This was originally published in the Natural Life News November-December 2021 issue but thought I'd share it with those beyond the greater Montana area.
The seasons are changing. The temperature is dropping. We're spending more time indoors, covid cases are on the rise, supply chain issues are wreaking havoc on our global economy, and yet the holiday season is upon us. The wintering is here, a time of reflection as we know another calendar year is coming to a close.
As I reflect on holidays past, one memory sticks out from all the rest. For years, our family has made a pumpkin and pecan pie, whether it be for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or both. Regardless of the process, it takes a couple of days. The first day consists of making the dough and letting it sit in the refrigerator. The second day consists of making the filling, rolling out the dough, putting it into a pie plate, cutting out dough leaves with a knife (not a cutter), and finally baking it.
It has taken years to perfect it. The last few times, I've added some of Camino Spice's Divine Inspired Spice as well as the Epiphany Last Best Chocolate. That little addition, along with homemade pumpkin puree, has raised the bar of not just our pumpkin pecan pie but of pies in general.
When my daughter was old enough to reach on top of the kitchen counter, a funny thing began. The pie innocently sat, minding its own business, slightly covered as it readied itself for the upcoming feast. As the serving time approached, I uncovered it only to find something resembling the moon's surface. Pockmarks remained where pecans once were. My daughter may as well have been licking her fingers but instead shrugged and said, "I couldn't resist."
That was nearly a quarter of a century ago, and though it no longer looks like the surface of the moon, there's usually at least one pecan missing.
Crust Ingredients (from Creme de Colorado Cookbook - makes 2 - 10 inch crusts (freezes well)) : 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2cups butter flavor Crisco shortening 1 teaspoon salt 1 large egg 1 teaspoon white vinegar 5 tablespoons whole milk Pie Ingredients: 1 cup pumpkin (baked and pureed preferred) 3 eggs, beaten 2/3 cup corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Epiphany Spice Blend 1 cup pecan halves 1/4 cup Last Best Chocolate Crust Directions: 1. Blend flour, Crisco, and salt together with pastry blender in a medium-sized bowl, until resembles a coarse meal. 2. In a small bowl, combine egg, vinegar, and milk. Mix well.
3. Add to flour mixture, mixing only until dough holds together in a ball. 4. Refrigerate one hour. Roll out on floured parchment paper, and turn onto a lightly greased pie plate. Trim edges. Pie Directions:
Combine first six ingredients.
Stir in pecans and chocolate.
Pour into unbaked pie crust. Decorate with extra dough pieces (we like to make leaves scattered).
Bake at 350 degree F for 50 minutes or until filling is set and crust is golden.
Cool completely and serve with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.