Newbie Seeks Thanksgiving Help
  Re: (...)
Hi Guys,

I'm new and this is my first time making Thanksgiving for my friends. I need a lot of help.

I need suggestions for a pecan pie and instructions on making a crust b/c I can never seem to do those right.

Also, I wanted to spice up the traditional green bean casserole and cranberry sauce dishes.

Any ideas?
  Re: Newbie Seeks Thanksgiving Help by Allysa (Hi Guys,[br][br]I'm ...)
Welcome to the forums, Allysa! I'm not a pie person ( I usually buy the frozen shells), but for the cranberries. Follow the directions on the back of the bag, but add half a cinnamon stick, some grated lemon and orange peel, and a bit of the orange juice. Great stuff! Good luck!
Practice safe lunch. Use a condiment.
  Re: Newbie Seeks Thanksgiving Help by Allysa (Hi Guys,[br][br]I'm ...)

If you have trouble with crusts, I would suggest you use the Pillsbury refrigerated crusts, just unroll and shape. They're pretty good, and sometimes you just need to take a shortcut. Just let them sit at room temp for (whatever package says) minutes.

I'll look and see if C@H has a pecan pie.

Welcome, Allysa!

  Re: Newbie Seeks Thanksgiving Help by Allysa (Hi Guys,[br][br]I'm ...)
Welcome to CAH. To tell you the truth, I usually buy my pies from a local fruit stand that makes them from scratch. My pie crusts suck so if I do make one I use Pillsbury.
Don't wait too long to tell someone you love them.

  Re: Re: Newbie Seeks Thanksgiving Help by pjcooks (Allysa,[br][br]If yo...)
Is Pillsbury really the best way to go? I'm willing to put in the time if it's worth it, but everyone seems to think it's not.
  Re: Re: Newbie Seeks Thanksgiving Help by Allysa (Is Pillsbury really ...)
If I were giving my first [or in my case 30th] Thanksgiving dinner, I would not chance making my own crust unless I had experience at doing so. If you've made them before, I'd say go ahead and do so. If not, I wouldn't. Practice a few times first dear. Here's what CAH has to say:

Butter Pie Dough

(Makes One 9" Single Piecrust
Can be Doubled)

Work Time:
10 Min. + Chilling

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1/4 t. table salt

Cut in:
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed

4 - 6 T. ice water

All About: Pie Dough
from Cuisine At Home Issue 29, October 2001

perfect pie dough: To most cooks, the term "easy as pie" is a blatant oxymoron. It shouldn't be. Armed with information, you can make perfect pie crust — every time.

What is the big deal with pie dough? Merely mentioning the words can make even competent cooks wince. It should be a breeze — mix a few common ingredients with everyday tools, roll it out, and you've got pie dough. Right?

Not quite. And that's the trouble with it — there's complexity lurking behind pie dough's simple facade. Like which flour is best? What makes crust flaky? Is it okay to have butter bits in the dough? It sticks when I roll it. Why? All the answers can be found in this quick course on the basics. And it's not as hard as you might think. I know, your past is littered with pie crusts gone wrong. But it's time to get back on the horse — you won't be thrown again.

People's biggest qualm about piecrust is making one that's tough. To overcome that, you must prevent gluten (a protein in flour) from forming. So the first issue to address is the key ingredients.

Flour: All wheat flours (bread, all-purpose, cake) have different amounts of protein. If you mix flour and water together, those proteins develop gluten, and that's what gives dough elasticity.

Protein content centers on two kinds of wheat: hard and soft. Hard wheat is high protein (bread flour is 100% hard wheat). Lower protein soft wheat is used in cake flour; all-purpose is often a blend of the two, falling in the middle in terms of protein.

Some doughs, like bread, require gluten for structure — without it, the dough would collapse. Bread flour and long kneading are responsible for creating that structure. But with pie dough, a lower protein flour, minimal mixing, and light handling are required in order to achieve a tender, flaky piecrust.

Surprisingly, cake flour isn't the answer — a good piecrust needs some structure from gluten. All-purpose has just the right amount of protein for it.

Fat: The function of fat in piecrust is to tenderize, add flavor, and provide flakiness. Typical piecrust fats (butter, shortening, lard) give different results.

To tenderize, fats coat flour proteins, making them more impervious to water and in turn, inhibit gluten from forming. Shortening and lard are 100% fat and do a slightly better job than butter (80% fat, 20% water and milk solids) at shielding the proteins.

But for flavor, butter can't be beat. Shortening has no taste, and lard has a porkiness that isn’t appreciated now (along with its high cholesterol). Shortening or lard dough is easier to work with because the fat doesn't melt as fast as butter. Plus, they make flakier crusts. But an all-butter crust tastes so great, it's worth the effort to keep gluten from forming and butter from melting.

Water: Your key to preventing gluten from forming and butter from melting is primarily in the water. By limiting the amount, you lessen the chance of gluten forming — no water, no gluten. Be stingy, but not so much that the dough is dry and hard to work with. And use ice water. It helps keep the butter as cold as possible.

Don't wait too long to tell someone you love them.

  Re: Re: Newbie Seeks Thanksgiving Help by bjcotton (Welcome to CAH. To ...)
Long ago I decided there were some things I was never going to get right, and pie crust was among them. It's nice to hear that I'm not the only one to have less that the greatest of successes with this particular item.
  Re: You made my day, Billy by lxxf (Long ago I decided t...)
Why work at something someone else does better. What Billy et al says is right. Buy ready done stuff. When you are proficient at your own pastry making, is the time to flash your badge.
  Re: Re: Newbie Seeks Thanksgiving Help by Allysa (Is Pillsbury really ...)
I just read Billy's post, and I have to tell you, I first wrote that T-Day is just a few days away, and using Pillsbury would be the way to go, then you could practice afterwards, cause that's what it takes to get a good piecrust. Then I thought I sounded arrogant or something so I hit the delete button-I know how to make a good piecrust, but I just don't have the time anymore. So, don't feel bad about using a packaged product.

10 years ago, I worked with a chef who stuck his nose up at purchased puff pastry. Now I don't know anyone who doesn't use frozen.

I think we're all saying this is a stressful time of year in the cooking world, and if you're uncomfortable with something, make it easy on yourself. And remember, your guests are there to see you, the food is secondary!

Good luck!

  Re: Re: Newbie Seeks Thanksgiving Help by pjcooks (I just read Billy's ...)
Hell, I can't even get the Pillsbury to work... Everytime I try to use one, it pulls away from the side and shrinks down, letting pie filling spill over. I'm pie dumb I guess... What am I doing wrong? I lay the crust in, flute it with my fingers, set it in to prebake,...and after a few minutes, it slides down making more of a 9" by 1" depth pie crust... ?????????
Loving every moment of my life!!

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