Ed Levine, the founder of SeriousEats.com, had the idea of an all-pie Thanksgiving, so his colleagues Kenji Lopez-Alt and Carey Jones made that dream a reality. TODAY.com's Katie Quinn reports.
Ed Levine, founder of food site Serious Eats, is a rare food writer: He shuns snobbery. In fact, Ed loves pie so much that when autumn ushered in the holiday season, he proposed the idea of an all-pie Thanksgiving to his colleagues.
Rather than let this idea (which seemed to me to be equally absurd and brilliant) pass by as merely one of Ed's quirky fantasy meals, Serious Eats managing editor Kenji Lopez-Alt set to work on developing the recipes for the savory pies that would represent the bulk of this unconventional meal before the classic sweet pies of the holiday for dessert.
But they couldn't stop with the savory pies, so colleague Carey Jones ordered pies from some of the team's favorite dessert shops from around the country, which they researched for their new book, "Serious Eats: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Eating Delicious Food Wherever You Are."
In the video above, I talk with Ed, Kenji and Carey about their delicious mad-scientist creation and join them in the kitchen for a taste test. As you'll see in the video, Ed's nothing-but-pie idea yields truly delicious dishes I would bring to my Thanksgiving table in a heartbeat.
Carey's picks for best dessert pies included:
- Double-crusted apple rhubarb pie at the Coffee Cup Cafe in Sully, Iowa.
- Cherry crumb pie at the Grand Traverse Pie Company in various locations around Michigan.
- Classic apple pie at Yura on Madison in New York City.
- Triple coconut cream pie at Dahlia Bakery in Seattle.
- Honorable mention (due to a rough ride in the mail, these pies did not make it into the video): Pear apple cranberry pie with pecan crumble from Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago.
Turkey and cranberry pie
If you want to try your hand at Kenji's savory pies, such as turkey and cranberry pie or stuffing pie, here are the recipes.
Turkey and Cranberry Pie
- 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 whole turkey legs, divided into thighs and drumsticks
- 1 1/2 quarts turkey or low sodium chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 sprigs parsley, leaves minced, stems reserved
- 1 small carrot, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 stalks celery, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup flour
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 recipe Easy Pie Dough, made without the sugar
- 1 egg white
- Coarse sea salt, such as Maldon
- Combine cranberries, sugar, and a 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and add 1/2 a cup of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally and crushing berries with a wooden spoon until completely broken down, about 15 minutes. Set aside at room temperature.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Brown turkey legs in hot butter, turning to brown both sides, about 8 minutes total. Add stock, bay leaves, and parsley stems. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with a heavy lid set slightly ajar, and cook until turkey is fall-apart tender, about 3 hours.
- Using tongs, transfer turkey legs to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids. Skim fat off of liquid using a ladle, then set liquid aside (there should be about 4 cups). When turkey is cool enough to handle, pick meat into 1- to 2-inch chunks, discarding skin and bones.
- Return Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Heat until butter is melted then carrots, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour. Cook, stirring constantly until pale golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisking constantly, slowly pour turkey cooking liquid into pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until reduced to about 3 cups and as thick as heavy paint.
- Add turkey to pot and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in chopped parsley. Set aside until completely cool, at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and adjust the oven rack to the center position. Roll bottom pie crust out and fit inside a 9-inch pie plate. Add cranberry mixture to bottom and spread into a smooth, even layer. Pour turkey mixture on top of cranberries (you may have a little more than you can use).
- Roll out top crust and seal pie. Whisk egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Brush top crust with egg white mixture and cut 3 to 5 holes for ventilation. Sprinkle sparingly with coarse sea salt. Place pie in oven and bake for 15 minutes until pale golden brown. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking until deep golden brown and mixture is starting to bubble through the vents, about 45 minutes longer. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.
- 1 recipe Easy Pie Dough, made with no sugar
- 1 half batch of Classic Sage and Sausage Stuffing, cooled to room temperature
- 1 egg white
- Coarse sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and adjust the oven rack to the center position. Roll bottom pie crust out and fit inside a 9-inch pie plate. Add stuffing to pie and press down to make sure any air bubbles are gone.
- Roll out top crust and seal pie. Whisk egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Brush top crust with egg white mixture and cut 3 to 5 holes for ventilation. Sprinkle sparingly with coarse sea salt. Place pie in oven and bake for 15 minutes until pale golden brown. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking until deep golden brown, about 45 minutes longer. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.
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