Ask A Houston Expert: Your Top Thanksgiving Pie Recipe

Ask A Houston Expert: Your Top Thanksgiving Pie Recipe
It’s the holiday season. Here are a few of the pies Houston-area chefs make for the holidays for their restaurants or at home.
 
Chef de Cuisine Ana Amaya
MAX’s Wine Dive
4720 Washington Ave.
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 880-8737
www.maxswinedive.com/houston-washington-ave 

Chef Ana Amaya is in charge of preparing seasonal specialties at the MAX’s Wine Dive location on Washington Avenue. This pumpkin cheesecake is ideal for those who want pumpkin but crave something a little more savory than pie. Technically, cheesecakes are custard pies, which is why this recipe for pumpkin cheesecake is included here. You can also get it at the restaurant during this holiday season.
Ana Amaya’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe for the Home Chef
 
For the center:
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 lbs cream cheese
  • 1 c mascarpone cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 tbsp vanilla paste
  • 1/2 lbs pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 tbsp ground allspice 

For the crust:

  • 2/3 lbs crushed walnuts
  • 1/3 lbs sugar
  • 1/3 egg

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients except for crust together.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix ingredients for crust.
  3. Layer the pie pan with crust filling and then add cheesecake mix.
  4. Bake at 300 degrees F for 2 hours and place pan-holding ingredients inside of another pan filled with water to bake evenly. 

Related: Eula’s Chess Pie Recipe from “Whistling Past the Graveyard”

 
 
Chef Joseph Stayshich
benjy’s Rice Village
2424 Dunstan Road
Houston, TX 77005
(713) 522-7602
www.benjys.com 

At benjy’s (yes, lower case) in Rice Village, Chef Joseph Stayshich has been working for five years, contributing dishes to the menu. His food interests include Southern foodways and the cuisine of southeast Asia. After 17 years in Houston, he still finds things about the town to surprise him, and this recipe for Hypocrite Pie will also surprise your family. It combines the best of apple and buttermilk pies into a single, delicious dessert.

Chef Joseph Stayshich’s Hypocrite Pie

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp butter, divided, at room temperature
  • 3 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 3/4 c sugar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 c buttermilk, room temperature
  • Unbaked crust for a 9-inch, deep-dish, 1-crust pie 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add the apples, 1/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the apples are tender, 4 or 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until creamy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Mix in the vanilla, flour and buttermilk and beat until silky.
  3. Prick the bottom of the piecrust with a fork. Spoon the apples into the crust and spread them around as flat as possible. Pour in the buttermilk mixture, ensuring that it covers all of the apples. Bake in the oven until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-55 minutes.

Related: Crab-Stuffed Roasted Lobster Recipe for the Holidays

Chef Genevieve Guy
Bistro Provence
13616 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77079
(713) 827-8008
www.bistroprovence.us 

Born in France, Genevieve Guy has been working at Bistro Provence since 2001, eventually buying the restaurant from its owners. This apple crisp is a pie inspired by the apple harvest in the Alsace region of France. You can prepare this pie in your own oven, or taste it at Bistro Provence this Thanksgiving.

Genevieve Guy’s Apple Crisp (Pompe aux pommes)
 
For the pie dough:

  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c butter or vegetable shortening
  • 6 tbsp cold water
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten 

For the filling:

  • 2 lbs cooking apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored, sliced
  • 1/2 c brown or superfine sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • Water as needed

Directions:

  1. To make the pie dough, sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time, using a pastry cutter or fork. The mixture should resemble fine bread crumbs. Add the water a little at a time just until the mixture comes together. Wrap and let it chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Lightly butter or spray a 9-inch deep pie plate.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out two thirds of the dough in a circle large enough to line the pie plate. Carefully transfer to the plate, allowing the dough to hang over the sides.
  4. In large mixing bowl, toss the apples with the sugar and cinnamon, then distribute into the pastry shell. The filling can come above the rim. Sprinkle a little water over the mixture if the apples seem especially dry.
  5. Roll out the remaining dough in a circle large enough to cover the apples. Dampen the edges of the dough in the pie plate with the water and position the lid, pressing the edges firmly together. Trim and crimp the edges.
  6. Use the trimming to cut out leaves or other shapes to decorate the top of the pie. Glaze the top of the pie with the beaten egg yolk. Make 1-2 slits in the top of the pie, and put the pie on a cooking sheet.
  7. Bake in the pre-heated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for about 30 minutes or until the pie crust is golden brown. Serve hot or cold.
Chef Rebecca Masson
Fluff Bake Bar
550 Heights Blvd.
Houston, TX 77008
(832) 374-8340
www.fluffbakebar.com 

Since she made the decision to attend culinary school, Rebecca Masson has been wowing people with her luscious pastries. She has worked all over the world and at Houston’s own *17, where she served as the pastry chef. Restaurants around the city have been clamoring for her desserts, and you can find many of them on the menus at places such as Ibiza, Stella Sola, Goode Co., Vic & Anthony’s and Perry’s Steakhouse. Today, you can taste Rebecca Masson’s desserts at her own pastry shop, Fluff Bake Bar.

Rebecca Masson’s Apple Pie

Pie Crust:

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, cold and diced
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp shortening
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cold water 

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Add the butter and shortening and cut the ingredients together until they crumble.
  3. Combine the vinegar and water; add to the mixture, mixing briefly.
  4. If necessary, add just enough cold water for the dough to come together.
  5. Gather into a ball, flatten, wrap in plastic and chill for a least 1 hour.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out fairly thick into a neat circle.
  7. Fit it, without stretching, into a buttered deep 9.5–inch or 10-inch pie pan.
  8. Form a high fluted border.
  9. Chill the pie shell. 

Filling:

  • 8 Granny Smith apples
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 c sugar or more to taste
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Peel, core and quarter the apples.
  2. Slice them into a large mixing bowl, tossing them with the lemon juice to prevent browning.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt.
  4. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples and toss to coat.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Scatter the apple mixture into the chilled crust, mounding it in the center.
  7. Place in the oven; place a sheet of aluminum foil on the rack below to catch any drips.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes.

Topping:

  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 stick + 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2/3 c dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c pecans, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, cut together the flour and butter until it resembles coarse meal.
  2. Mix in the brown sugar, then pecans.
  3. Refrigerate until needed.
  4. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
  5. Scatter the topping over the apples, covering them completely and pressing gently to adhere.
  6. Bake until the topping is nicely browned, 20-25 minutes longer.
  7. Cool the pie on a wire rack and serve at room temperature or slightly warmed.
Crystal Hessong ia a freelance writer and a lifelong, fourth generation Houstonian. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.