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dessert and preserves

by Grace Bonney

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DESSERT: mimi maumus and kristen bach of shovel and spoon

for the past year, mimi and kristen have been documenting their explorations through food. they will be launching a website in january 2010. mimi also spends much of her time with her catering company : home.made and kristen is one of the contributors for beautyeveryday.

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if you have ever been driving through the northeast mountains of georgia, you may have visited one of the many orchards selling fried pies. while on a recent trip to the mountains, we were inspired to make these pumpkin fried pies. we used a fresh mountain pumpkin, local sorghum, and pecans from our own tree.

CLICK HERE for the dessert (and a delicious fresh cranberry relish recipe!) recipe after the jump!

pumpkin fried pies with a sorghum and pecan topping

makes 10 – 12 pies

for dough:

store bought crusts work fine for these pies, but for those who embrace working from scratch (and have the time), here is a recipe for perfectly buttery crusts:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 t salt

1 t brown sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1/4 cup ice water

combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

add water in a slow steady stream through the processor’s feed tube while the machine is running.

once the dough is holding together, pinch a ball with your fingers. if the dough seems crumbly, add more ice water, no more than 1 tablespoon at a time. test until the dough is bound. do not over process – over processing will create a tough crust.

divide the dough into 2 equal balls. press each into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour before using.

***dough can be frozen for up to one month.

pumpkin filling:

1 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 stick butter, melted or browned

2 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

1/2 t allspice

1/2 t fresh grated ginger

pinch of salt

combine all ingredients until smooth – this can be done in a mixer, food processor or by hand.
Sorghum & Pecan Sauce

1 cup sorghum. *you can substitute cane syrup, maple syrup or honey

1/4 cup brown butter

1/2 cup chopped georgia pecans

pinch salt

melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. to brown, let milk solids begin to brown on the bottom of the pan. scrape with a spatula to avoid burning. once the butter has become golden brown and has a nutty aroma, add pecans. remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. add sorghum. return to medium heat. stir until combined.

to assemble:

roll out pie crust on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. using a 4” round cutter, cut rounds out of dough.

on one half of each round, scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of pumpkin filling. brush the edges of the round with water and fold over to make semi-circular pies.

press the seams together lightly. with a fork, gently press seams together, being careful not to pierce dough.

frying pies

heat 1-2 quarts corn oil to 350-375 degrees. the amount of oil will depend on the size of your pan. we used a stovetop pot with a fryer basket but an electric home fryer works perfect. carefully lower each pie into the oil, making note not to crowd. we fried no more than 2 at a time. you want to maintain a good frying temperature and too many cool pies will drop the oil’s temperature, causing the pies to stick together or get super greasy, so be patient…

fry each pie until golden brown, flipping once during the process.

serve immediately with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of sorghum-pecan sauce.

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PRESERVES: writer liana krissoff lives in a farmhouse in nearby carlton, georgia with her husband, her daughter, their dog, and a pantry full of homemade canned goodies. she recently completed her manuscript for a book on canning & preserving- look for it to be published by stewart, tabori, & chang in late summer 2010 (and photographed by our own rinne allen).

fresh cranberry relish

this bright, refreshing relish is an easy alternative to the gelled variety. it provides a tart counterpoint to the heavier traditional dishes served at thanksgiving—which in my household means pierogies and, if we’re celebrating at home, my husband derek’s juicy brined and long-smoked bone-in turkey breast, and in my mom and dad’s means whatever game my dad or one of his friends has bagged recently: roast venison shoulder, sometimes braised squirrel, often wild turkey.

a food processor is the best tool, but I’ve done the chopping in a blender (requires much scraping of the jar with a spatula) and also by hand. i would not recommend the latter unless there’s no alternative and you don’t mind finding stray cranberries throughout your kitchen for months to come.

makes about 4 cups; serves 6.

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries, washed and picked over

1 navel orange, chopped (peel, pith, and all)

1 crisp, sweet apple, cored and chopped

3/4 cup walnut halves, toasted

3 tablespoons minced fresh mint

About 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste

working in batches if necessary, put the cranberries, orange, apple, and walnuts in a food processor and pulse just until finely chopped but not pureed. transfer to a bowl and stir in the mint and some of the sugar. cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, then taste and add the rest of the sugar if necessary. refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving, to let the sugar dissolve. serve cold. the relish can be made up to 2 days in advance.

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