Turkey may be the headliner at the Thanksgiving table, but what I give thanks for is pie. Whether it’s pumpkin, pecan or apple, baking pies is a Thanksgiving tradition worth continuing.
Thankfully, refrigerated pastry crusts have made baking anything with a crust easy. However, that hasn't always been the case. Making pie crust from scratch is an art that few home bakers ever mastered, leaving countless home tables pie-less. Until the miracle of pre-packaged fresh refrigerated rolled-out and ready-to-use pastry dough, home bakers struggled with pre-mixed pie sticks or frozen pastry shells.
While refrigerated piecrust/pastry remains a modern marvel, it still needs a little special handling to ensure success. First, bring the crust to room temperature. Let the refrigerated crust pouch stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or microwave at 30-percent power (defrost) for 20 to 40 seconds. My personal recommendation: I pass up the microwave on this since with the difference in wattage you can risk overheating the pastry. Carefully unroll the crust in an ungreased 9-inch pie pan (glass recommended). Press crust firmly against sides and bottom. That’s it. All you have to do now is decide on the filling and whether or not you want a one-crust or two-crust pie.
There are a few extra tips pie bakers should know, such as how to bake blind – that’s baking an empty shell. Simply bake at 450°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool before filling. Some bakers will weight the pastry down using another pie plate as it bakes to prevent it from bubbling during baking. Others use pie weights or dry beans - the effect is the same.
Refrigerated pie crust freezes for up to two months if placed in freezer before the “use by” date printed on package. That’s good news if you want to stock up for future baking during the holiday sales.
This Thanksgiving, think out-of-the-pie pan. Use pie crust to top pot pies or to encase fillings to create savory or sweets treats as Pumpkin Ravioli with salted caramel whipped cream, this year’s Pillsbury Bake-off winning recipe.
With the holiday clock ticking, it's time to start baking. Try one of the following recipes, courtesy of Pillsbury. For more recipes using refrigerated crust or pastry dough sheets check out www.pillsbury.com/pie and browse the holiday recipe file. Pick one and add it to this year's holiday menu. After all, baking with refrigerated pie crust is as easy as... well, you know.
Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 3-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 /2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
- 2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons caramel syrup
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
Heat oven to 375°F. Brush 2 large cookie sheets with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Add egg yolk, vanilla, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the flour and pumpkin pie spice; beat on low speed until blended. Reserve 4 teaspoons of the pecans; set aside. Stir remaining pecans into pumpkin mixture.
Lightly sprinkle work surface with 1 tablespoon of the flour. Unroll 1 can of dough on floured surface with 1 short side facing you. Press dough into 14x12-inch rectangle. With paring knife, lightly score the dough in half horizontally. Lightly score bottom half of dough into 12 squares (3x2 1/4-inch each). Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the pumpkin filling onto center of each square. Gently lift and position unscored half of dough over filling. Starting at the top folded edge, press handle of wooden spoon firmly between mounds and along edges of pumpkin filling to seal. Using toothpick, poke small hole in top of each ravioli. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut between each ravioli; place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon flour, dough sheet and filling. Brush ravioli with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake 9 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat whipping cream and salt with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the caramel syrup until stiff peaks form. Transfer to serving bowl; cover and refrigerate. Remove ravioli from oven. Sprinkle ravioli with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar; turn. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. To serve, place 2 ravioli on each of 12 dessert plates. Drizzle each serving with scant teaspoon of the caramel syrup; sprinkle with reserved chopped pecans. With spoon, swirl remaining 1 tablespoon caramel syrup into bowl of whipped cream. Serve warm ravioli with whipped cream.
Pear Walnut Crumble Pie
- 1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, soften as directed on box
- 5 cups slices peeled pears
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- dash of salt
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon round ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place pie crust in a 9-inch glass baking pan. In a large bowl toss pears with remaining filling ingredients. Add an extra tablespoon of flour if pears are juicy. Spoon into pie crust.
In a medium bowl mix 1/2 cup of flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Cut in butter, using a pastry blender or fork until mixture is crumbly. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle over pears. Cover crust edge with foil to prevent over browning. Bake 35–40 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Can be served warm or cool. Makes 8 servings.
Cranberry- Apple Pie
- 12 large apples, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- 1 package Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1/4 cup coarse white sparkling sugar
In large bowl, toss apples with granulated sugar and flour. In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add apple mixture; cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender. Stir in cranberries; remove from heat and cool completely.
Heat oven to 400°F. Make pie crusts as directed on box for Two-Crust Pie using 9-inch glass pie plate. Spoon filling into crust-lined plate, mounding filling in center. Brush crust edges with egg. Unroll second pie crust on lightly floured surface. Cut crust into 1-inch-wide strips. Arrange strips in lattice design over filling. Trim and seal edges. Brush crust lightly with egg; sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Place pie on cookie sheet on lower oven rack. Bake 30 minutes. Cover crust edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning; bake 15 minutes longer. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving.
Turkey Pot Pie Pockets
- 1 8-count roll, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
- 1/2 can cream of mushroom soup ( Progresso brand preferred)
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 cup diced cooked turkey
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix together the turkey, vegetables and soup. Unroll crescent roll and separate into four rectangles. Press the seam together in the center of the rectangle.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place 2 tablespoons of turkey filling on each dough rectangle, and fold dough over to cover the filling. Seal each pocket with a fork pressing down to pinch the edges together. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 8 servings.