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I don’t often celebrate holidays. They always seem a little silly. But Thanksgiving has a deeper meaning for me. Giving thanks is a worthwhile thing to do. It is, in my never-to-be-humble opinion, something healthy and rewarding and something we do too little of.

To focus on what we have instead of what is wrong in the world, even for a little while can do great things in our lives. Unless, of course, like many people, Thanksgiving is turned into another high-stress, guilt-laden obligation to be nice to people you really don’t like, or a competition over who can give the best meal or set the fanciest table. Anger, resentment, and frustration don’t mix well with “giving thanks.”

We celebrate Thanksgiving with others we invite into our lives. I would NEVER, for example invite my relatives. Those I care about are either too far away or dead. Those I don’t like, I don’t include in my life. I’m sure they are glad of it, too. After all, they don’t invite me to their things, either. SMILE.

So, anyway, this year, some of my usual guests could not be here on Thanksgiving due to their family issues. So Sad, but I wish them well. We are having two beautiful souls as guests that we have not known long but have enjoyed. He is a musician who plays the Native American Flute with a magical touch, and his fiance. They are delightful people and I am overjoyed to share our Thanksgiving with them.

As many of you know, I have a neurotic need to cook everything from scratch. Fortunately I have my husband, Allen, and ex-hubby/best friend, David to help. Allen is making pumpkin pies from the pumpkins we grew. He is in charge of the turkey and cleaning most of the house. David is doing the mashed potatoes, and maybe the cranberry sauce. I am roasting broccoli and brussel sprouts with chilis, garlic, and butter. I am also making a pecan pie. Plus, we will be serving the amazing chunky applesauce that David and I made after our run to the apple orchards in Oak Glen, CA.

Good food, good wine, good friends. What more could anyone ask for on this special day. I hope yours is as wonderful as you want it to be.

Here is the recipe for my Pecan Pie. It is out of this world great. Not just a layer of broken pecans on top. This puppy has pecans all the way down. It is sweet, but not overly so. It has a light texture with crunchy pecans and a bit of chewiness. Triple YUM.

Anita’s Pecan Pie  

with Low Sugar Options

Anita’s Deep Dish Pecan PieAdapted from Cook’sCountry Oct/Nov 2009

Ingredients

1  2 crust pie crust (homemade or bought)

1 1/4 cup  maple Syrup , or substitute agave nectar with 1 1/2 tsp Maple extract

1 cup light brown sugar, or substitute Splenda and one tablespoon Barley Malt syrup.

1 tablespoon Molasses or Barley Malt Syrup

3/4 cup heavy cream

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 + pinch teaspoon salt

7 large egg yolks, beaten

2 cups whole pecans, toasted

2 tablespoons rum or whiskey

Method

1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Adjust oven rack to lowest position.

2. Take 3/4 of the pie dough and roll out to fit a deep dish pie pan. Line pie pan, crimp edges. Chill. Roll out extra dough and with a cookie cutter of your choice (I used acorns), cut out shapes. Place on a plate, cover with plastic and chill.

3. Filling: In a saucepan, heat, over medium heat,  maple or agave (with extract) syrup, brown sugar or Splenda/barley malt syrup, cream, and molasses or barley malt syrup. Stir until all ingredients are mixed and any sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.

4. remove from heat and let cool five minutes. Whisk in salt, butter, then egg yolks. Stream egg yolks while beating to avoid cooking them. Cool another 10 minutes.

5. Pour pecans into chilled pie shell. Carefully pour filling over pecans. Decorate the top of the pie with the cut outs.

6. Place pie on a cookie sheet. Put into the oven on the lowest rack. IMMEDIATELY reduce oven to 325° F.

7. Bake until pie is set and center jiggles slightly when shaken, about 45 to 60 minutes.

8. Cool pie on rack for 1 hour then in refrigerator until set, about 3 hours or overnight.  Bring to room temperature before cutting.

Source: Anita Burns (adapted from Cook’s Country Oct/Nov 2009

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