Let me start off by letting you guys know that I'm not a big Thanksgiving celebrator. Before this year, I hadn't had a Thanksgiving dinner (well, not a REAL one anyway. Last couple of years, we had tacos) for about 6 or 7 years. I didn't mind, really. I missed my father's Thanksgiving cooking (he makes the best stuffing and gravy!) but that was about it.
This year, however, my grandmother is back in town. She moved back here around March and unfortunately had some health problems (which are now resolved, thank G-d) and as November approached, it seemed to be taken for granted that we would have to provide her with a Thanksgiving feast. Okay. No biggie! It's just an excuse for me to try my hand at pie baking. And that's what I did.
My original plan was two pumpkin pies with a homemade crust. But come Thanksgiving day and I got...well, a little carried away. It turned into one pumpkin pie, one apple pie, and a large pumpkin cake.
You see, I was reminded the week before that my parents' anniversary is two days before Thanksgiving. Great! A chance for me to use that new cake-decorating kit I just bought! (By "cake-decorating kit" what I mean is, "An icing bag with 5 tips.")
All around, people loved all of the desserts, but it was definitely excessive. And as it turns out, cake-decorating is not as easy as I thought it would be. Apparently the word "anniversary" is really long in the context of a cake-top (Cake Wrecks, here I come!). I also may have made my cream cheese frosting too runny (snot comes to mind?) and my buttercream decorating icing too thick (really hard to squeeze it through the tube). Had I combined them, the decorating might have been more successful.
Of course my parents still appreciated the sentiment and thought the cake itself was delicious. That's what Thanksgiving is all about, right?
Anyway, here are the recipes:
The pumpkin pie recipe was just straight from Couldn't Be Parve. I used her simple recipe (taken right from the Libby's can) for the filling (replacing the soy-milk powder and water with plain ol' vanilla soy milk) and her crust recipe. I also used that crust recipe for the apple pie.
The apple pie was even simpler than the pumpkin pie. I used canned filling. I know. Dreadful, right? Two cans of apple pie filling. I also used (how shameful) a frozen pie crust for the bottom of the pie. I DID however use a homemade crust for the top.
Finally, the pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. This was a recipe I got from Gourmet Kosher Cooking. I made the cake according to the recipe, but decided against making the icing recipe they give. Here's why: the first time I made it, it was heavenly. The second time I made it, it was runny with lumps of margarine. I was completely determined to avoid the margarine lumps this time, so I left it out entirely. I made the icing with cream cheese, powdered sugar and a little vanilla. The result wasn't great, as I mentioned earlier. It was tasty, but very runny, no matter how much sugar I added. (This is an issue I've had with cream cheese frosting in general). I've come to the conclusion that this cake is better left unfrosted. Call me crazy, but I think I prefer it that way.