Cook Your Comics: Thanksgiving Spectacular, Part 3

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Previously, in Cook Your Comics Thanksgiving Spectacular, Part 1: Recipes for Green Bean Casserole, Glazed Carrots, and Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole. And in Part 2: Corn Casserole, Cornbread Dressing, and Fresh Cranberry Sauce.

And now: pie. You’re gonna hear from those Justice Society guys if you don’t have pie.

But what about the turkey? Hang in there. I’ve saved it for last. You should start prepping the turkey the night before Thanksgiving. (Or earlier if you have a frozen turkey. You have to start thawing it in the fridge on Monday or Tuesday at the latest.) But you should make the pies a day or two ahead of time. They take some time in the oven, and even if you have a double oven, you don’t have that kind of time on Thanksgiving Day if you’re also baking a turkey and all these other dishes. And it’s best if you let the pie sit for a while.

A word about pie crusts: I’m not great at them, and it takes me forever and makes a huge mess when I try to make one of my mediocre crusts. Therefore, I use frozen pie crusts which always work well and taste just fine. Frozen crust technology has come a long way. In fact, many of them can be gently popped out of the aluminum pie plate they come in and slipped into a regular pie plate so you can pretend you made it yourself. If you want to make your own, try this method. (Editor and pie crust maker’s note: you will also want to plan on making the pie crust at least one day prior to making the pie filling.)

And a warning: When you put one a pie in the oven, set it on a baking sheet first. If it decides to make a hot sugar volcano inside your oven, it’s easier to clean off the baking sheet than the bottom of your oven.

Classic Pecan Pie

First, classic pecan pie. (Only acceptable pronunciation of “pecan”: peh-CAHN.) The pecan tree is the official state tree of Texas, and I think most Thanksgiving dinners here feature pecan pie. It’s also a staple dessert found at barbecue restaurants. The main ingredient — besides pecans — is corn syrup. Karo Syrup is the best-known brand, and this is the classic recipe right off the bottle. It comes in both light and dark varieties. You can use either type for this pie, but the dark syrup gives it a richer flavor.

Fun fact: light Karo syrup mixed with red food coloring makes great movie blood, but it’s incredibly sticky because it’s all sugar. The blood all over Bruce Campbell in The Evil Dead? Red-dyed Karo syrup.

Ingredients

1 cup corn syrup (light or dark)
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups pecans
1 9-inch unbaked or frozen deep-dish pie crust

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. When the oven reaches the right temperature, spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the corn syrup, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Mix them together well, then add the melted butter and stir until it’s cool. You don’t want any scrambled eggs in your pie, and you don’t want your pie filling to be grainy, so make sure the sugar dissolves well in the rest of the liquid.
  4. Now you can either stir in the pecans and pour the filling into the pie shell or pour the corn syrup mixture into the pie shell and gently float the pecans on top. Mixing them in makes your pie more solid after baking, and it’s a lot faster and easier. Arranging the pecans on top takes some time and is kind of fussy, but it looks pretty. You have to sort through the pecans to find the unbroken ones. It does increase the chance that the inside will be runnier, but I like the layers.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 60 to 70 minutes — maybe longer! You don’t want the pie to seem wiggly when you get it out. You may want to cover the edges of the crust with foil or a pie shield to prevent it from burning. Once the pie is ready, let it cool for at least two hours before serving. A day or two is even better.
Pecan Pie

I thought it was worth the time it took to arrange the pecans. Do it for a special occasion like Thanksgiving.

Pecan Pie Cross-Section

Here’s a cross-section of the final product. You can see it’s a little bit runny. It seemed done when I pulled it out, and it tasted great. It proved impossible to get a photogenic slice of pie out though.

Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie

Here’s a variation on the same theme, only a little bit sweeter and richer. And boozier.

Ingredients

1 cup white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup salted butter
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (mini-chips are good — they melt well and quickly)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 9-inch unbaked or frozen deep-dish pie crust

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 325F.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup (go with the light type on this one – dark syrup is too rich with the chocolate and bourbon in the mix), and butter. Cook over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolves. As in the recipe above, let it cool a bit so we avoid the scrambled egg factor.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, bourbon, vanilla, and salt. Enjoy the bourbon-vanilla scent as you mix it all up.
  4. Slowly pour the sugar mixture into the egg mixture, stirring the whole time. Once it’s all combined, stir in the chocolate chips and let them melt. Then stir in the pecans. Pour it all into the pie shell.
  5. Bake for about 60 minutes or until set. As mentioned above, you may want to use a pie shield or foil to protect the crust from burning. This pie can be served room temperature or chilled.
Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie

The top will likely caramelize a bit so it’s almost candied. Look how shiny!

These pies are even more loaded with sugar than fruit pies and are much sweeter than pumpkin pie. If you’re feeding one of the Flashes, and he needs 10,000 calories per meal to keep up with his metabolism, these are ideal. For the rest of us, I’d try starting with a small slice and pair it with a glass of milk. Then take a nap.

Next time: the grand turkey finale.
Series Navigation<< Cook Your Comics: Thanksgiving Spectacular, Part 1Cook Your Comics: Thanksgiving Spectacular, Part 4 >>
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About Author

Annie Bulloch writes about comics and pop culture from the perspective of a retailer and longtime fan. She co-owns 8th Dimension Comics & Games in Houston, Texas, where she is Director of Marketing and frequently hosts store events, including a regular Ladies' Night. She loves comics, cooking, and pop culture. Find her on Twitter and Tumblr: @texasannie

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