Garden and Greenhouse, Main dishes, Recipes, Side dishes

Pumpkin/Winter Squash Soup

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It’s nearly Halloween, and that means pumpkins are on the market and in the garden.  It also means winter squashes are ripe and readily available.  I grow my own.  You would expect nothing less, would you?   I always have a lot of them, so I’ve had to learn how to store them long-term.  I’ve also learned how to use them in various ways, so we don’t get tired of them before winter is over.  Read on for tips to make sure your squashes get through the winter without spoiling, and for some recipes using winter squash and pie pumpkins.

If you are growing your own, or even if you’re buying pumpkins and winter squashes cheap or on sale, and want to store them, there’s a very simple step you can take to keep them fresh for months.  First, if you’re harvesting out of your own garden, it helps them last longer if you’ll let a light frost kiss them before you harvest.  This hardens the skins, and a hard skin protects the golden goodness inside.  Then lay the squashes out on a deck or patio and hose all the dirt off them.  Let them dry.  At this point, the method for ensuring long storage is the same for home-grown or store-bought.

To a gallon bucket or bowl of warm water, add a cup of white vinegar.  Get a clean rag and an old towel, and line the boxes you’re going to store your squashes in with newspaper.  Wash each squash or pumpkin with the vinegar water, dry thoroughly, and store in boxes, loosely stacked.  You can also store squashes on open shelves if you have a place with the right temperature range where mice or rats or squirrels won’t get to them.  Even though the skins are hard, in the winter, a hungry rodent can do a lot of damage.  It’s a good idea to line your shelves with newspaper, to absorb any oozing from spoilage if it occurs.  But the vinegar bath helps kill off bacteria and mold spores and minimizes spoiling.

The other crucial factor to prevent spoilage in long term storage is the right temperature range.  Colder is not better when it comes to preserving winter squashes.  I learned this the hard way when I tried to store them one year in our pump house, which is kept just above freezing all winter.  The squash and pumpkins developed little black mold spots in January, and within a week or two, I was roasting and freezing like mad to keep from losing them all.  I did a little research and learned that the optimal storage temperature is much warmer, from about 45-55 degrees.  Keeping the squash dry is also important, so a damp, cold basement (or pump house) is not a good storage option.

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Now, I store my pumpkins and winter squash in my laundry room, in wooden boxes, lined with newspaper, that slide under the shelves my husband put up for my canned goods.  The laundry room is unheated except for the freezer that puts off heat when it runs, but the room is well-insulated, so it stays around 50-60 degrees all winter.  That seems to be just about the perfect environment for squash storage.  I harvest my squash after the first light frost burns the leaves of the plants, give them a vinegar water bath, store them in my boxes in the laundry room, and we’re still eating fresh roasted winter squash and pumpkins the following spring.  Which is just fine by me, because I really love the stuff.

The photo below was taken on May 8, 2013 of the box of pumpkins I had left from the 2012 growing season.  (I didn’t weigh them, but I must have grown about a hundred pounds of pumpkins and squash in 2012.)  These were still sound!  (Yes, I think that fact deserves an exclamation point, maybe two.)   In March, I had taken out those that were left and had given them another wipe down with a vinegar wash–just being proactive with possible mold.  In May, I decided it was time to roast and puree what was left and freeze my puree in bags, so now I have pumpkin puree all ready for this fall’s pies, which is fortunate because I didn’t get many pumpkins this year.  Just another lesson from the garden:  this year’s bounty may turn to next year’s dearth, so preserve while you can.

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I like to grow acorn, butternut, and pie pumpkins.  I have tried other squashes, but these are my favorites, and in a garden the size of mine, space is a factor.  I try to use up my butternuts first because they have the thinnest skins and will usually spoil before pumpkins or acorn squash.

My favorite way to eat butternut squash is roasted, of course.  I love roasting butternuts because you can eat the skins.  Just cube up the gutted squash, sprinkle and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, any crushed or ground herbs you like (I like sage and thyme, but rosemary is also delicious), add a few unpeeled garlic cloves if you like, a sprinkle of apple scrap vinegar or another fruit vinegar (the acid brightens up all the flavors), and roast on a cookie sheet at 400-425 degrees until tender and browned, usually 20-30 minutes.  The roasting time depends on how large your squash cubes or chunks are.  The skin of the squash gets tender and then goes slightly chewy, so you get great texture.  This is a wonderful side dish to any roasted meat.  I like to serve it with oven-fried chicken because both dishes cook at the same temperature.

Acorns squashes store very well because they have such hard skins.  I like acorn squash because of its size and its seeds.  Acorns are just the right size for a meal for two people.  Each person gets a half.  My husband likes them with butter and brown sugar, so I can dress his half with gooey sweetness, and my half gets a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sage and thyme, salt and pepper.  We each get what we like with no fuss. Roast them at 400-425 degrees until the flesh is tender.  And if you like roasted pumpkin seeds, you’ll like roasted acorn squash seeds.  Actually, even if you don’t like pumpkin seeds, you should try roasted acorn seeds because they are even better than pumpkin seeds.  They are smaller and roast to a crisper, crunchier texture.

The process is the same for pumpkin seeds and all squash seeds, so don’t throw any of them away.  Simply spread the seeds (and a little bit of the flesh or juice will give the seeds more flavor, so don’t rinse them!) on a cookie sheet, drizzle a teaspoon or so of olive oil over them, stir to coat, sprinkle lightly with salt (I like freshly ground sea salt), and roast at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.  Roast until golden brown.  These are a nutritious and delicious snack that my grandchildren, daughter-in-law, and husband love.  I keep a bowl of roasted squash and pumpkin seeds on the coffee table all winter long.

I love pie pumpkins, and they also store very well.  I use them for pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice muffins, pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin soup.  There are many ways to handle a fresh pumpkin for cooking.  Some people roast them whole and then peel and scoop out the seeds.  Because I like to roast the seeds and get them crunchy, this is not the method I use.  I used to cut them open, clean out the seeds, quarter and steam them, and then run through the chinois to remove the skins.  This works if you’re processing a lot of pumpkin for freezing (pumpkin puree has been deemed unsafe for home canning), but you don’t get that wonderful roasted flavor.  Roasting is what makes your homemade-from-scratch pumpkin pie or soup so superior to what you can make with what comes out of a steel can from the store.  So, now I quarter my pumpkins, clean out and set aside the seeds for roasting later, and put the quarters on a cookie sheet and into a 425 degree oven until they are soft.  I take them out, let them cool, then scoop the flesh away from the skins and put it in the food processor to puree.  (The skins go into the compost bucket.)  At this point, the puree can be used in a recipe in the same proportion as the canned pumpkin you buy.  Or, you can make soup with it, which is a winter staple in our home.

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Here’s my recipe for pumpkin soup, and keep in mind that you can substitute any orange-fleshed winter squash, such as acorn or butternut, for the pumpkin.  You’ll get a slightly different flavor, but it will be delicious with whatever kind of squash you use.  Don’t use huge, grocery store jack o’lantern pumpkins for this soup—they are too stringy.  You can sometimes use smaller grocery store jack o’lantern pumpkins, but pie pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut, or any other yellow or orange-fleshed winter squash are better.  You can mix varieties as you like.

After your pumpkin or squash is roasted and pureed as above, follow directions below for making the soup.  (You can also use canned pumpkin, and the soup will taste good, but it won’t taste quite as fresh or rich as when you roast your own.)

Roasted Pumpkin/Winter Squash Soup

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1 quart pureed pumpkin or squash

2 cups chicken stock/broth

1 tablespoon olive oil, or butter, or canola oil

¼ cup finely chopped onion

1 fresh jalapeno, finely chopped (deseeded, if you don’t like the heat)

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated (if not available, substitute 1 teaspoon powdered, dry ginger)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon dried or fresh chopped parsley (fresh is always better)

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

¼ teaspoon red pepper flake (optional for those who like more heat)

½ cup half & half

For serving:  ½ cup plain low-fat yogurt or sour cream; ¼ cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds.  Makes about 4 servings (cereal bowl size).

To the pureed pumpkin or squash, mix in chicken stock (I use homemade or low sodium canned) and start heating on low in a large pot with a tight lid.  Stir frequently to keep the natural sugars in the pumpkin/squash from causing the soup to stick.  As the soup heats, it starts to bubble like a volcanic mud pot, so keep it covered and be careful when you remove the lid to stir.

In a sauté pan, heat oil or butter.  Add onion, jalapeno pepper, celery and minced garlic.  Saute on medium heat until vegetables are soft.  Add fresh grated ginger root, if available.

At this point, you’ll have to decide how smooth you want your soup to be.  I like it silky smooth, so I put my sauteed vegetables into the pumpkin mixture and use my immersion blender on it until the vegetables are just tiny specks in the soup.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, and you want your soup smooth rather than slightly chunky, put a small amount of the pumpkin mixture into a blender or food processor along with the sauteed vegetables and whiz until smooth, then add back into the soup.  If you want more texture in your soup, add the vegetables without blending and proceed to seasoning.

If not using fresh ginger, you can add 1 tsp. dry ginger at this point.  Add about ½ tsp. of salt (taste as you go so you can get the seasoning right for you), ½ tsp. black pepper, ½ tsp. ground coriander, ¼ tsp. ground allspice, 1 T. dried or fresh chopped parsley, and 1 tsp. rubbed poultry seasoning.  (I grow and dry my own herbs, so instead of poultry seasoning, I use about a teaspoon of dried, crumbled sage, and a half-teaspoon of dried thyme.  If there’s no snow in the garden, I substitute fresh herbs, but I’m careful with fresh sage. It’s a strong flavor.)  Taste and add more salt and pepper or other seasonings as necessary.  If you like more heat, you can add a little crushed red pepper flake.  I like the different layers of heat in this soup from the fresh jalapeno, ginger, and black and red pepper.

As soon as soup is hot and bubbling like lava, add about ½ cup half & half.  Reheat almost to boiling and serve. (Do not boil after adding the half & half because the cream will separate. It still tastes fine, but it doesn’t look as pretty.)

For serving:  I like to add a dollop of plain, low-fat, homemade yogurt (sour cream is also good) to the middle of my bowl and sprinkle it with about a tablespoon of roasted, salted sunflower seeds. Then when I eat it, I get a little yogurt and sunflower seeds in my spoon along with the soup.

This is a very filling (and nutritious) soup, and you can make it relatively low-fat by using low-fat chicken stock, coconut, olive or canola oil instead of butter, fat-free half & half instead of regular, and low-fat or non-fat yogurt or sour cream in the topping.

Because I grow my own pie pumpkins and winter squash, and have learned how to store them all winter, I have a plentiful and tasty supply of Vitamin A through the winter and into spring.  I hope I’ve inspired you to try it for yourself.

All original text, photographs, and the pumpkin/winter squash soup recipe are copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced without the author’s permission. 

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Beverages, Canning, condiment, Recipes

Raspberries: Cordial, Jam, Vinegar

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Have you ever heard that expression “to warm the cockles of the heart”?  I don’t know where I first ran across it, but I suspect it was in Little Women, one of my favorite books as a child and still a favorite.  I have something to warm the cockles of your heart this winter (whatever cockles are or wherever they are—this stuff is sure to warm them), and it’s not hard to make:  raspberry cordial.

Some time ago, I posted an old recipe for blackberry cordial, which is a wonderful, mildly-alcoholic beverage appropriate for an aperitif or dessert drink.  Just this past week, during a two-day berry-processing fest, I decided to try the recipe with raspberries.  And I am here to tell you that it was a complete success.  I’m so excited to share this and two other recipes with you.   Following the cordial recipe, I have a recipe for raspberry jam using the pulp left over from juicing, and a recipe for raspberry-infused vinegar, should you have more leftover pulp than you need for jam.

Now, a caveat.  This cordial recipe makes three 750 ml. bottles of cordial, with some left over in another bottle.  (If you choose to drink the leftovers rather than bottle it, who am I to judge you?)  It is entirely possible and as easy as . . . well, pie . . . to cut this recipe down, should you not happen to have access to enough raspberries to make 9 cups of juice.  Simply divide the recipe by 3, and you only need 3 cups of juice, about 3/4 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of vodka.  Simple.  And lest you worry that you need fresh raspberries to make this luscious drink, let me reassure you.  I made it using my frozen berries.  In fact, frozen berries render more juice than fresh berries do.

What I cannot tell you is the volume or amount of frozen berries you’ll need if you are buying them frozen from the store.  I used about 2 gallons of my frozen berries to make 9 cups of juice.  I used the leftover pulp to make jam, and oh boy, was it good!  So don’t throw that pulp away.  I have two more recipes to help you use every last bit of those raspberries.  I’m guessing that you’ll need about 3 or 4 large packages of frozen berries to get 9 cups of juice.  Look at the volume listed on the packages, if you’re buying frozen raspberries, and try approximate at least two gallons of berries.

There are other recipes out there for similar drinks.  Most of them require a long infusion time and several steps to come up with a drink that is safe for consumption.  Because this recipe calls for pasteurization of the juice, it is safe to drink immediately, and the flavor is exceptional.  I hope you enjoy this, as well as the blackberry cordial.

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Raspberry Cordial

9 cups raspberry juice (cook berries for 5 minutes, then strain through cheesecloth-lined colander to remove seeds)

2 ½ cups sugar

1 cup vodka

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Bring raspberry juice and sugar to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.  Add vodka and mix.  Cool to room temperature and bottle in clean bottles with tight-fitting lids.  (Old, clean liquor bottles work well.)  Stores indefinitely.

Raspberry Jam

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To each cup of raspberry pulp and seeds left from straining the juice, add 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice.  (Please notice that this is substantially less sugar than is required for a recipe that uses commercial boxed or bottled pectin.)   To 3 – 6 cups of this mixture, add one cup of apple pectin stock.  Cook on medium high heat until pulp is glossy and thick, about 20 min. (Taste frequently to test for the level of sweetness that you want, and add sugar as needed.)   Test for doneness by placing a dab on a plate that has been in the freezer until well-chilled.  Replace plate in freezer for a minute, then check to see if jam is firm.  If so, spoon into sterilized jars, seal,  and process in water bath for 5 minutes.

Raspberry-Infused Vinegar

If you have more raspberry pulp than you want to convert to jam, or less than you need for a good batch of jam, try an infused vinegar.  This is so easy, it’s ridiculous.  Just fill a pint or quart jar 3/4 full of raspberry pulp and top off with white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or your own homemade apple scrap vinegar.  If you use homemade vinegar, store your infusion in the fridge; if you use store-bought, you can leave the infusion in a cool, dark place.  Because there is no way to test the acidity of your homemade vinegar, it’s best to be safe and keep it refrigerated.  Let it sit several weeks, then strain through several layers of cheesecloth and bottle.  Voila!  Raspberry vinegar (or blackberry vinegar, should you make the blackberry cordial).  I did both, during my recent berry-processing marathon.  Raspberry infusion on the left, blackberry on the right.

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May the cockles of your heart be warmed this winter with berries.

All original text, photographs, and the cordial recipe are copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced without the author’s permission. 

 

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Canning, Garden and Greenhouse

Green Tomatoes

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It happens every year.  I plant lots of tomatoes because I love them, and because I grew up on the northern coast of California, in the fog belt, where tomatoes are a nearly-impossible dream.  I’ve lived for the past 27 years in northeastern California, where the growing season is just long enough to grow wonderful tomatoes, if you set them out early under cover.  And every summer, I eagerly await the first ripe tomato, congratulating myself when it’s earlier than the year before, consulting other area gardeners and, of course, bragging just a little when my tomatoes ripen before theirs.  And then, it’s October, and guess what?  There are loads and loads of green tomatoes that won’t get a chance to ripen.  What to do?

“Let them go, Mom,” my son says.  He worries about me, how much I’m doing, how the work affects my back.  He thinks I’m doing too much.  But I can’t let them go.  I can’t deliberately waste food.  There are things I can do with those green tomatoes.  And I have a food processor.  Have food processor, will chop.

Everyone knows about fried green tomatoes.  They are delicious.  I really like them.  But when you have 30-50 lbs. of green tomatoes, there’s no way you can eat them all fried before they start to spoil.  So I’ve been investigating recipes for green tomatoes for some years, especially since I started growing heirloom tomatoes.

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First, it should be noted, some of the tomatoes will box-ripen.  I put mine in a cardboard box lined with newspaper and put it on a layer of towels (in case of leakage) in the coldest room in the house, which is pretty cool.  I can tell which ones will ripen; they are usually a pale orange or streaky orange and green when they’re picked.  Some of these will have enough flavor to eat fresh in salads and sliced on burgers and sandwiches.  I’ve learned that if I want the tomatoes to ripen faster, it helps to put a couple of apples and a banana in the box and cover it with newspaper.

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But I’ve found that after a few weeks, the tomatoes that started out looking green and developed some color before I got to work on them don’t really develop much flavor.  These I leave in the box as long as I can and then cook them down and run them through my chinois, add herbs, onions, garlic, wine, and sugar, and make sauce, which I freeze because by then I’m so tired of canning, I can’t stand to can one more thing.  And the reason I’m so tired of canning at that point is that I’ve been canning green tomatoes.  Lots and lots of green tomatoes.

I’ve canned dilled green cherry tomatoes, sliced sweet pickled green tomatoes, spicy dilled sliced green tomatoes, spicy piccalilli (a green tomato relish) and sweet green tomato relish.  I still have plenty of the above on my shelves from previous years.  I like them all, but this year, I wanted to try something different.

This year, I made green tomato salsa verde.  And I may never do anything else with all my future green tomatoes.  It is that good.  I made two kinds, a blended version from a recipe on a WordPress blog called bunkers down.  I plan to use this for enchilada sauce:  enchiladas made with chicken and Monterey jack cheese, smothered in this green tomato salsa verde.  Yum.  The other version, a Ball recipe, is chunkier, more like chip-dip salsa, and is delicious with tortilla chips, just like any other salsa.  It’ll be wonderful on tacos, enchiladas, and burritos, too.  (I like handheld food.)  Both salsas have just the right amount of heat.  I would reduce the amount of salt in the blended version, but I’m pretty salt sensitive.  If you like more heat, turn it up with hotter peppers.  (Never increase the amount of peppers to get more heat.  That will affect acidity levels and create spoilage concerns.)

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If you’ve got loads of green tomatoes and are looking for a way to use them, I recommend these two recipes.  But save a few for frying.  What’s October without fried green tomatoes?

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Desserts, Recipes

Conversion: Gluten-free Pie Crust

I’ve got a gluten-free recipe for you this week, a gluten-free pie crust.  I thought I’d share it now, so that you can do your own experiments with the recipe before Thanksgiving.

Pie was something I thought I’d have to give up when I decided, in May, to cut gluten and wheat products and most grains most of the time, out of my diet.  I am not a celiac, thank God, but I did hope that going gluten-free would address some of my health issues.  I have arthritis in nearly every joint in my body, and over the past few years, I’ve put on some belly fat that does my back, hips, knees, and feet no good at all.  I also have serious stomach issues from taking anti-inflammatory drugs for twenty years.  And each year for the past five, at my annual check-up, my blood sugar numbers were a little bit worse, despite the basic goodness of a diet rich in garden vegetables and lean meats. I hoped that ditching the GMO-laden wheat that permeated my diet, in the form of homemade whole-wheat breads, etc., would address some of these issues.

But it was hard to think of giving up pie in my quest for better health.  Really hard.  Cake, I can take or leave, but I love pie.  I love all the possibilities for fillings, and I love the crust.  Some people don’t like crust.  I do, when it’s done right, and it’s tender and flaky.  And just a year or so ago, I’d finally found a whole-wheat crust I actually liked.  So, in a quest for gluten-free pie crust, I looked around on the internet and found some recipes for ground nut pie crusts which are suitable for custard-type fillings.  Well, that’s all well and good.  I do like custard pies, and Thanksgiving pumpkin pies would work with a nut crust.  But what was I to do about my cherished sour cream apple pie, and traditional apple pie, and peach pie, and apricot pie, and blackberry pie (and those filling packets I made up for the latter four and either froze or canned)?

I found some expensive flour blends.  By the time I paid the shipping on them, the price tag on one pie would be more than I could stomach.  Not an option for this thrifty gal.  More research, and I found some recipes for making your own gluten-free flour blends with which you can make a rollable pastry crust.  But where was I going to find things like potato starch?  I live in a very rural area of Northeastern California.  We do some of our shopping in Reno, and I’d managed to find almond flour in the bulk foods section at WinCo in Reno.  I’d look there for the ingredients for making a flour blend, I thought.

And to my great delight, in the bulk section at WinCo, I actually found a gluten-free baking flour blend that had many of the ingredients of the make-it-yourself flour blends I’d found recipes for online.  Great.  I bought a couple of pounds of it, brought it home, stashed it in a jar in the fridge, and then realized I had no idea how to use it.  What ratios, what additions, what liquids?  No clue.  I searched WinCo’s website and found many other recipes for the items I buy in bulk at WinCo, but nothing for this gluten-free flour blend.  It was a new product this summer, and I guess nobody has gotten around to posting any recipes for it.  So it was up to me.

I like experimenting, and I’ve been cooking long enough to know how to substitute similar ingredients, so I thought I’d be able to figure this out.  The first thing I did was to look up gluten-free flour blends from mass producers.  I wanted to see what the ingredients in their flours were, and what recipes they had posted.  I found a King Arthur gluten-free baking flour recipe.  The ingredients in the flour were not an exact match to the flour I’d purchased, but close.  So I decided to use that recipe in the same proportions, with the same additions, only substituting the WinCo gluten-free baking flour.  And it worked!  I really thought I’d have to tweak the recipe, experiment more, but it worked, first rattle out of the box.  I’ve made the pie dough twice now, and I have to say, it is easier to work with than traditional pie dough.  It rolls beautifully, and it bakes up nicely.  It does not taste good raw (I think it’s the fava bean flour in the mix that doesn’t taste good raw), and that’s going to disappoint my grandchildren next time they help me bake a pie, but it’s very good when baked.  It isn’t as flaky as traditional pie dough, but it is tender, and there’s no bean flavor at all when the crust has been baked.  And it is economical.  I can’t tell you now how much per pound I paid for it, but I remember how delighted I was to find a gluten-free flour that cheap, after the online research I’d done.

Gluten-Free Pie Crust

(makes one 9” crust, can be doubled for two crusts)

1 ¼ cup gluten free baking flour (from WinCo)

1 tablespoon sugar  (I’ve used white sugar and organic coconut palm sugar, both were good)

2 teaspoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon xanthan gum (also available at WinCo in the bulk section)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

1 large egg

2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar

Use a metal pie pan:  spray with cooking spray or lightly grease.  Whisk dry ingredients or combine/pulse in food processor (see note).  Cut/pulse butter into dry ingredients until crumbly. Whisk egg and vinegar together until foamy.  Add to dry mixture and mix until dough holds together in rough ball.  Add 1-3 T. cold water, if necessary.  (If I use large eggs, I find about 2 T. water necessary.  If I use an extra-large or jumbo egg, I need to use less water, maybe only a tablespoon.)

Shape into disk, wrap in plastic, and chill 1 hr. (or as long as overnight).

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Rest 15 min. at room temp before rolling.  Roll on plastic wrap or silicone mat, heavily floured (I used brown rice flour).  For top crust, brush with milk, half & half, or cream, and sprinkle with Demerara sugar (optional).

For custard pies, blind bake at 375 about 25 min.  Use weights (dry beans or rice) to keep crust from puffing.  Remove weights, bake an additional 10-15 min. or until lightly browned.  Cool before filling.

For fruit pies:  Bake at 425 on bottom rack for 20 min., then move to middle rack and lower heat to 350; bake until crust is browned and filling is bubbling.

For meat pies (like chicken pot pie):  Omit most or all of sugar.  Try adding a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh herbs or a teaspoon of finely crumbled dry herbs to dry ingredients before mixing.

Note:  If you have a food processor, use it!  It makes the whole process much faster and easier.  Just makes sure your butter is really, really cold.  You can cut it into cubes and then stash it in the freezer for a few minutes while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.  If you are using a food processor, with your finger on the pulse button, add the liquid ingredients as the motor is running.  Stop mixing when the mixture rolls up on itself in a ball.  Don’t overmix.  You’ll heat up the butter and your dough won’t be as tender. The flour will absorb the liquids as it rests in the fridge.

With the one 9-inch crust, I made 8 pear mincemeat-filled turnovers (click link for the pear mincemeat recipe in a previous post).  I think they look beautiful, and they taste so good.  This is definitely a Thanksgiving-worthy recipe.

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