With Thanksgiving fast approaching, our thoughts are turning to food — food we’ll serve, food to take to family gatherings, and food for guests who drop by unexpectedly. Pies are quick, easy to make and transport, and the perfect dish to serve this time of year.
Chess pie shows up at every holiday celebration, church picnic and family reunion. Chess pies usually consist of sugar, eggs and butter, with other variations for flavoring, such as buttermilk or cocoa. They form a brittle crust on top while baking, but the center remains moist.
Thanksgiving leftovers can be used for a variety of pies. Mix leftover turkey with mashed potatoes, cooked squash, carrots or peas. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in one egg. Place in a pie shell, then top with a second pie crust. Cut slits in the top and brush with egg, then bake according to directions on the pie shell packaging. Another idea is to combine 2 cups sweet potatoes with 1 cup brown sugar, one egg and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Place in a pie shell and bake at 350 degrees until the crust is golden.
Hand pies are easy to make, and are great to create ahead of time and freeze on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper until ready to bake. Start with a box of refrigerated pie crust. Unroll and cut into preferred shapes. It is easier to bake without leakage if you cut rectangles to fold over the filling, rather than two circles that will need to be sealed on all sides.
Hand pies do not require a lot of filling (no more than 2 tablespoons at the most) and the possibilities are endless. Leftover turkey or chicken, a small piece of mozzarella, and a teaspoon of cranberry sauce make a tasty hand pie. Place in the center of the crust, fold over and seal the edges with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
Dessert hand pies can be made with pumpkin pie filling (these are especially good with maple glaze on top), stewed apples with cinnamon, banana slices with chocolate syrup, or even chocolate pudding mix combined with marshmallow fluff. The secret to successful hand pies is twofold — do not overfill, and be sure to seal the edges together with a fork dipped in water. Store frozen pies in a zip-top bag until ready to use. Place frozen hand pies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake an extra 10-15 minutes to allow time to thaw; cook until golden.
Pies can be made for most any occasion, with a variety of ingredients. Just make sure to enjoy them with friends and family, and maybe share a recipe or two. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
– Tiffany Hughes, an Acworth resident and is volunteer coordinator/scheduler for the Booth Western Art Museum.
Lemon Buttermilk Pie
• 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
• 1 stick softened butter
• 3 eggs
• ½ teaspoon butter flavoring
• Pinch of salt
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 1 deep dish pie shell
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place pie shell in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter with a hand mixer, until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, along with butter flavoring, salt, flour, lemon juice and buttermilk. Beat on low until thoroughly combined. Pour into pie shell, just to the top. Do not overflow, as filling expands a little as it bakes.
Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes. Top will turn golden. Let set before serving and store any leftovers in the fridge.
Chicken Cream Cheese Hand Pies
• 1 package refrigerated pie crust
• 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 1 teaspoon onion powder or 2 tablespoons
• 1 teaspoon dried parsley
Combine chicken, cream cheese, onion powder and parsley and mix well. Unroll pie crusts and cut each into rectangles. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of chicken mixture in the middle of one end of the rectangle, fold over, and seal edges with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden.
Chocolate Chess Pie
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 4 tablespoons cocoa
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon flour
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• 3 tablespoons melted butter
• 2 teaspoons water
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix sugar, cocoa, salt and flour. Add eggs, butter, water and vanilla, and stir until no lumps remain.
Pour into pie crust and bake 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. While the pie might still move a little, it will firm up as it sits.