Last updated: November 27. 2013 10:51AM - 1373 Views
JOE SYLVESTER jsylvester@timesleader.com

Melissa Allisa of Bakery Delite in Plains Township holds up a pumpkin pie, a favorite Thanksgiving dessert. Other favorites for the holiday dinners are, clockwise from bottom right: apple, blueberry, lemon meringue, coconut cream and strawberry.
Melissa Allisa of Bakery Delite in Plains Township holds up a pumpkin pie, a favorite Thanksgiving dessert. Other favorites for the holiday dinners are, clockwise from bottom right: apple, blueberry, lemon meringue, coconut cream and strawberry.
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Editor’s note: Local bakers were quite protective of their pumpkin-pie recipes, but Pat Greenfield, owner and chef at Grico’s restaurant in Exeter, was willing to part with her apple-pie recipe.



Crust: pate brisee (yields a crispy and light crust)

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached

½ cup plain bleached cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) chilled unsalted butter, quartered and diced

1/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening

½ cup ice water, plus droplets more, if needed

Filling for one 9-inch pie

6-8 apples (mixed variety — McIntosh, Granny Smith, York, Winesap, etc.) peeled and coarsely sliced

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pinch of salt

1 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground mace (optional)

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)

Pinch allspice (optional)

2 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces

A few tablespoons of milk

In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients together, except the butter. Let the mixture sit for 20-30 minutes.


1. As with all baking projects, have all ingredients handy and ready to go.

2. It is important to have the shortening, butter and water very cold. Some pastry chefs go so far as to refrigerate the flour.

3. If you do not have a food processor, this dough easily can be made using a hand-held pastry blender or two knives.

Put the flours and other dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, along with the diced butter, and pulse five or six times to break up the butter. Add the shortening, turn on the machine and pulse two or three times. Remove the mixture to a large bowl, pour in the water and toss the dough with a fork. The mixture should start to come together, but should not mass into one large lump. If the mixture feels too dry, add a few more drops of water and gently toss.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface; press it into a rough mass. Rapidly and roughly, with the heel, not the palm, of your hand, push egg-size clumps of dough out in front of you in 6-inch smears.

Gather the dough and shape it into two circles. Wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. (At this point the dough can be wrapped and frozen for several months.)

When ready to assemble, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out one circle of dough on a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/8 inch thickness. Fold it in half and then in half again and transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan. Unfold the dough to cover the pan, letting the excess hang over the sides. Gently press the dough into the sides of the pan so it fits snugly.

Place the filling into the prepared bottom shell, then dot the top of the filling with the butter pieces. Place the filled pie shell into the refrigerator while you prepare the top crust. Roll out a second circle of dough to about 1/8 inch of thickness. Before placing the top over the pie filling, moisten the edges of the bottom crust with a little water.

Place the pastry over the filling and trim any dough in excess of ½-inch overhang. Press the two layers of dough gently around the edges, fold over the excess dough around the perimeter of the pie, then crimp the two crusts together, using either your fingers or a fork dipped in flour. Brush the top crust lightly with milk and scatter a tablespoon or so of sugar over the top. Cut a steam hole in the top crust by poking a sharp knife through the crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 375 and bake another 20-30 minutes until the apples are tender when pieced with a knife tip.

Fourth in a four-part holiday food series. Happy Thanksgiving! If you’d like to share a favorite Christmas recipe, please contact Joe Sylvester at 570-970-7334 or jsylvester@timesleader.com.

No matter how much you eat at Thanksgiving dinner, chances are you’ll make room for dessert.

Who can blame you, especially when there is so much pie … and maybe cake and cookies?

Pumpkin pie may be the most popular, but who has just pumpkin pie? There’s likely to be a chocolate cream or coconut cream or an apple pie right beside it.

Local favorites such as Bakery Delite in Plains Township have been busy leading up to tomorrow’s feast pouring, stirring, rolling and baking pumpkin pies, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin cookies, cherry and blueberry pies with crumb or crust tops, key lime, coconut, strawberry, chocolate peanut butter cream, pecan, Dutch apple and mincemeat pies.

“We also make a pumpkin custard pie,” Bakery Delite co-owner George Blom said. “It’s a cross between pumpkin and a cooked pudding-type custard. It makes it different topped with whipped cream.”

The bakery tops many of the pumpkin pies with whipped cream.

“A lot of people like that pumpkin chiffon pie,” Blom said. “It’s creamier.”

They’re all good, but the most popular desserts for Thanksgiving still are pumpkin and apple pie, he added.

“Pumpkin and apple are neck and neck,” said Pat Greenfield, owner and chef of Grico’s restaurant in Exeter. “Then pumpkin pulls ahead. It always seems like we run out of pumpkin.”

Bonnie Kowalski of Sanitary Bakery in Nanticoke also finds those two pies dominate most orders.

“It’s mostly pumpkin pie, apple pie,” said Kowalski, whose husband, Ed, co-owns the business with his brother Joe.

But cream pies go out the door, too — coconut cream, banana cream, chocolate cream.

As do poppyseed and nut bread.

Blom said his bakery receives a lot of specialty requests.

“We make pretty much anything,” Blom said. “Banana split pie — it’s with bananas, strawberries, chocolate syrup. Every once in a while, we get a request for that.”

They also receive orders for the holiday for a country orchard pie, with apples, strawberries, peaches, blueberries and raspberries.

“We sell a real lot of chocolate desserts, chocolate fudge cakes, decorated cakes with turkeys on them, all kinds different Thanksgiving cakes and a lot of decorated cookies for the kids,” Blom said.

Truly Scrumptious Cafe and Cake Studio in Kingston makes pumpkin cheesecakes and fall-themed sugar cookies.

“They order them for Thanksgiving dinner,” said Danielle Stankus, assistant to owner and cake artist Cathy Reppert. “We do special-occasion cakes. We also offer fall-themed cakes for the holiday.”

“In past years, we have done kosher Thanksgiving desserts, for our folks in the Jewish community,” Stankus said.

“Basically, we don’t use any dairy products in making the dessert so it doesn’t conflict with their meal. They can’t eat meat and dairy together.”

Temple Israel in Wilkes-Barre approved the kosher desserts, Stankus said.

Those may be more popular for Thanksgiving this year given the holiday coincides with the first day of Hanukkah.

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