thanksgiving memory to add to our collection. In addition, I've saved and frozen a slice of leftover Pumpkin-Pecan Pie, so Hubby can have his traditional "day-after" pie piece for breakfast on the morning of November 26.
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
1/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/4 cup brown sugar (1/8 cup if using brown-sugar substitute)
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
2/3 cup cooked pumpkin, mashed and drained
2/3 cup milk (I use skim milk)
1 (9-inch) unbaked deep-dish pastry shell
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar (1 tablespoon brown-sugar substitute)
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup pecan halves
In a mixing bowl beat eggs, sugars, flour, pie spice and salt until smooth. Mix in mashed and drained pumpkin. Gradually beat in milk. Pour into pastry shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake 15 minutes longer. For pecan topping beat eggs in a mixing bowl until eggs are foamy. Add corn syrup, brown sugar, molasses, flour, vanilla, and salt. Pour over filling. Sprinkle with chopped pecans; cover with pecan halves. Continue baking at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until set. Cool completely. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 6-8 servings.