It may be obvious but for every friend and family gathering, when I pose the question, “What can I bring?”, dessert is almost always the answer. Of course, I appreciate this consideration from my loved ones because it provides me with an easy escape should I choose to take it (which I almost always do). By that, I mean that I can simply grab a One Girl order form, jot down the dessert of my choice, and voila, my responsibility as gracious guest is fulfilled.
That being said, there is always a bit of guilt attached to that decision once I see the contributions of others. Appetizers and side dishes and salads that I know took the maker a good amount of precious time and effort. I humbly accept the compliments on my dessert and vow that next time I will refrain from taking the easy route and actually make the dessert myself. Considering that I actually LOVE to bake, this should not be difficult. You would think I would relish the opportunity to plunge my hands into some velvety dough or whip some sweet cream or slice a bowlful of juicy fruit. I figured that Thanksgiving would be the perfect debut for my homemade desserts.
Once I made that decision, I almost immediately felt a tinge of regret. Reason being that where Thanksgiving pie is concerned, I am somewhat of a purist. I feel like apple and pumpkin pies fare very well for themselves and need little, if any, adornment. That’s how we make them at One Girl Cookies and so why was I trying to mess with perfection? Perhaps I was just getting hung up on principal. But, since I made the commitment, I needed to follow through. I began perusing my recipes looking for something classic, yet with an ever so slight twist…just so I could call it my own. What I found fit the bill…and filled the belly.
For the apple, I chose a fairly straightforward double crust but…here’s where it gets good. It was filled with four, yes FOUR, pounds of heirloom apples. It was unclear how I would even fit so many apples under that crust but we (we being Dave and I who, for a remarkable culinary feat, actually worked in the kitchen together…harmoniously) realized that the more we piled the apples on, the more the pastry dough embraced them. It was like a magic trick and the white rabbit was instead the loveliest mile high pie.
In the case of the pumpkin pie, I decided on a pumpkin meringue. I was a tad skeptical. Was the meringue element going to be totally gratuitous? Maybe, but the photo of the huge pouf of meringue perched atop the amber pumpkin filling seduced me. I went for it. And the answer was, hell no…not gratuitous in the least. Actually, I might say the meringue will be downright necessary for Thanksgivings to come. As will desserts that I actually make myself. Mainly, because I so enjoyed doing it.