President Trump: Thank God There’s Pie

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Chocolate Pecan Coconut Pie

It’s Thanksgiving and I have to wonder – for the first time ever – can you carve turkey without a knife? Could cranberries be weaponized? Do basters ever get shoved where the sun don’t shine? You don’t need a crystal ball to see that this holiday is going to be contentious for some families. Sure, there’s always been that drunk uncle (usually me) who pushes the political envelope a little too loudly. But this year a lot of tables are going to be elbow to elbow in “drunk uncle” bravado and there’s plenty of topical fuel to exacerbate the sparring. Especially if you find yourself a blue sheep in a mostly red flock (or vice versa). Thank God there’s pie.

Food fights are, of course, the opposite of what Thanksgiving is supposed to represent. One solution is to announce early in the celebration that any mention of politics at the table risks a pie to the face. That’s certainly a humorous way to make an important point. But I have to wonder, does swallowing your principles lead to indigestion? Still, how much talking turkey is too much talk from turkeys?

It’s not going to be an issue at my table. My social circle is well-honed and that’s just fine with me this year. Thanksgiving should be a time to gather together friends and family and express our gratitude. Which is hard to do if you spend most of the meal enraged or courageously trying to avoid unpleasant topics. As unappetizing as confrontation is, sometimes the loudest noise in the room is all the stuff that remains undigested.

Thank God There’s Pie

Still, I can imagine how things might go in some households and it worries me. President Trump has already divided this country in ways I never imagined possible in the hope-filled Obama years. I hate to think he could ruin Thanksgiving as well. But I can hear it all in my head (if not at my table). One side of the argument usually starts with “I’m not racist, but…”. The other side of it ends in self-righteous finger-pointing. Neither action is very productive because the minute you start saying things like “Shame on our country” or “It’s about time” you’re immediately placing more importance on your opinion than on those of your friends or family. You’re also making assumptions; the sad state of our nation clearly shows Americans are not unanimous – even on Thanksgiving.

Which is a very hard thing to be thankful for. Thank God there’s pie. GREG

Thank God there's Pie Chocolate Pecan Coconut Pie

Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan Pie

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 8Source Adapted from Country LivingPublished

Though the directions don’t indicate this I often heat a pizza stone in the oven when making pies whose shell aren’t blind baked. It makes for a crisper bottom crust. This is optional.

Chocolate Pecan Coconut Pie

Ingredients

  • all-purpose four (as needed for rolling)
  • ½ basic pie pastry (see recipe)
  • 2 cup pecans
  • 3 ounce bitter sweet chcholate (roughly chopped)
  • ½ cup unsweetend coconut flakes
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 large eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter (melted)
  • ¼ kilogram kosher salt

Directions

On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out a disc of chilled dough to a 12-inch round, a generous 1/8-inch thick. Carefully fold dough in half, and slide it onto the rolling pin. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Unfold the dough, easing it gently into the pie pan; do not stretch the dough. Fold the overhang under creating a double thick rim. Crimp the edge decoratively with your fingers or a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the pastry-lined pie pan from the refrigerator. Scatter pecans and chocolate chunks over the bottom of the pie shell then sprinkle coconut evenly across the top; place on a baking sheet. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, corn syrup, eggs, butter, and salt; pour the mixture into the pie shell. Bake until filling is set, 55 to 60 minutes (tent with foil if coconut or pastry becomes too dark). Cool, on a rack, at least 4 hours before slicing.

Basic Pie Pastry

Print This Recipe Total time Yield Two 8- to 10-inch pie crusts or one 8- to 10-inch double-crust pie shellSource Savory Pies by Greg HenryPublished

High-fat European-style butter is essential to a perfect pie crust. Which, along with chilling, helps keep the dough flaky and minimizes shrinking. Many people swear that the addition of ¼ teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice makes for a guaranteed flaky crust. I’m on the fence but you can add these if you want to.

Basic Pie Pastry

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cup all-purpose flou (or 312 grams, scooped & leveled, plus more as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 9 ounce very cold high-fat, European-style unsalted butter (cut into ½-inch dice)
  • 2 ice cubes
  • ¼ cup ice cold water (plus 2 tablespoons optional)

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment pulse flour and salt 5 or 6 times until well combined. If there are additions such as spices, herbs, cheese, vinegar or lemon juice add these now (see specific recipes).

Add butter, and continue pulsing until the mixture is crumbly and coarse, with various-sized but obvious chunks of butter scattered throughout.

Place two ice cubes, broken up if necessary into the feed tube of the food processor. With machine running, pour ¼ cup cold water through the ice filled feed tube a tablespoon at a time until dough just comes together and begins to pull cleanly away from the sides of the bowl in jagged clumps. Don’t let the machine run too long and don’t worry if you don’t use all the water. Overworked dough and/or too much water are the main culprits in pastry that is tough or dense. However, in warm weather or dry climates you may need up to an additional 2 tablespoons more cold water. You’ll learn to know when it’s the right balance of wet and dry.

Move the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and gently knead 2 or 3 times. If the dough seems quite sticky or at all wet, sprinkle in another few teaspoons flour. Give dough another couple of quick, gentle kneads. Divide dough in half. Shape into two discs about 5-inches round and 3/4-inch thick, or as indicated in individual recipes. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days) to distribute moisture evenly, or freeze up to 1 month.