So if you’ve been following along, you have in your fridge or freezer right now, The Kid’s cornmeal piecrust.
Well, this week we talk fillings.
Because we want to do this crust justice, we’re making a slab pie.
It’s pie made on a sheet pan, rather than that pie tin. It’s easier, attractive, and feeds a crowd. It’s actually pretty perfect for a Thanksgiving feast—savory as part of the meal, or sweet, for dessert.
Both pies have no-bake fillings; which means the crust needs to be prebaked. The pan we’ll use is a half-sheet pan. The exact specs differ from company to company, but the approximate dimensions are 18’ X 13’, with a 1-inch lip around it.
As for pie crust, you’ll need the entire cornmeal crust, or if you’re using your own, a double crust, or for a storebought roll-out like a Pillsbury, both crusts (stack them and roll them to size). You want to roll the crust the size of the pan, with enough to go up the sides, and an extra bit for a pretty crimp on the top.
Once rolled out and formed into the pan, refrigerate it for about an hour to reharden the pastry. Then bake at 450° for 15-20 minutes or until it’s completely cooked through. Let it cool completely before filling. This will be the serving vessel, so if your pan’s a little scruffy, like mine (and frankly, me, this time of year), you can cover it with foil, and hey presto, shiny and ready to party.
Slab or conventional, homemade or store-bought, eating in or dining out, may you and yours eat some wonderful food, enjoy friends and family, and put your feet up—that holiday marathon starts tomorrow!
From the Matthews Family Band to yours, Gentle Reader, Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks for your time.
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Mushroom Onion Filling
2 pounds mixed mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
4 yellow onions, sliced into half-moons
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup butter
½ cup cognac
Salt & pepper
½ pound Chapel Hill Creamery Farmer’s cheese (place in freezer for 20 minutes prior to using for easier cutting)
Place mushrooms, onions, butter, thyme, and big pinches of salt and pepper into large, heavy pot with cover. Cook on medium and stir gently until butter is melted. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes until moisture has released from veg. Uncover and cook, stirring often until veg are browned and moisture is completely cooked out.
Pour in cognac and stir, getting up bits on bottom. Cook until totally dry. Store mushrooms in fridge. Cover crust and leave on counter up to 24 hours.
To serve: Turn on broiler. Warm veg in microwave. Spread over crust and dot all over with cheese. Place under broiler and watching constantly, cook until cheese is melty and beginning to brown. Scatter the fresh parsley across the top before serving.
Now, for the sweet:
Carolina Pecan Cream Pie
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup powdered sugar
4-8 oz. bars cream cheese softened
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup dark corn syrup
3 cups finely chopped, toasted pecans
big pinch of salt
Combine heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar in bowl. Beat until stiff peaks form.
In separate bowl, combine softened cream cheese, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Beat until combined and creamy.
Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until combined. Stir in 2 cups chopped pecans and salt.
Spread mixture into baked and completely cooled crust. Sprinkle remaining pecans on top. Cover and let refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight before serving.