Thanksgiving is a time for that delicate of all desserts to shine and be in the spotlight. The one and only time during the year when it gets the attention it deserves. It’s time for some pie love.
Planning a Thanksgiving feast can be a joyful experience, or one filled with trepidation. How many guests are you planning for? Where will you grocery shop? In town or out? What dishes will you continue the tradition of and which will be cut off from the inheritance? Some make the final cut for the feast debut, while others aren’t so lucky.
After the carefully considered menu is in place, the most important task of all is at hand: planning the desserts. Growing up, I have fond memories of my dad making a variety of homemade pies days in advance of the anticipated day of thanks. The best way to eat Thanksgiving dessert is of course to sample a small slice of every pie on display. One unique pie that usually made the cut (no pun intended) was his apple rhubarb pie. As kids, my siblings and I didn’t appreciate the sweet and sour flavors mixed up, but now they are treasured as a savory masterpiece.
The pie crust comes together by combining 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1 cup Crisco and 1 tsp. salt. Slowly add in 1/4 cup ice water, using your hands to gently combine it in, along with 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar and 1 egg. Mix gently until dough forms. Form a ball of dough and split in half. Roll one of the balls out on a floured surface until very thin. Carefully place in pie pan, allowing crust to hang over the sides.
Now for the fruit mixture: wash, peel and slice three large apples of choice; wash and cut half inch pieces of rhubarb to make one cup; combine in bowl with 2 Tbs. flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and 1 cup sugar. Toss mixture around to completely coat the fruit. Pour fruit mixture into the prepared pie crust. Place small pieces of butter on top of the fruit mixture; about where each potential slice would be. Dip your finger into a bowl of cold water, and generously trace along the rim of the pie crust. This will form a glue-like adhesive when the top layer of pie crust is placed on top.
For the final layer, roll out the other half of dough to the same thinness as the first layer and lay over the top of the fruit mixture. Seal the edges by pressing a fork down all the way around the pie dish. Cut off the excess pie crust that is hanging over the edge. Beat an egg and brush over the top of the pie. Sprinkle 1-2 Tbs. of sugar over the top of the pie and use a knife to cut desired designs in the top to not only give it your own look, but to allow for proper ventilation during baking.
Bake the pie in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes to an hour. Keep your eye on it as you are watching for the crust to have that perfect golden-brown glow without burning the edges.
The best thing about a fruit filled pie is that you can eat the leftovers for breakfast. It is, after all, a large fruit-filled pancake in disguise as the encore to every long-awaited Thanksgiving feast.