Behold, pie week, also known as the third Wednesday before the feast. Next week, we’ll talk the feast itself, and the day before, when you’re up to your ears in suds and spuds, we’ll have a few ideas for the leftovers.

Pie is as ritualistic as the feast itself. My children would be stunned — and maybe wouldn’t attend — if there wasn’t pumpkin pie. The friend is as fussy about the amount of whipped topping as he is the pie. You’ve probably seen the social media picture with a mountain of whipped topping and an eeny, beeny little shard of pie? That’s him.

So the daughter is taking care of a lot this year, including hosting with her husband, two daughters and three dogs. She is making a pumpkin pie, so I will make another: probably this apple.

If I were taking two, I would take both of these — the best apple pie in the world, or at least in Wyoming, and a new take on pecan pie that incorporates three nuts.

While most of the world takes Wednesday off to scrub and peel potatoes, it’s one of our busiest days at the office, so it’s convenient that we moved our feast this year to Friday, for the night shift workers in our bunch.

That gives me Thursday to bake and get ready to take. And since I’m not hosting, I don’t have to clean! Yay for grown kids.

Sweet & Salted Caramel Nut Pie

1 pie crust for 9-inch pie

4 cups mixed pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts, toasted

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup water

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup heavy cream

Flaked sea salt, for serving

Fit dough into bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate. Trim dough so overhang is even, if necessary. Fold overhang under itself and crimp as desired. Refrigerate until firm, at least 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Press large piece of nonstick foil into dough in pie plate and fill with pie weights. Bake 15 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking until pastry feels sandy and just starts to brown, 5 to 10 minutes more. Transfer to cooling rack; place nuts in crust. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Place sugar, water and corn syrup in heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Without stirring, cook on medium high until bubbles begin to form at edges, about 1 minute; swirl pan. Bring to a simmer, then increase heat to high and boil, swirling pan occasionally until mixture is a rich caramel color, 6 to 10 minutes. Immediately remove from heat, add butter and salt and swirl pan to melt.

Return pan to medium, add cream (it will bubble up) and whisk until smooth, slightly thickened and a deep amber color, about 1 minute. Pour caramel over nuts; transfer pie to oven. Bake until gently bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

(Recipe courtesy “Good Housekeeping,” November 2017)

Caramel-Pecan Apple Pie

7 cups sliced peeled tart apples

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons sugar

4-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

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1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping, room temperature

1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Streusel Topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup sugar

6 tablespoons cold butter

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping, room temperature

In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and vanilla. Combine the pecans, sugars, cinnamon and cornstarch; add to apple mixture and toss to coat. Pour caramel topping over bottom of pastry shell; top with apple mixture (shell will be full). Drizzle with butter.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, pecans and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is browned. Immediately drizzle with caramel topping. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 8 servings.

(Recipe courtesy of “2008 Annual Recipes,” Taste of Home)

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS


Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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