Friday, March 23, 2012

5th Annual Portland Thanksgiving in March!

So I know it's March and 81 degrees here in D.C., but before we slip too far into warm weather and the end of storage crop season, I first want to show you some pics and share some recipes from last year's Thanksgiving! There was a bit of a stall in getting the photos, but it was well worth the wait, as they were taken by my talented photographer friend Maria (MAV) of 3191 and More & Co.

Though I was not able to make it to Maine for the 2010 Thanksgiving, last year marked my 5th year spending Turkey Day with the Portland crew. It's always the best of times, with music playing, record shopping, and food making, and this year my friend Jamie (of Nothing-in-the-House plate lickers club fame), was in on the fun.

I assembled the crust in Maria's beautiful kitchen on Wednesday, while she prepped the cookie tray. I love being in the kitchen with and working alongside this lady (remember the apple galette I made last time I was visiting?). On Thursday morning, after a midnight trip to the 24-hour L.L. Bean headquarters the night before, Jamie and I made the pies. We settled on a drunken pumpkin bourbon pie with marscapone cream (adapted from Tartlette) and a Maine blueberry-cranberry pie (with frozen Maine blueberries Maria had picked in the summer, and fresh Maine cranberries). The recipe for the drunken pumpkin bourbon pie is as follows.

Drunken Pumpkin Bourbon Pie with Mascarpone Cream
Adapted from Tartlette 

Ingredients for pie:
Nothing-in-the-House pie crust recipe, halved
2 c. canned pumpkin purée (for why I often use canned pumpkin instead of fresh, read here)
3 eggs
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 c. heavy cream
2 Tblsp. bourbon
1 Tblsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbslp. molasses
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Ingredients for mascarpone cream:
4 oz. marscapone
1/4 c. honey
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped until soft peaks form
Roasted pumpkin seeds (for garnish, optional)

Directions for pie:
1. Prepare Nothing-in-the-House pie crust. Chill dough for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Then roll out single crust and fit into a greased and floured 9-in. pie pan. Flute crust decoratively (I tried out a braid and I liked it!).
2. Place pumpkin purée in a large bowl. Add eggs and brown sugar and mix with a Kitchen Aid or handheld mixer. Add remaining ingredients and blend until mixture if fully combined and fluffy. Pour filling into pie crust and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 375, then reduce heat to 325 and bake for 45 minutes or until filling only slightly wiggles in the center when nudged. Let cool and keep at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator if making ahead.

Directions for mascarpone cream:
1. In a medium bowl mix (by hand or with a mixer) together mascarpone and honey. Gently fold in whipped cream. Scoop on top of baked and cooled pie and garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds! Enjoy! 

Dang, this is a great pumpkin pie (you know it's good when it's got molasses, brown sugar AND bourbon!) with a good amount of spice that adds flavor without being too overbearing. I don't think I'll ever make another pumpkin version. For the Maine blueberry-cranberry pie, I essentially followed this recipe, but with the berries instead. 'Twas also quite tasty, and with the tartness of the cranberries, similar to a blueberry-rhubarb pie (one of my favorites), yet seasonally and regionally appropriate.

After dinner and some music playing, we set up our dessert buffet, which featured a cookie tray by Maria, a walnut torte by Robs and Tals, two varieties of chocolate-pecan pie, and various other treats. Afterwards we retired to the living room for more song-singing, joke telling, and an awe-inspiring dance performance by 3-year old Miles. You can see and read more about our Thanksgiving via MAV's blog 3191.

Big thanks to MAV, CDR, RTS, Robert, Talya and Jamie for being awesome hosts and all-around rad people. Looking forward to my 6th Portland Thanksgiving, which is now only 8 months away!

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