Pumpkin Pie

Sigh. I love fall, I really do. It's my absolute favorite time of the year. For me, it's September that feels like the start of a brand-new year, not January. Leaves may be drifting off of trees, but that first chill after a hot summer is something of an awakening. I pull out my sweaters from storage with glee and I go crazy at the sight of pumpkin pie at the grocery store.

A slice of pumpkin pie is the equivalent of Proust's madeleine for me–it reminds me of Thanksgiving with my family, though I can't seem to recall any one Thanksgiving specifically. It's as though all of my memories have coagulated into a creamy-smooth pumpkin custard. One taste contains many years' worth of gatherings. Oh, I can just hear the loud chattering now... And the shrieks of laughter from all of the little kids running around!

Instead of whipped cream, I prefer putting a dollop of whipped sour cream onto my pumpkin pie. Yes, you read that right–sour cream. I find that whipped cream makes it too sweet and I like pumpkin pie precisely because it's not too sweet. A latte with a sprinkle of cinnamon goes nicely with it, or you could do with a hot ginger or chai tea. 

 

 

The Secrets of Pie Crust from Brown Betty Dessert Boutique

A slice of sweet potato pie and a glass of red wine #singlegirldinner

Baking is not my forte. Twelve years ago, I tried my hand at baking a loaf of Irish soda bread and it turned out like a brick. I haven't made another attempt since. But, tonight, I had a second encounter with baking, thanks to my friend Deanne, who invited me to join her at Soho House for a baking demo with Linda and Norrinda, the mother-daughter duo behind Brown Betty Dessert Boutique. We learned how to make an Apple Brown Betty, oatmeal cookies, and buttermilk & lemon pound cake cupcakes.

Linda was happy to share her tips with us, and, after three glasses of red wine, I managed to remember a few on making a pie crust:

1. In addition to butter, Linda adds vegetable shortening and Philadelphia cream cheese for an extra buttery and flaky crust.

2. When baking the crust, cover the crust with parchment paper and pour three cups of dry beans on top to weigh it down and prevent it from shrinking. Alternatively, you can use a fancy pie weight.

3. Take notes while you're baking, and, if it turns out well, do everything exactly the same way next time!

Prosecco and Jamaican Curry Chicken Patties

Here's a prime example of a Paper Bag Princess moment: 

1. My friend Carolyn invited me to join her at the opening of Antica Pesa in Brooklyn, a new restaurant arrival from Rome, where its known for attracting jet-setters and local glitterati. As expected, the prosecco was flowing, but, due to the size of the crowd, the hors d'oeurvres? Not so much. We did manage to nab a few refined bites of Italian cuisine, but left still a bit hungry.

2. I came back to the city and met Ashley at Miss Lily's Bake Shop, where I had a Jamaican curry chicken patty ($4) and split an order of plantains ($3). She even treated me to a little something afterwards. #singlegirldinner