Of course, with the holiday season near, I am also craving ALL the sweet things, such as cake and pie, both of which I made this week. It's hard to say which is better. There have been many battles--or just one notable epic battle--pitting fluffy, sugary cake against sweet, hearty pie. Personally, I am a pie person. I like cake, but I can only eat it in small doses before wanting to pass out from a sugar induced coma. Granted, cakes are a lot prettier, but pie is the winner for me when it comes to taste.
I also love food trucks. Whenever there is a food truck in town I most likely know about it. Although the Jack Astor's food truck was more of a promotional stunt and not an actual food truck, I couldn't resist free food on a Friday. They were offering complimentary new menu items in London over the weekend at various stops. I am willing to stand outside in the cold for the sake of "trucking." First off was a sample of their new Feta Guacamole with red onion, black beans and roasted poblano peppers. It was pretty standard guacamole with a bit of a spicy kick.
The entree I sampled was "One Really, Really Big Meatball" of beef, veal and pork in a garlic tomato sauce with bucatini pasta. The other option was "Junk Boat Chicken:" crispy fried chicken in garlic and ginger sauce with jasmine rice and seasonal vegetables. The meatball actually was a really big meatball and the sauce had a pretty good balance of sweetness and herbs.
Overall, not bad for restaurant chain food and free too. Speaking of restaurant food, every time I hear the words "Festive Special" on the radio my heart yearns for some Swiss Chalet winter goodness. It's not the holiday season without a chicken dinner followed by Lindt chocolates.
Then there was the cake I baked and decorated this week (like there is ever really a reason to bake a cake). I made one box of cake mix into four mini cakes because I wanted to practice my piping skills.
I also made one batch of buttercream icing and filled the layers with homemade strawberry jam for extra sweetness because they needed more sugar.
I played around with various piping techniques, such as the rosette, shell border, star fill-in and zigzag pattern. My piping bags and tips should probably come out of hibernation a little more because my lettering and outlining was a little shaky. Some coloured sugar never hurts to "cover" things up though.
Then there's the pumpkin pie I made this weekend. Americans are celebrating their Thanksgiving right now and I am a little jealous. Canadians had ours about a month ago and it definitely didn't feel like the holiday season was beginning then. However, we do get to take advantage of Black Friday deals and shopping that has somehow become popular here.
There is still a lot of pumpkin on grocery store shelves though and they always make a great Christmas dessert too. I always use the recipe written inside the label of E.D Smith's Pure Pumpkin.
E.D Smith's Traditional Pumpkin Pie2 eggs
1/2 can Pure Pumpkin
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 unbaked homemade pie shell or frozen deep dish pie shell
Directions:1. Beat eggs lightly in medium bowl. Add pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt; str until well combined. Blend in the milk.
2. Pour filling in pie shell. Bake at 425F for 15 min.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and continue baking 30 to 35 min. longer or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool.
Makes 1 pie. To make 2 pies, use 1 can Pure Pumpkin and double all other ingredients.
For the crust I used this recipe for the "perfect pie crust" that I found on Pinterest. The recipe uses a butter and vegetable shortening mix instead of straight butter usually used in pie dough.
This was the first time I've used shortening in a pie crust. The dough was a little greasier than I'm used to, but I enjoyed the taste and it would also work well for a savoury pie.
I rolled the dough into the pie plate and crimped the edges with a fork. Then I filled the crust with the pumpkin mixture and cut out heart shapes from cookie cutters using the leftover dough.
If you love pie, there is still time to submit your link to the Love The Pie link-up. If you have a pie recipe, link it up with Tidy Mom. If you're a U.S resident you can enter to win a new Whirlpool Range, so come join Love the Pie with TidyMom sponsored by Whirlpool and enter to win a new Whirlpool Range.
You can also post your recipe on Twitter with the hashtag #LovethePie. Even if you can't enter--or technically enjoy American Thanksgiving--there are plenty of pie recipes and photos to check out.