Friday, November 28, 2008
The Good. And the Bad and Ugly.
Thanksgiving. A day for giving thanks. But mostly for cooking. And eating. And then eating leftovers.
This was our second Thanksgiving in North Carolina and while we briefly entertained the idea of making barbecue for the big meal, we went traditional in the end. In my post-Thanksgiving review and analysis, I give a thumbs-up to the turkey (made in my slow cooker), the cranberry sauce (made in a factory by Ocean Spray) and the biscuits (which were both a Thanksgiving side and breakfast today, served with gravy).
The secret to the biscuits is Maine's own Bakewell Cream. I haven't found it around here, but if you're into making biscuits, it's well worth a mail order. The leavening agent makes biscuits flaky and fluffy (unless you're a compulsive mixer or kneader, which I used to be -- and in that case, even the magic of Bakewell Cream can't save you). The moral of the story: Mix minimally. Knead lightly. Use Bakewell.
The day, however, was not without its disappointments. The biggest disappointment: Rachael Ray's Double-Decker Pumpkin-Caramel Pie.
Check out this link to see what Everyday with Rachael Ray promised me it would look like. Here's what it actually looked like:
I swear, there's a slice of pie under there.
This flop was particularly painful since dessert is the best part of Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie is the best dessert.
There were three main problems. First, I couldn't find the chocolate graham crackers for the crust, so I improvised with Oreos. Sounds good in theory, but they stayed in the pie plate. Second, the pie batter was a little on the bitter side, so I added a little (lot) more sugar. The pie never really set right. Third, the caramel whipped cream was made by melting caramel with cream, then adding the mixture to cream whipped to soft peaks. The caramel deflated the cream and turned the whole thing into a soupy, yucky-sweet mess.
Despite the obvious visual evidence that I had failed, I grabbed a spoon and tried a slice. This, after all, was Thanksgiving, and I needed some pie. It wasn't pretty.
Next year, it's back to regular old pumpkin pie. Hold the caramel.