The Stuck in Lodi

I’ve been meaning to post this video for awhile. Here is Kevin Ludwig, owner of Beaker and Flask, showing you how to make the Stuck in Lodi cocktail he created for Turkey Tracker:

One thing to note about this cocktail, especially if you make it at home and find you really enjoy it, is that the Gewürztraminer you choose for the syrup has a profound effect on the final creation. It’s surprising just how much of a difference you’ll find between a Columbia or Willamette Valley and an Alsatian Gewürztraminer, given how little wine makes it into the cocktail, compared to the other ingredients. I suggest you try a few, or just head down to Beaker and Flask to order one, and be sure to ask what they made the syrup with.

Published in: on February 13, 2010 at 3:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Wirebird 2.1 Source Code

This is the source code used for the Arduino microcontroller board (using the AD595 thermocouple amplifiers), the data collection scripts, rrdtool data storage and graphing functions. The code is commented, so download and hack away!



Published in: on November 25, 2009 at 12:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Broadcast Schedule

Here is the hourly schedule for Turkey Tracker. All times are PST. Turkey smoking will continue throughout these segments. Please remember that we’re doing all this live, and some things can be unpredictable and may preempt this schedule.

9 – 9:30 AM: Turkey in the smoker, broadcast starts.
10 AM: Gobble Gobble Hey? – We answer your questions.
11 AM: Turkey Toast & Technocrati Talk – A Discussion of the Technology Behind Turkey Tracker. This hour is sponsored by New Seasons Market.
12 PM: Kevin Ludwig from Beaker and Flask presents a cocktail in honor of Turkey Tracker. (pre-taped)
1 PM: Beers to compliment your Thanksgiving meal. Q&A.
2 PM : Kevin Ludwig from Beaker and Flask presents a cocktail in honor of Turkey Tracker. (pre-taped) followed by dedications.
3 PM: Wines to compliment your Thanksgiving meal. Q&A.
4 PM: Kevin Ludwig from Beaker and Flask presents a cocktail in honor of Turkey Tracker. (pre-taped) followed by more Gobble Gobble, Hey?
5 PM: Parade of Appetizers
6 PM: Kevin Ludwig from Beaker and Flask presents a cocktail in honor of Turkey Tracker. (pre-taped) followed by Prize Drawing.
6:30 – 7 PM: Turkey is done!

Published in: on November 23, 2009 at 4:33 pm  Comments (2)  

A Thanksgiving Cocktail from the Beaker and Flask

A few months ago, I asked Kevin Ludwig, owner of Beaker and Flask, if he’d be interested in making a special Thanksgiving cocktail for Turkey Tracker. He said “yes,” and last week I had the joy of tasting it for the first time. It’s a delicious apéritif, which you’ll have the pleasure of learning to make from Kevin himself during the Turkey Tracker broadcast.

We’re not going to post the recipe until it airs on Thanksgiving, but we will tell you what ingredients you need, so you’ll be all ready to play along at home.

Ingredients for Beaker and Flask’s Turkey Tracker inspired cocktail:

Wild Turkey Rye
Martini and Rossi Bianco Vermouth
Cynar (an Italian liqueur made with artichoke leaves)
Gewürztraminer Syrup (1 part dry gewürztraminer, 1 part water and 2 parts sugar, cooked into a simple syrup)
Peychaud’s Bitters
An orange

You’ll also need a cocktail shaker, and some way to zest the orange.

This is a seriously good cocktail, and if you’re at all inclined towards mixology that goes beyond ice, whiskey and coke, I urge you to get these ingredients and tune in to see how it’s done from the master himself.

If you’re wondering what you’ll do with the Cynar (probably the most surprising ingredient) after making this cocktail, I promise to post more Cynar recipes to the blog to help you use it up, or come to your house and take if off your hands.

Published in: on November 22, 2009 at 10:02 pm  Comments (1)  

Thanksgiving Beer Pairings

Derek Arent from and says Bruery Autumn Maple goes with just about anything Thanksgiving related!

Dish: Smoked Turkey
Beer: Ommegang Curiex or Tripel Karmelite
Style: Barrel Aged or with notes of Caramel Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Dish: Turkey
Beer: Heater Allen, Upright #6, or Paulaner Salvator
Style: Dunkelweizen, or quasi sweet Bock

Dish: Tofurkey
Beer: Upright Rustica #4 or Saison De Pipaix
Style: Rustic Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Dish: Sweet Potatoes
Beer: Oscar Blues Ten Fidy or Alesmith Speedway Stout
Style: Russian Imperial Stout or Robust English Porter

Dish: Stuffing
Beer: Elysian Night Owl
Style: Pumpkin Ale

Dish: Stuffing with Raisins
Beer: Dupont Avec les bons Voeux
Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Dish: Salad/Cream Dressing
Beer: Victory Pilsner
Style: German Pilsener

Dish: Salad/Vinaigrette
Beer: Upright Wit or Upright #4
Style: Witbier

Dish: French Onion Green Bean Casserole
Beer: Old Peculiar or Oskar Blues Old Chub
Style: Scottish Ale

Dish: Pumpkin Pie
Beer: Ninkasi Oatis or Ninkasi Sleigh’r
Style: Oatmeal Stout or Altbier

Dish: Cheesecake
Beer: Oud Beersel or Liefmans Framboise
Style: Sweet to tart berry Lambic – fruit

If you’re near Portland, many of these beers are available at Belmont Station or on tap at various establishments around town. Search as it can help you in your search to find these on tap, or ask your local beer steward at Belmont Station to get your hands on these tasty brews.

Beer Geek Disclaimer:

Palates may vary and we don’t condone drinking all these in one day, you know your palate best and these are merely suggestions to get your tastebuds excited about the Holiday season, Cheers! Drink safely!

Credit and thanks to Scott & Samurai Artist from, Belmont Station and Derek Arent from

Published in: on November 22, 2009 at 7:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Once upon a time…

Many years ago (1998), at Reed College, there was a group of friends who liked to cook and eat and didn’t plan to go home for Thanksgiving.
We decided it would be more fun (and less expensive) to prepare a feast together and have a relaxing day in Portland.
At that first Thanksgiving there were 10 of us at Owen and Rachel’s apartment. On our menu the first year was salmon, mashed potatoes, vegetables and Kahlua milkshakes. Several of us were vegetarians and we were college students, after all. Part of the fun that year was that earlier in the week four of us had driven up to Seattle for the day in Owen’s aging Volvo station wagon and purchased the salmon at Pike Place market. The result was a delicious meal, a cozy and crowded apartment and great company.
That particular group of people never fully repeated itself, but by the next year our future Thanksgivings began to take shape.

In November of 1999 Erin and Wil were living off-campus in Eastmoreland and as they lived in a tiny house complete with a yard (did I mention it was tiny?) the decision was made that Thanksgiving would take place there. Our menu expanded that year to include a turkey as the number of carnivores was growing steadily. 1999 was also the year that the famous Chris Chen cranberry sauce debuted, quite a watershed year! In addition to cranberry sauce and turkey the menu included salmon, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and pie. We listened to music, drank wine and enjoyed a lovely afternoon and evening together, though by the end everyone was too full to do much beyond lounging on the scant furniture. Thanksgiving 1999 ended on a very sad note when we learned that Wil’s dear friend from high school had died of brain cancer. Soon Wil was on his way to Texas to say a final good-bye and the rest of us were feeling a little more subdued as we explored Portland and started the on-going tradition of our post-Thanksgiving brunch.

The fall of 2000 was possibly our least successful Thanksgiving as we veered from tradition too significantly and found ourselves in a bit of a mess. Thanksgiving was hosted by our friend and classmate and her boyfriend and quickly turned from a gathering of good friends to a gigantic extravaganza with well over 25 guests. Both Rachel’s and Erin’s little brothers were in attendance (the great meeting of the Jesses!) and chaos of every kind ensued. There was most certainly turkey (possibly as many as three) and also pie, as well as cake. One or two crazy Australians, several rounds of ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ and much too much booze made this Thanksgiving memorable, but not particularly good. Ever since this Thanksgiving there have been no instances of break-dancing and no trips to the ER involved in our celebrations, we’ve had an excellent safety record.

The fall of 2001 found all of us, as the rest of the country, in a more sedate state. The guest list had narrowed significantly and our college years were behind us. We continued the post-Thanksgiving brunch tradition, often followed by a movie and all in all had a pleasant weekend.
From 2002 onwards Thanksgiving has taken approximately the same form, each year the location alternates between Michael & Jennifer’s house and Erin & Wil’s house (with the exception of 2004 when we repeated a year at Mike & Jen’s because Erin & Wil had just moved into their new home). While the guest list has varied each year, the core has remained the same and we’ve enjoyed many festivities with our parents in attendance as well.

At some point, Wil and Mike became the experts in charge of the turkey and they’ve turned basting and smoking the turkey into an art form. Joined by Chris and Pat, these four are the kings of the drumstick (which is why our turkey always has four drumsticks) and the stars of, the brainchild of Michael Weinberg with Chris Chen’s excellent probe building skills. We each have our areas of expertise, Jen is incredible with appetizers and beautiful table decorations, Chris makes cranberry sauce that is truly in a class by itself, Robin has contributed greatly to Thanksgiving both with the game Curses and her delicious cheddar pepper rolls. Larry, always much in demand, still finds time to visit us in the late afternoon, often bearing a bottle of vino verde with him. Pat makes the morning coffee for the turkey crew and can be counted on to share some excellent beer, he also provides us with the most delicious pumpkin cheesecake and has made an excellent pie as well (and would have continued, but I’m very territorial about the pie and don’t like competition). Our mothers and fathers have contributed many sides over the years, not to mention plenty of patience with our repeated singing of Mike’s Thanksgiving anthem: “Thermonuclear War and… Sex”. As previously mentioned, I’m (Erin) in charge of dessert and revel in my domain. Each fall I brush up my pie crust making skills and test out a pie or two before the big day. Past years have included sweet potato, pumpkin, apple, caramel apple, apple pear tart, lemon, chocolate peanut butter and chocolate peppermint. As I’ve learned over the years, chocolate desserts after Thanksgiving dinner are often too heavy. This year I’ll be making pumpkin pie and apple pear tart, served with plenty of fresh, organic whipped cream.
We’re excited to have our friends Katie & Gordon join us for the full celebration for the first time this year, they’ll be contributing several vegetable side dishes and sharing their beer expertise. My parents will also be in attendance and will bring sweet potatoes and vegan/wheat-free dessert and last, but certainly not least, our dear friend Sarah will celebrate her final Thanksgiving as an Oregon resident with us and she”ll be bringing her parents and some fantastic appetizers. I’m certain we’re in for another wonderful celebration!

As the site has grown and gained national attention, we had the idea to turn our Thanksgiving celebrations into something that would do more than fill our bellies and warm our hearts, this year we are collecting donations from our viewers and local businesses for the Oregon Food Bank and hope to do more and more each year.

Published in: on November 22, 2009 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Turkey Tracker is Giving Away an iPod Touch

This year we really want to see a lot of people pledge to help the Oregon Food Bank, so we’ve decided to take advantage of one of the oldest tricks in the book: bribery!

If 100 people (or more) pledge to help the Oregon Food Back by donating a few cents per Turkey Tracker viewer, we will give one randomly selected pledger a brand new 8GB iPod Touch.

Go here to pledge.

We’re only handling the list of pledges; you’ll make your donation directly to OFB, after we tally up the number of viewers and tell you what your total pledge comes to. Your donation should be tax deductible, to the extent allowed by law.

Published in: on November 18, 2009 at 6:09 am  Comments (1)  

TT09 Is Just Around the Corner

There are fewer than three weeks til Thanksgiving, and we’ve been hard at work to make this the most exciting Turkey Tracker yet.

We wanted to let you in on some of what we’ve been working on, and give you an idea of what to expect this Thanksgiving.

Smoking Improvements

Last year, I mentioned that we were considering a new smoker, due to the flareups that have frustrated us with this one. We ultimately decided that going for a new smoker was unnecessary, and that we needed to address our smoking approach instead. This year, we’ve switched from the wood chunks we had been using the last few years, back to wood chips. The wood mix is still pecan and oak, and it’s still entirely natural wood, they’re just smaller pieces. Our reasoning is that the woodchips can be soaked effectively (hardwood chunks can sit in water for days and only get wet about a 1/4″ in from the edge) and if woodchips do catch fire, they will flame out quickly. So far, in our dry-run chicken smokings, we’ve managed to avoid flareups, and we’ve still produced delicious, smokey fowl.

A Better Show

The first two Turkey Trackers were mostly a camera trained on the smoker, and us periodically popping into the frame. Last year, you gave us lots of enthusiastic suggestions (more dog shots, parade of appetizers, etc.), which we did our best to accommodate. Now that we know what you want, we’re planning ahead of time so that the show is more exciting and informative. As we near Thanksgiving, we’ll be posting a full schedule for the broadcast, but in the meantime I can tell you that there will be two dogs running around, we will have a formal parade of appetizers, you’ll be invited to join us in the Turkey Toast, and we’ll have some short talks about Thanksgiving food and beverage pairings.

Ways You Can Participate

There are a few things you can do to be a part of Turkey Tracker this year. Just by tuning in, you add to the fun. There’s also the chat, which gets lively, there’s a link for it right under the video stream. It will open up a little chat room in a new window, so you can talk with us and other Turkey Tracker viewers.

If you have a digital camera, we highly recommend you join the Turkey Tracker Fanclub Flickr Group and post photos of your Thanksgiving. The photos you post will appear on our site for everyone to see.

If you’re on Twitter, you should follow @turkeytracker. We’ll also be using the hashtag #TT09 to tag tweets about Turkey Tracker, so please try to use it if you want to say something about the show.

Finally, you can join us in supporting the Oregon Food Bank this year. The Oregon Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization in Oregon, and this year they’ve experienced a 20% increase in families requesting food. We’ve decided that it’s in the spirit of Thanksgiving to help them help needy families by raising money through Turkey Tracker. We’re asking anyone who can to please pledge a few cents per viewer (like a Walkathon) to the Oregon Food Bank. If you decide to pledge, we’ll let you know after the show how many viewers we had, and then you can make your donation directly to OFB. 100% of what you give will go to fight hunger. Everyone who pledges will get a hand written, signed Thank You note. You can pledge here. Thank you.

Published in: on November 6, 2009 at 10:43 pm  Comments (1)  

About the Bird

Below, in all its glory, is the story of this year’s Turkey, along with some historical info about each step.

The Bird:

This year’s turkey came from Sheridan Fruit Company, a wonderful local grocery. It’s a natural, free range turkey, meaning that it got to walk around and eat bugs and stuff, in addition to turkey feed. That also means that it isn’t a shockingly large-breasted, brine injected bird-in-a-bag that enjoyed a life of antibiotics and hormones prior to being our dinner. Not quite the same as ordering a Heritage Turkey a year in advance, or hunting our own from the area’s recent wild turkey infestation, but a decent start. We order an additional pair of legs, because drumsticks are popular with the cooking crew. At least one of the butchers at Sheridan actually remembers this order from year to year.

The Brine:

Wednesday morning, the bird went into a brine made with:

1 cup Morton’s pickling salt
1-cup apple cider vinegar
3 carrot sticks chopped in 1-inch pieces
3 celery stalks chopped in 1-inch pieces
1 bunch radishes, whole with ends sliced off
1 yellow onion sliced in eighths
1 white onion sliced in eighths
Water to fill the pot

The bird was in the brine for about 20 hours, after which it was rinsed and prepped for cooking.

We’ve brined the bird with an apple cider vinegar and salt mixture for the past 4 years, if I recall correctly. This is the first year that the vegetables were included. I got that idea from a friend, who mentioned that a friend of his would basically make a soup as a brine. Next year, at my mother’s recommendation, I’ll cook the mix first, so that the vegetable flavors get into the water more.


We don’t cook stuffing in the bird, because that would take much too long, and risk the stuffing not getting fully cooked. We do, however, place sliced apples in the cavity to add to the flavor and because the apples come out tasting a bit like apple pie chutney and are tasty with the bird. This bird took 3 green apples, sliced.

Smoking Woods:

We use approximately half pecan and half white oak to smoke the bird. The pecan delivers a satisfying bacon flavor, similar to apple wood smoked bacon, while the oak delivers a traditional BBQ flavor to the bird. We hit on this combo last year after trying many things, including cherry wood with mesquite charcoal, apple wood with mesquite charcoal, and a hazelnut shell smoking mix. If I had to rank these, I’d place pecan/oak in first, apple/mesquite second, cherry/mesquite third (though this is top notch for smoking pork) and the hazelnut stuff last.

The bird smoked for about 8 hours between 200° and 225° F, until the last 20 minutes or so, when we took advantage of the gas burner to bump the temperature up to around 350° F to finish the bird. The past two or three years we’ve finished the bird in the oven, and before that we finished it on a grill, which added drama, but not a lot of flavor. The first year that Wil and I cooked the turkey, we actually didn’t have a smoker, and we did a combo of the oven to start, and the grill with smoking chips added to finish it.

The Baste:

The baste is a mix of 1-pint Old Crow Bourbon, 1-cup honey and 2 sticks butter. We don’t baste on a schedule, but try to hit it a couple times an hour.

The baste is a little funny. The first year I was making it, I heard a Garrison Keilor skit about Thanksgiving where he mentioned making the baste with 4 sticks of butter. Never having made turkey before, I went ahead with that, not realizing that it was Midwestern exageration. Before you imagine that the turkey comes out soaked in that much butter, keep in mind that most of it drips off the bird and into the water pan below it, and never touches anyone’s lips.

Published in: on December 3, 2008 at 11:42 pm  Comments (1)  

A Parade Of Appetizer and Dessert Recipes

One of the highlights of this Thanksgiving broadcast was the Parade of Appetizers. Several viewers told us that they not only enjoyed the delicious “parade,” but wanted the recipes.

So, here they are.

Goat Cheese Appetizers

(aka Pecan and Goat Cheese Marbles)

1/4 cup pecans
1/2 tbsp melted butter
1/4 tsp sugar
5 oz log goat cheese
1/2 tsp minced rosemary
1/2 tsp crushed, chopped coriander seeds
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Toss pecans with butter and sugar, bake for 8-10 minutes or until a shade or two darker.  Set aside and cool, then pulse in food processor.
Mix goat cheese, rosemary, coriander, and freshly ground pepper until blended.  Roll approximately 1/2 teaspoon of cheese mixture into balls, then roll in pecans.  Roll again between palms to press nuts in.
Makes approximately 16 balls.

Bacon Appetizers Almost Gone!

CARAMELIZED BACON (from Martha Stewart Hors D’oeuvres)

1/2 pound peppered slab bacon, cut into 1/8 strips
3/4 cup light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Cover rimmed baking sheet with wax paper.  Pack sugar on both sides of bacon with hands and lay in single layer on baking sheet.  Oil a new sheet of wax paper and lay on top of bacon, oil side down.  Weight wax paper with heavy skillet and/or smaller baking sheets.
Bake bacon 15 minutes.  Drain off fat (careful not to lose too much caramel), and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until bacon is crispy.  Remove weights, spoon caramel over bacon, and cook for another 1-2 minutes.  Place on a rack to cool, then break into 2″ pieces.  Serve warm.
Makes approximately 2 dozen pieces.

Savory Mushroom Cakes By Sarah


3 cups cleaned stemmed mushrooms (1 used one cup each of portobello, shiitake, and white, but really anything will do)
2 tbsp butter
3 cloves minced garlic
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
3 tbsp chopped basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced green onions (chives would also be fine)
1 cup room temp Boursin cheese (soft goat cheese will also work)
3 cups greens (I used spinach, but arugula or mesclun might be better)
1 1/2 cup corn (I used canned, but fresh would be great when in season)
Mince all mushrooms together in food processor.  Put butter in a large skillet, then sauté mushroom until they give up liquid.  Add garlic and cook until almost dry.
In a large bowl, mix together eggs, flour, milk, paprika, mustard, basil, thyme, tomatoes, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper, and chives.  Add the mushrooms and mix well.
Heat a small skillet and season with butter.  Pour enough batter into the skillet to make the size pancakes you want (I used about a tsp for 2″ diameter cakes).  Cook until edges brown and bubbles form on top, then flip over and cook until whole cake is brown.  Place on sheet lined with parchment.
To create the stacks, ice one cake with cheese, then top with corn, greens, and a bit of sauce.*  Repeat as many times as you would like, then top with plan cake (I did three layers total).  Drizzle with more glaze, and top with chives, corn, cheese, whatever!
Makes about 16 2″ diameter stacks of 3.
* Balsamic Vanilla Sauce
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Boil sugar and water until syrupy (about 10 minutes).  Add vanilla and vinegar and boil until thickened.  Do not overcook or syrup will end up like molasses (which I did … oops)!  If this happens, heat in the microwave for a few seconds and thin with a bit of water.
Cheddar Rolls In A Basket
I don’t have the recipe in front of me at the moment (will update when I do). But basically, use your favorite yeast bread recipe.
1. When you’ve got the dry ingredients in a bowl, grind at least a teaspoon of course black pepper. (I use more than that. Just keep grinding ’til there’s a nice speckled look throughout your flour mixture.)
2. After you’ve mixed in your wet ingredients, but before you get the dough all thick with more flour, mix in about a cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. (I used a combo of Tillamook medium cheddar, Tillamook sharp white reserve, and an organic raw sharp white cheddar.)
3. Let your dough rise for an hour.
4. Punch dough down and divide in half. Let it (and yourself) rest for 10 minutes.
5. Tear off bouncy-ball-sized chunks of dough and roll them into ropes. Take three at a time and braid them.
6. Put on baking sheet and let rise another 1/2 hour.
7. Bake ’til golden brown.
NOTE: Our Pie Mistress notes that, with the exception of the Alton Brown recipe, she took her inspiration from Smitten Kitchen – though of course adding her own flair. Annotations from both Smitten Kitchen and our own Pie Mistress are included in the following recipes…

Cooks Illustrated, November 2007 via Smitten Kitchen

Makes enough for one 9-inch double-crust pie (if you’re making all the pies that I made for Thanksgiving you’ll need to double this)

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into small bits
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water

1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Apple Pear Gallette By Erin


2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for the surface
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
3 Empire, Gala, or Cortland apples, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick (I used Granny Smith for extra zing)
3 Bartlett pears, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (I used only brown sugar)
1 large egg, beaten

Heat oven to 350° F. On a lightly floured surface, roll piecrust into 16-inch circle. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread 1/4 cup of the preserves on the crust, leaving a 2-inch border.
In a large bowl, toss the apples, pears, flour, lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Transfer to the crust, leaving the border clear. Fold the edges of the crust over the fruit mixture. Brush the egg on the crust and sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is tender, 50 to 60 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of preserves and 1 tablespoon water over medium heat until liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Brush on the fruit. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, November & December 2008 by Smitten Kitchen

A half-recipe of your favorite pie crust, chilled

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk (I used a cup and a half of milk and a half cup of heavy cream instead)
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks (I just did the 3 eggs)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can (regular canned yams can be substituted) (I used a half a baked yam)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground because I’m not a huge fan of fresh ginger)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon table salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll out dough on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to make 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang all around pie plate.

Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute edge of dough. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Remove pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate. Bake 5 to 10 more minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove plate and baking sheet from oven.

Make the filling: While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Re-whisk mixture and transfer to warm pre-baked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees. Continue baking until edges are set (instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175 degrees), 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. (The pie finishes cooking with resident heat; to ensure the filling sets, cool it at room temperature and not in the refrigerator.)

Alton Brown


Lemon Filling:

* 4 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
* 1/3 cup cornstarch
* 1 1/2 cups water
* 1 1/3 cups sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 1/2 cup lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
* 1 (9-inch) pre-baked pie shell
* 1 recipe Meringue, recipe follows

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk egg yolks in medium size mixing bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine. Turn heat on medium and, stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually, 1 whisk-full at a time, add hot mixture to egg yolks and stir until you have added at least half of the mixture.

Return egg mixture to saucepan, turn heat down to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined. Pour mixture into pie shell and top with meringue while filling is still hot. Make sure meringue completely covers filling and that it goes right up to the edge of the crust. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Make sure pie is cooled completely before slicing.

Meringue Topping:

* 4 egg whites
* 1 pinch cream of tartar
* 2 tablespoons sugar

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Use to top lemon filling.

I left out the meringue and so we had just plain old lemon pie, but it was pretty tasty anyway.

Published in: on December 2, 2008 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment