Monday, November 23, 2009

Herbs for the Holidays -- Pie

I know that desserts means more than just pie, but when I think Thanksgiving dessert, I automatically think pie.

Cookies and cakes are more Christmas foods to me. So, maybe between now and Christmas I can do a few of those.

When I was a kid, we had two kinds of pie at Thanksgiving, Pumpkin or mince meat. That was it. When Diann and I got married, she introduced me to such novelties as pecan pie, apple pie and even cream pies at Thanksgiving. To me, they seem non-traditional, but I've never been one to turn down a piece of pie, traditional or otherwise.

So each of these pies uses herbs that we grew this year. The sweet potato pie is a bit of a stretch, because it only uses fresh mint, and only as a garnish, but I love sweet potato pie, so I included it anyway.
Rosemary Apple Pie

Rosemary Syrup:

1/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C water
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary

In small microwave-safe bowl combine sugar, water, and Rosemary. Cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Let stand 30 minutes; remove rosemary sprigs and discard.

1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 t. Salt
1 t. finely snipped fresh rosemary
6 C cored, peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples
1 T. lemon juice
3 T. whipping cream
1 t. vanilla
1/4 C butter
Pastry for one 9” double crust pie.
1 egg white, beaten
2 t. granulated sugar

In small bowl combine brown sugar, flour, salt and 1 teaspoon finely snipped rosemary; set aside.
In very large bowl toss apples with lemon juice. Add brown sugar mixture; toss to coat.
Add whipping cream, vanilla, and rosemary syrup.
In large skillet melt butter over medium heat; add apple mixture. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll first half of pastry and line 9” pan.. Trim pastry even with rim of pie pan; spoon in apple mixture.
Roll second half of pastry. Cut large slits in pastry. Place pastry circle on apple filling; trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pan. Fold top pastry under bottom pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar.
To prevent over browning, cover edge of pie with foil. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 35 minutes. Remove foil.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until fruit is tender and filling is bubbly. Cool on wire rack; serve slightly warm.


Cinnamon Basil Pumpkin Pie

1/2 C Milk
2 t. Fresh Basil

1 can pumpkin
1 t. Cinnamon
1/2 t. ground Ginger
1 t. Salt
4 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 C. Honey, warmed slightly
1/2 C heavy Cream
9″ single deep dish pie crust

Puree the Basil leaves with milk and set aside. You can use a blender or a food processor.
While beating the pumpkin, gradually add cinnamon, ginger and salt. Turn off the beater; add about ¼ of the eggs and resume mixing until it is blended in, repeat this until all the eggs are added. .Add the honey, milk with the basil.and finally the cream. Beat the whole mixture until smooth.
Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Fill it to the rim, be careful not to splash or overfill, as it will burn and look unattractive. You can use a pie guard over the crust or foil so that you do not burn the edges of the pie crust.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for approximately 30 – 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the filling comes out clean.

Sweet Potato Pie

1/4 C butter, softened
2 eggs, separated
1 C sugar
3/4 C evaporated milk
1 1/2 C cooked mashed sweet potatoes
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat until blended then add egg yolks and beat.
Stir in sweet potatoes, vanilla, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites. When foamy, slowly add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff. Fold into the sweet potato mixture. Place in pie crust, bake about 40 minutes until firm. Serve with whipped cream garnish with sprigs of fresh mint.


Marbled Lemon Tart with Sage Cornmeal Sage Crust

Sage Cornmeal Pie Crust

Makes enough for two 9-inch tarts
2 1/4 C all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
3/4 C coarse yellow cornmeal
3 T. sugar
1 T. plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. finely grated lemon zest
3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 large egg yolks
5 T ice water

Pulse flour, cornmeal, sugar, sage, salt, and lemon zest in a food processor until combined. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk egg yolks and ice water in a small bowl. With machine running, add to flour mixture through feed tube; process until dough just holds together.
Turn out dough onto a work surface. Divide in half, and shape each portion into a disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 disk to a 10-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom; trim edges flush with rim. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day). Reserve remaining dough for another use (it can be frozen up to 3 months).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prick bottom of tart shell with a fork. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool.

Pie Filling

1/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
6 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

3 tablespoons creme fraiche

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small bowl, and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a large heatproof bowl. Gradually whisk in lemon juice.
1.Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and whisk constantly until mixture has thickened and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Whisk in gelatin mixture. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter, a few pieces at a time, until smooth. Let cool, stirring occasionally. Prepare an ice-water bath. Place bowl of yolk mixture over bath, and stir until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
Spread curd into crust; smooth top. Dollop creme fraiche on top. Using a wooden skewer or the tip of a knife, swirl creme fraiche into curd to create a marbleized effect. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours (or up to overnight).

Make sure you don't miss my other Herbs for the Holidays posts

Herbs for the Holidays -- Stuffing

Herbs for the Holidays -- Cranberries

Herbs for the Holidays -- Sweet Potatoes


  1. so left out Cherry pie! that is another traditional one of mine. LOL

  2. Your apple pie sounds so different with the rosemary. Bat loves sweet potato pie -I'm going to try your recipe for that. All sounds so good.
    Thanks for the recipes.