"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Friday, November 28, 2008

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Gingersnap Crust; & Sweet Potato and Parsnip Puree



When my sister-in-law asked me to make dessert for Thanksgiving, she noted that we were going to be a small group. Eight adults.

"One dessert should be more than enough, don't you think?" she asked.

Readers, you can imagine how difficult it is to contemplate just ONE dessert for Thanksgiving. With the variety of traditional pies out there--apple, pecan, pumpkin, sweet potato--how does one choose? And what if the one dessert you make turns out to be not so popular? There are strong opinions out there about pies, in case you haven't noticed.

The Gourmet Cookbook offers a plethora of desserts that would be appropriate for the season. I narrowed it down by shutting my eyes and pointing. Pumpkin Chiffon Pie it is! And if some of our eaters didn't like pumpkin...well, c'est la turkey.

I must confess to a certain apprehension about plain old pumpkin pie. It always feels a little...slimy to me. I mean, I can polish off a piece without any problem (it would take more than a texture issue to deter me) but it's not my go-to ingredient when I'm thinking about pies.

So this recipe was a leap of faith for me but I was encouraged by the head notes, which state that the texture of THIS pie was lighter than air thanks to the chiffon-y nature of it. And if you're wondering what chiffon involves, it means getting out that Kitchen Aide mixer and using it a LOT, because you fold sweetened whipped egg whites and THEN stiff heavy cream into your pumpkin/sugar/egg/brandy/gelatin base.

It all looked pretty promising when I poured this filling on top of the gingersnap crust. I was expecting people to like it well enough.

What I wasn't expecting was that my family LOVED this dessert. I mean, the sort of love where they would just stop eating to say Oh. My. God.

I was bowled over, and very pleased.

If you make this, be sure to use the suggested garnish of chopped crystallized ginger. I think that's what put it over the top. That and the homemade whipped cream that I made everybody at the table take a turn at beating.

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My other meal assignment was "potatoes". I was going to make mashed potatoes, but then I got to thinking about color on the plate and decided orange was prettier than white.

Gourmet to the rescue again, with Sweet Potato and Parsnip Puree.

I doubled the recipe, and then decided to put all of those nice cooked veggies in my trusty Kitchen Aide since the bowl was bigger than my food processor.

Don't bother.

The Kitchen Aide will mash them, but you really want a silky texture here and you just can't get that in anything but a food processor. I transferred the vegetables in two batches and pureed the heck out of them with the butter, milk etc.

It's simple, but man is it good. The perfect complement to Thanksgiving food.

Hope your day was as yummy as ours!

1 comment:

Georgia said...

Is there any pie left? It's my birthday and I think you could Fedex a slice same day :-].

We had a great Thanksgiving. Here's the menu:

Tur-duc-hen
Roasted brussel sprouts
Grilled asparagus with sesame oil
Green beans with slivered almonds
Mustard roasted potatoes
Root salad with pears (fennel, celery, radish)
Garlic bread
Cranberry sauce, of course
Gravy, of course
Fruit sorbets in their skins/shells: pineapple, mango, coconut, lemon