Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Things I love: Scents of Autumn

Fall has to be the most fragrant of all the seasons. The mere mention of the word calls to mind the scents of newly squeezed apple cider, or hot apple or pumpkin pies fresh out of the oven. This time of year finds me in the kitchen more than any other room in the house...well, when I'm not hanging out with the kiddies or crafting, of course.

Today I want to share with some of my favorite things: The Scents of Fall.

I was surfing around Martha's site ( http://www.marthastewart.com/ ) looking for some easy Thanksgiving recipes, as this delicious holiday is almost upon us...aka...next week...eeekkkk!!

I found this wonderfully easy pumpkin pie recipe that looks absolutely yummy! The best part is it's made with a press in crust. I'll be the first to tell you...my pie crust...they are...well, let's just say it...they are horrible!! Often to dry, cracking and not very flavorful. I'm really a really bad pie maker, but pie is a part of the holiday tradition, right??

I'm usually the first one lined up at the Kroger bakery section trying to look nonchalant, as I stuff box after box of premade pies into my cart. This year I really wanted to do the make it yourself thing, but out of extremely love for my family, I wanted to make something that they would be able to keep down :)

This looks super simple and it's going to be the one I use this year. For those of you who are like me, pie making illiterate...it's ok...stand up..you can admit it. I'll start...Hello, my name is Eva and I can't make a pie. I feel better already.

On to the recipe:

Easy Pumpkin Pie with Shortbread Crust

Crust Recipe
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Stir together butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in yolk. Add flour and salt, and stir until mixture is dry and crumbly. Press dough into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Freeze until firm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake, rotating halfway through, just until crust turns golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in dish on a wire rack. Make filling.

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together pumpkin, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and eggs in a large bowl. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, rotating halfway through, until filling is just set and slightly puffed but still a bit wobbly, 65 to 70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 6 hours. (Pie can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.) Serve chilled, topped with whipped cream if desired.

Easy right?

Here's another easy way to celebrate the scents of the season, potpourri. I have two different kinds for you to ponder and play with.

First, simmering potpourri. I love to throw some of this on first thing in the morning and let it slowly drift through the house though out the day. I'll share my personal recipe with you (not like it's a big secret or anything. I got it right of the net...hehehe).

Take a large pot and fill it with apple cider. Cut up one whole orange and one whole apple, thick slices of each. 2 slices of lemon, 4 cinnamon sticks, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 cup of cloves, 3 cups of lemon verbena leaves, and 1/4 cup of allspice. I also like to drop in a few drops of fragrance oil like apple cinnamon, pumpkin pie, apple pie, etc. I will tell you, if you choice to add fragrance oil, make sure you don't ever use the pot for cooking again. Just simmer on low heat. If the cider dries up or just gets too low add more, or add water.

The next is primitive potpourri or prim fixins' as us prim lovers like to call them. Very simple to make. I get my supplies on the web, ebay to be exact. There are lots of suppliers online or maybe you are lucky enough to have them in a store close to you.

3 cups of rosehips
1 1/2 cups putka pods ( they look like little pumpkins)
1 cup of acorns ( picked them up on the ground going on walks with the kids)
mini pinecones
2 cups of mini cinnamon sticks
1 oz fragrance oi
cinnamon dough ornaments in star, heart and pumpkin shapes (optional and used mini cookie cutters to make these)

Okay, to make the dough ornaments: 1/2 cup cinnamon and 1/2 cup apple sauce (store bought, not the homemade kind. Mix together til forms dough. Roll out with a rolling pin to desired thickness. I sprinkle my rolling pin with some cinnamon. Helps with the pin sticking to the dough, like you do with flour when your making cookies. Just cut out the desired shapes with mini cutters. Allow to air dry 24 hours flipping from side to side occasionally.

To make the potpourri: combine all the ingredients. Mix well. I use a old baby wipes container. Make sure the lid is on good and shake it baby!

Once you got it like you like it, dump some in decorative bowls. I can go in just about any room of the house. I also bag some like in the picture below and stack them in a basket by the door. Come Thanksgiving Day, it makes nice little take home gifts for all who stopped by to feast.

Hope you enjoyed this walk through the scents of autumn. Have a Happy Turkey Day and Happy Crafting!!

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