As a starry-eyed newlywed, I was determined to feed my new husband like a king. So I set out to make his favorite dessert well enough that if it didn't remind him of his grandmother's, at least he would prefer it to the store-bought varieties. One of my happiest memories of those early days of our marriage is when he told me, after my very first try, that I was the only person who'd ever made a pumpkin pie that reminded him of Nan's. Woo hoo! Nailed it! I was a pumpkin pie aficionado, a pumpkin pie whisperer; I had been put on the same level as Nan, the Pumpkin Pie Boss herself. And it had been done completely out of love, because I don't even like pumpkin pie myself. I would eat almost any other dessert (besides carrot cake or anything that has pineapple in it--yuck and double yuck) before I'd eat it. This is one of the few things my husband and I haven't been able to see eye-to-eye on; but after 33 years of marriage we have found a way to deal with it: I make the pumpkin pie, he eats it. And everybody's happy.
Just when I was getting cocky about my vaunted pie-making skills, however, I hit a snag one year. My husband cut his usual 1/4 pie-sized slice and buried it in whipped cream, and after the first bite he said, "Something's different. This doesn't taste like your usual." It turned out I'd forgotten a very important ingredient, the ingredient that makes pumpkin pie a dessert rather than a vegetable side dish: THE SUGAR!
Needless to say, that was the least Nan-like pumpkin pie I ever made. I felt so terrible, like I'd ruined Thanksgiving. But my husband, being the hero and the trooper that he is, said, "No, it'll be fine. I'll just sprinkle sugar on the top of each piece." And you've got to hand it to him, he gave that a try. But you know what this experience taught us? Sugar baked in a pie gives it a whole different flavor than sugar poured on an unsweetened pie. Lesson learned. The day after that fiasco (the big black mark on my pie-making reputation), I ran out to get the ingredients to make a replacement. And I never made that mistake again, I can tell you that.
Well, the first pumpkin pie has already been made in preparation for tomorrow's feast, while the second one is in the oven as I write this. And I know they both have sugar in them (so, SWEET!--as the kids say). For the next few days, my husband will be in hog heaven (as in: pie for breakfast, pie for lunch dessert, pie for dinner dessert!). He doesn't even have to share, because my boys are more like their mama: cake/cookies/brownies/chocolate candy bars/ice cream before pie, ALWAYS. So that means those pies are all for him--and he's my main reason for being thankful, on Thanksgiving and every other day of the year, so nothing could make me happier.
Ain't she a beauty? My husband is on a trip and gets home tomorrow, so I texted him a picture of the first pie when it came out of the oven, and I thought I'd share this cute comment he sent back.
Yes on the sugar, no on the cracks: I think we have a winner!
Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! I'll see you in a few days. (Don't forget the giveaway!)