I know that you're probably thinking that chocolate and pumpkin together doesn't seem like a very plausible combo, and before I tried this recipe I was right there with you. Now, I'm a convert. Not only do chocolate and pumpkin present the opportunity for a perfect fall color palate, but the flavors, all earthy and mellow and sweet, play off each other in a perfectly subtle and harmonious way. This is a mocha pumpkin latte, in pie form.
'Thanksgiving alternative pies' on Serious Eats
This recipe, for my most favorite pecan pie ever, tastes like a delicious, gooey, crunchy turtle. It's filled to the brim with nuts and caramel custard, then topped with chunks of dark chocolate and finished with a sprinkle of sea salt. I don't care if the salted caramel trend has jumped the shark, to me this is pecan pie perfection.
Tackling this week's pie has been a frustrating exercise for me. From time to time, I've encountered a person who enjoys a hearty wedge of sharp cheddar cheese alongside his or her slice of warm apple pie, including De Niro's character in Taxi Driver. Hoping to understand the origins of this culinary proclivity, I've asked folks from many walks of life about the origin of this fascinating culinary preference. Each time, the answer is the same: they've learned from their parents or grandparents, and it's an important regional tradition from where they grew up.
As October exhausts itself, apples in all their glorious shades and colors pile high in outdoor market bins and are turned into warm cider and doughnuts. Some of my favorite costumes for apples are sugary coatings like scarlet candy shells, and particularly, sticky caramel blankets. With that in mind, melted caramels lurk in a mound of tart Granny Smith apples bubbling in butter, brown sugar, and vibrant lemon.
Last Thanksgiving I was baking so many apple pies to fulfill orders at the restaurant, I couldn't bear to look at another one for my family's own holiday table. Instead, I decided to combine my favorite French tart with America's favorite dessert: pie. The result was pear and frangipane on steroids, complete with a flaky, golden brown crust, and layers of pear baked into the almond filling. My relatives became just as smitten with my Americanized version of the French classic.
Once when visiting Maida in Miami Beach we fell to talking about pies. "They're the hardest thing of any to get right, don't you think?" Maida asked me. True perfectionist that she is, Maida meant that to get the pastry dough to a golden flakiness and the filling to just the right stage between runny and set required a lot of work. She then told me that a young friend had just asked her to teach her to make an apple pie, and that she had thought about it for a while and decided to make a big free-standing pastry that partially enclosed a cinnamon and brown sugar-scented cooked apple filling. This pie is inspired by hers.
One of fall's more elegant offerings is the sweetly aromatic quince. Available for just a few months in the early fall, this relative of the apple and pear is best enjoyed in cooked form rather than eaten raw, and just about perfect when baked into this Apple, Pear & Quince Galette.
This is a great autumn pie with a mellow sweet squash flavor, and creamy, dense texture. While other squash pie recipes often tend to lean heavily on the spices, this recipe is more subtle, taking the less-is-more approach with a nice hit of ginger and just a hint of cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg. It gets its buttery, creamy flavor from the addition of butter and sweetened condensed milk.