Nov 25, 2011

Thanksgiving dessert making

I decided this year to change up my normal desserts for Thanksgiving. I decided to make a pumpkin bundt cake with maple glaze--which covers the pumpkin dessert and apple and cherry cup pies (does anyone but me get the Pushing Daisies reference?)--for the pie part.

First the cup pies. I made them in a disposable muffin tins. I figured this would make it easier to get them out of the muffin tin once they were baked. I also used the ready made refrigerated pie crusts. I was experimenting, so easier was better. I rolled out the pie crusts and used the cupcake liners to measure out the crusts and then gently pushed them into the muffin tins.

I made one pan of apple cup pies and one pan of cherry cup pies, so I had 6 of each. I started with the apple pies. For the apple ones I made a variation of the Martha Stewart Mile-High Apple Pie filling that I love so much. This filling is the perfect amount of sweet and tart. So I started prepping the apples.
sugar, apples, flour, cinnamon, lemon, pie crust

Here's a tip in case you don't have an apple corer. Just use a 1/4 teaspoon measure to scoop the apple seeds out (kinda like a melon baller). Then once you've quartered the apples, you can make a little diagonal cut to get the rest of the core out. This way of cutting out the core also gives the apple a flat surface to sit on, making cutting the apple slices so easy.

After all the apples were prepped (they were tossed in lemon juice to prevent them from getting brown). I added the sugar, some flour and cinnamon.

Once you mix all of this up the apples start to let off their own juice, so there's no need to cook the filling. I also think the cooked fillings tend to be too sweet, but this one is just the right amount of tart and sweet.

I used 6 apples to make the filling, but that was total overkill. I should have only used 4. But I filled them all up and made cute little pie tops and fluted the edges.

Then I made the cherry cup pies. And yes, I totally cheated and used Comstock cherry filling. It's easy and I like the flavor. But when I topped the pies, I made lattice tops. I figured this gave them a little special-ness and I could tell the pies apart too.
pie crust and cherry pie filling

After both pies were filled and topped with their pretty crusts, I put them in the oven. First at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then I lowered the temp to 350 degrees and let them cook for about 30 minutes longer.

Yeah they bubbled over and some of the crusts aren't too attached, but they look good, and more importantly, they tasted good.

Next came the pumpkin bundt cake. I scoured the internet for ideas on this one. I knew I just wanted a pumpkin cake with a maple glaze. I was looking for something that wasn't too complicated, since I've never made a cake from scratch before and I needed something reliable. I also didn't want to use a pumpkin bread mix, so I figured something with a cake mix base would be easiest. I bought some yellow cake mix and a can of pureed pumpkin. I looked at tons of recipes, but finally took this one, and made a couple of little adjustments.
pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, yellow cake mix, eggs, oil, sugar and water (not pictured)

I mixed everything together poured it in the bundt and put it in the 350 degree oven. It ended up taking about 45 minutes to cook completely.

It made the house smell delicious! When I took it out of the oven it had a very uneven and crag-like top. Since this is a bundt, I knew this would be the bottom, so I didn't mind it. But it also seemed like it weighed a lot when it came out. I thought it might be too dense. So, since no one was gonna see the bottom of the cake, I took a little sample. It was good and wasn't dense at all.

I let everything cool and came back to it in the morning. I released the cup pies from the pans (they came out pretty easy once I got all the over flowing pie filling unstuck). Then I went to unmold my bundt. Thankfully the bundt pan is silicone, cause it wasn't wanting to drop out. So I rolled back the bundt and the cake looked good. I couldn't wait to dig in.

Before dinner I made the maple glaze for the cake. I basically threw some maple syrup in a pot and reduced it. I also added some powdered sugar and a splash of milk. Before it cooled completely I poured it over the cake.

Finally I got to taste everything and boy was it good. The pies were adorable and good as always, but the cake really took the cake (pun intended).
Grandma enjoying her cherry cup pie

I just want to say on this Thanksgiving Day that I'm so thankful for all I have. For my family who is there for me no matter what and my friends who help me through everything. I'm grateful for a job that I like and for a crafty business that I love working at. I'm grateful to be able to share my love of crafting and spread the love of handmade through my community, and gain some really great friends in the process. I'm grateful for my health and my strength. I'm so grateful for another great year!

So to all of you, a very happy Thanksgiving! What are you grateful for this year?

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