Turkey day

October 29, 2007 at 2:08 am | Posted in food, life | 10 Comments

We’re planning a Thanksgiving dinner with some of Jenny’s family, and a friend of mine and his guests.  We just made some pumpkin pies as a test run, and I made the crust from scratch!  It came out well, though it’s just a touch overdone.  No burnt taste, but it’s hard to cut with a fork.  I’m going to do it again for Thanksgiving, and I have an idea of what happened.  We’re baking in Pyrex pie dishes, and I think they’re holding a lot of heat and continue cooking the crust after we remove it from the oven.  Does anybody have any ideas on how to fix this?  Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard Thanksgiving dinner.  Turkey, stuffing, mashed taters, squash of some variety, cranberry sauce from a can, brussels sprouts … I think that’s it.  Oh yes, and sweet potato mousse.  You know, the one that Martha Stewart made for Willard Scott.  No marshmallows.  (Has anyone ever seen the Mad About You episode on Thanksgiving?) 

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  1. I just made this yummy onion dish for Samhain… we all ate it after circle with bread and crackers (there was also hummus and cheese) but it’s really meant to be a proper side dish. Once the prep work is done, it’s easy, and incredibly delicious.

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/240417

  2. What the heck is a Cipolline onion? It sounds good, I must say. Any recipe with red wine and/or basalmic vineagar is turning my head these days.

  3. It’s just a little bitty onion, but yellower than a pearl. I found it right there in the A&P in a basket… sold in little plastic (grrr) net bags.
    What the A&P did not have, oddly enough, was creme fresh, so I used heavy cream. We were like… licking the bowl.

  4. Funny. I don’t know much about baking, but I know things about Pyrex. (who let that damn chemist in here?) You’re right, pyrex holds the heat longer than metal pie pans.

    So I’ll make some suggestions and you pick one if it won’t ruin the pie.

    1) Cook the pie a little less, anticipate the extra baking that will occur after it leaves the oven.

    2) Cool the glass quickly afterwards. The fridge, freezer, outdoors in upstate NY.

    3) If the above two are no good, try to draw the extra heat away. Set it on something that will absorb the heat from the glass quickly. Granite countertop, for instance.

  5. I thought it was pretty well known that you need to adjust published recipes when cooking on Pyrex. Typically this means removing heat sooner – the food will continue to cook from the heat retained by the glass.

    Unfortunately, I can’t tell you details (like how much to reduce oven-time by). I simply decided to only cook with metal. I’m particularly fond of a RevereWare stainless steel baking pan I bought several years ago. Revere no longer seems to make bakeware, but a Google search shows that you can still get stainless steel from other sources.

    One important thing to beware of, however. Don’t use aluminum foil to cover an uncoated steel pan for storage. The two metals react (especially in the presence of condensation) causing the aluminum to quickly corrode and leave deposits on your food. I use plastic wrap to avoid that problem.

  6. Dave: I was aware about the properties of Pyrex, but I had never seen the effect on a pie-crust-from-scratch first hand. I was relieved to have no burnt smell or taste, but the texture does need some work.

    SCD: Option 1 requires a bit of faith, or experience. If I bake again before Thanksgiving, I’ll try it. Option 2 I don’t like because it would cool the pie filling more quickly as well, and for all I know letting the pie cool at room temp might allow for a bit of extra cooking of the filling. Option 3 is my current favorite. Now all I need is a granite countertop. :-/ Maybe it will snow the day before Thanksgiving, I can just lay it in snow for 5 minutes. OOOH! We have metal trivets. Metal absorbs heat quickly. Maybe that will help.

    Say, I seem to remember something about these chemical properties. There are two properties: one says how much heat is required to raise the temperature, and one says how rapidly heat is exchanged between it and another material touching it. Those are two separate properties, aren’t they? It’s not just that Pyrex holds more heat (though it does), right?

  7. One property you are describing is called “heat capacity” I forget the symbol for it off hand. The other is “conductivity” or something like that. Metal has high conductivity but low heat capacity. Insulators have high heat capacity but low conductivity. What you want is something that is high in both. Like stone. Short of using MY countertops (to which you are welcome, come and get them) do you have tile floors anywhere, or even a big Pizza stone or something. Water is another substance with the properties you seek. How about sitting the pie in the sink (probably with some type of cover) and running room temperature water past it. Just keep the pie dry and the water flowing and you should get the cooling you seek.

  8. Maybe filling a wide bowl half full of ice, then placing the pie plate from the oven in the bowl. It is Pyrex, it should be able to take it, no?

    Maybe water would be less drastic than ice.

    I’ll think on it.

  9. I just googled “sweet potato mousse martha stewart willard scott” trying to see if that recipe exists.

    The first two google entries are your blog. Booyha!

    • I can’t believe that there wasn’t even a Mad About You quote site in the search results!


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