Thanksgiving Day means different things to different people. Some families have traditions that are very important to them to continue each year. Other people may not have specific plans or may choose to spend the day with a small or large group of friends. For some, it brings excitement and for others it can be a difficult day.
Food, of course, is a big part of the Thanksgiving holiday and we think it’s fascinating to hear how different people celebrate. We thought we’d share with you our families’ plans and a couple of recipes we make for the holiday.
Our North Carolina Thanksgiving
On Thanksgiving, for the last several years, my family of 5 and my mother join my sister’s family at their house that’s a short 45 minute drive away. The focus of the day is for the 5 young cousins to be together and hopefully for the adults to not work too hard.
Each adult typically has a job of making one or two food items for the Thanksgiving meal. My sister makes corn pudding and a green vegetable, like roasted brussel sprouts. My brother-in-law often makes an amazing apple and sausage stuffing and a new and different dessert each year. My mother makes a cranberry orange salad and brings rolls that are often the hit of the grandchildren. My husband makes the turkey and has perfected the process using Alton Brown’s recipe for brining a turkey. (One year, my husband decided to make a beef tenderloin rather than a turkey and we are still hearing about this travesty from the 12 and under crowd.) I make the pumpkin pies.
I wouldn’t say the adults in our family are particularly fans of tradition, but this division of labor seems to work for us. The meal choices were mostly driven by what the individual members think must be present at the Thanksgiving meal. My husband is the one that says there must be pumpkin pie every year.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie
Growing up, my grandmother and mother were the pie makers. They were applauded for making their own crust that I always thought was beautiful, flakey and the best part of the pie.
As an adult, I wanted to learn to make homemade pie crust, as it seemed like an important skill to have in my family and, honestly, I was quite impressed by the accolades they received.
When I was young, my grandmother and mother made pie crust using shortening. In the last 10 years, I have started to make it with butter (which is more traditional) and I use Mark Bittman’s recipe from my favorite cookbook How to Cook Everything. He suggests mixing the butter and flour in the food processor, which makes it amazingly quick and easy.
The pumpkin pie recipe I make was adapted from the Libby’s Pumpkin can label many, many years ago by my grandmother. The pie is more of a pumpkin custard than typical pumpkin pies, with an additional egg added to the recipe.
Ingredients to make Pumpkin Pie
How to make Pumpkin Pie
Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl in the order listed on the recipe.
Mix until combined. Pour into a frozen pie crust (store bought or homemade).
Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° and cook for another 45 minutes or until knife inserted into pie comes out clean. If the crust is getting too brown, you can cover with aluminum foil or pie making ring. Cool on a cooling rack.
I serve the pie with freshly whipped cream (made in my stand mixer) with a little powdered sugar added to it. I always make 2 pies so that there are leftovers. The best part of Thanksgiving for me, is enjoying a piece of pumpkin pie with a cup of coffee for breakfast on the morning after Thanksgiving.
Elizabeth will be posting her family's pumpkin recipe in the next day or so. And later in the week, we'll be posting about essential self-care during this upcoming holiday weekend. Stay tuned.
- 3 eggs slightly beaten
- 1 lb. can Libby's Pumpkin
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ⅔ cup evaporated milk
- 1 9 " unbaked pie shell
- Mix ingredients in order.
- Pour into unbaked pie shell.
- Bake in oven at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and cook for 45 more minutes or until knife inserted into pie comes out clean. If crust is getting too brown, cover crust rim with aluminum pie ring or aluminum foil.