Ever been chased by turkeys? You might think “chased” is the wrong word here because, well, how fast can turkeys really move? The answer is: a lot faster than you’d think. Fast enough that you’re going to have to run pretty fast if they actually decide to come after you. We’re talking turkeys (ha) who see you coming from half a mile away and make it their business to set up a feathered roadblock that doesn’t just hold its ground, but comes at you. And then when you finally get near them…
Last month in upstate New York, we found all this out firsthand. Peter’s parents were the first to face-off with a rogue band of turkeys. The birds came out of nowhere, trailing silently on their morning walk until the plop-plop-plop of turkey feet got loud—and close—enough to hear. When scare tactics didn’t work on the birds, Lynnette and Peter made a break for it. Later that day, Lee had to outrun the same bunch of turkeys as they rushed at her with a surprisingly vocal half fly, half sprint, all waddle from their hiding spot behind a shed. She’d been pretty sure she was running quietly enough to avoid disturbing them, but then she accidentally surprised a guinea fowl and, well… We’ll leave it to you to imagine what happened next.
By that evening, we figured these turkeys had better things to do (like planning their escape pre-Thanksgiving) than wait around for us. But when we all went for a walk with Peter and Lynnette, the turkeys were waiting, plodding toward us from way down the road. Clearly, the turkeys had spent the afternoon making a plan, just not the one we’d thought. We’d been spotted and there was going to be standoff. They turkeys had wandered away from their yard and though they never actually admitted it, we’re pretty sure they were out looking for a fight. We figured four humans on four turkeys were pretty good odds but, as you can see from the picture below, the turkeys clearly didn’t feel the same way. Was the leader (oh, there was a leader) calling out commands? Uh…
We did finally manage to escape. The relentless gang was finally scared off by a car but for a few minutes there, it was touch and go. If you haven’t experienced Turkey Bullying firsthand, check this and this out.
Even though this week is very turkey-centric, it’s not all turkey. In fact, from where we stand, it’s looking like a little turkey and a whole lot of pie. Which brings us to this week’s recipe…
Salted Pumpkin Pie
Even when we try to do it differently, we always seem to wind up planning our meals around dessert. Last week, it was apple tart, this week it’s pumpkin pie. This one is adapted from a recipe in Julia Child’s The Way to Cook. It’s lighter because the egg whites are whipped and folded into the batter. We also used Lou’s lighter-than-your-average-pie-crust dough, which is made with something you’d never guess unless you’ve talked to us ever and then, you might… olive oil. We use it in nearly everything (well, we are Italian) and we’re here to tell you, it’s even good in pie dough. Scout’s honor.
We use light olive oil (this means light in flavor) in this recipe and you should, too. A little olive oil flavor is actually really nice with some tarts or pies, like apple or pear or lemon. For pumpkin pie, though, it’s definitely best to avoid any kind of heavy olive flavor. The dough is nice and crispy on the outside and tender inside.
Our other special touch? We add a sprinkle of sea salt flakes (they are more delicate in flavor and texture) just before serving to lend a little something different and delicious and also to make the other flavors in the pie pop.
AND since you can make this the day before (you really can—it’s just as good!), it’s one less thing to cook on that wonderful cooking-frenzy of a day. To make ahead, when the pie has cooled to room temperature, wrap well and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving (unless you are impatient or like cold pie—sometimes we are both).
We used a 10-inch quiche dish that’s 2 inches deep. Because our pie dish was deeper than a typical one, we made enough pie dough for two pies. We’d rather have extra than run short. (Use the extra for hand pies!) When working with this dough, you don’t want to walk away and leave it. It rolls out beautifully but if it sits, it will get a bit dry.
The dough should absolutely be rolled out between two sheets of wax paper to prevent sticking and make transfer to your pie dish easier. We do this on a large cutting board so we can tuck the ends of wax paper underneath, keeping it in place as we roll, but taping the paper down with painter’s or masking tape works well, too.
For the eggs, they’re easier to separate when they are cold but the whites whip best at room temperature. So separate your eggs when you take them out of the refrigerator, then bring the yolks and whites to room temperature.
* * * *
An 11-inch pie pan or a 10 inch x 2 inch quiche dish
Stand or hand mixer
Fine mesh sieve for sifter
Pie weights (dried beans or rice or actual pie weights) for blind baking pie crust (We always use dried chick peas.)
Olive Oil Pie Dough Ingredients:
– 2/3 cup + 1 tbs light olive oil (you can also use safflower or other light flavored vegetable oil)
– 7 tbs cold milk
– 2 2/3 cups flour
– Pinch of kosher salt
With the oven rack in the middle, preheat oven to 375°F.
* Lay out the wax paper on which to roll the dough and have another sheet ready to place on top.
* Combine the milk and oil in a small bowl or measuring cup. Don’t stir.
* Sift the flour and salt into a bowl
* All at once, add the milk/oil mixture to the flour. With your hand mix everything together. It will feel a little sticky at first but will quickly come together.
* Turn the dough out onto the wax paper and flatten into a disk. Place the another sheet of wax paper on top and roll out the dough large enough to fit your pie dish, leaving enough overhang to make an edge. The dough should be about an 1/8 inch thick—not so thin that it will break but not so thick that it’s too much crust. You know what pie dough looks like—we trust you.
* Remove the top piece of wax paper. Using the bottom sheet of wax paper to help, turn the dough over and place it on your pie dish. Carefully remove the wax paper and fit the dough into your pie dish. Fold the over overhand into an edge that stands up a bit above the rim of the pie dish.
* Place a sheet of parchment paper over the dough—make it large enough so that you can use it to lift the pie weights out—and fill it with your pie weights.
* Bake for 10 minutes. Lift the parchment and pie weights out, reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack. Leave the oven on and turn it back to 375°F.
– 4 eggs, separated
– 2 15-oz boxes or cans of sold pack pumpkin (3 1/2 cups if you are using fresh pumpkin)
– 1 cup light brown sugar
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 tbs molasses
– 3 tbs bourbon or rum (we used bourbon)
– 2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp cloves
– 1/4 tsp nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp ginger
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 3/4 cup milk
– Pinch of sea salt
– Additional heavy cream to whip for serving (We like to add some vanilla extract, a little maple syrup, and a little bourbon…It’s incredible. You should have many spoons ready to eat it right out of the bowl.)
* Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.
* Add the remaining ingredients to a large bowl and mix well (this can be done with a whisk).
* Mix a few dollops of beaten eggs whites into the pumpkin mixture and fold in the rest.
* Pour or ladle the batter into the blind-baked pie crust.
* Bake for 30 minutes at 375°F. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake about 10 minutes more or until a tooth pick inserted between the crust and the middle of the pie comes out clean.
Let cool. Just before serving add a sprinkle of sea salt. Top with whipped cream.
Wishing all of you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
©2014 Lee and Lou Cook. All rights reserved.