I always worry that I’m not experimental enough in the kitchen. I find a good recipe and then stick with it for the rest of my life. This worry was spurred by a friend once comparing me to another friend who cooks. She said, “You’re a great home cook, but ______, well he’s a chef.”
My pride was wounded, but I understood. The friend who she was talking about is a fantastic cook and loves to experiment in the kitchen with whatever the latest food trends are. If they don’t sound good to me, I don’t. So, black pepper never makes it into my ice cream and I’m OK with that.
But this year, I figured my rosemary with garlic and butter under the skin turkey was getting old, so I thought I’d try something new. I went with a Pancetta Sage Turkey recipe I found in Bon Appetit. I almost did a recipe with lemon rind, Italian parsley and saffron but decided I didn’t want to spend 12 bucks on saffron. So I did a twist on my rosemary butter and added a little lemon rind to it instead.
Know what? My guests preferred the rosemary turkey over the pancetta sage, which is too bad because the pancetta sage turkey was a lot of work!
And this year I didn’t stuff my turkeys. I got two smaller ones instead of one larger one. I think I prefer a larger bird than two smaller ones and I miss the stuffing in the bird. So, lesson learned. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. My family loves turkey with rosemary, garlic butter under the skin, so that’s what I’ll make. But the lemon rind was a nice additional touch of flavor.
And the winner of the Annual Cutthroat Tunno Pie Competition is my nephew Chris. Yes, Chris again. Clearly, he is putting crack in his pies, because everyone says they are absolutely the best. One day, I will drug him so I can extract the secret to the pie and share it with you! Chris came in first, my big brother Bernie came in second and Nate, (my, I’ll make my own damned trophy) great nephew from my blog two years ago came in third. C’est la vie. It was evenly split among the generations. (I had reported it incorrectly earlier, and thank God, Donna set me straight. No fake news here!)
However, I did try a new pie crust recipe and it was good. Not sure if it was better than my mom’s recipe, but it was definitely tied. The thing I discovered was that using a food processor when making a pie crust is absolute genius, takes one fourth the time and makes a flakier crust!
But one thing that I never see in any article about pie crusts is information about how to protect your crust from burning, especially if you have a deep dish apple pie, because they take long to bake. I use a Mrs. Anderson’s pie crust shield and it works like a charm. That is a link to Bed, Bath and Beyond, but you can get them at Amazon too. Both places have them for 5.99. They also have an adjustable one, you can cut to size if you don’t make a deep dish pie size. They’re a little more expensive, but they are all worth it!
Here is the pie crust recipe. I found it in a Los Angeles Times article by Noelle Carter.
Flaky Pie Dough
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup water
2 1/4 tsp. cider vinegar
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp cold shortening or lard
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Ice water if needed
Egg White for brushing crust
(The recipe in the Times said to chill everything, the blades for the processor, even the flour, but I didn’t and mine turned out fine.)
Mix together the sugar, water and vinegar until sugar is dissolved and put it in the refrigerator to chill.
Mix the flour and salt in the food processor. With the machine running, add the shortening and butter. Pulse until it resembles small pebbles. Add the vinegar water and when it starts to come together, stop the machine. Remove the dough. If it needs additional water, add a little ice water to make it hold together. Then wrap it in cellophane and put it in the freezer for a few minutes to chill.
Remove and roll out on a lightly floured surface.