Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving: Make Pies Your Centerpiece!

I came across an inspiration on Pinterest in my quest to share ideas with you to prepare for Thanksgiving.  The article is “Last Minute Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas” and immediately a light bulb went off!  Why do the pies always get put on a side table or the counter when they are the best part of the meal?  Flowers, gourds and pumpkins are nice and the Pilgrims did them justice but, this is 2017, let’s put a twist on it!  Use your pies, some clippings from the yard and create a beautiful, eye-catching, conversation piece.  I guarantee your guests have never seen dessert as the centerpiece.

For this challenge, I enlisted the help of Sweet Lucy’s Pies.  Lindsey, the owner, has been my go-to pie gal for a while now.  Her recipes are delicious and inventive using the freshest ingredients she can source and her crust is buttery and flaky.  Hands down, she makes the best peach fried pies you will ever eat in your life!  You’ve probably seen her at the Clearfork Farmer’s Market with her spunky adorable daughter.

The stars in this parade are:  Salted Honey Pie, Pumpkin Meringue, and Cranberry Buttermilk.

Once I got the pies home, I went shopping around my house and yard pulling together the parts of my tablescape — Mother’s green glassware and her Friendly Village dishes, vintage thermos containers you could fill with iced tea, napkins, silverware, glassware from the cabinet,  pumpkin plates I picked up at Target in the $1 section last season, Thanksgiving poppers from Williams-Sonoma, and a vintage tablecloth I turned on the diagonal.

Anatomy of a Tablescape

Once I got the table set, I put three cake pedestals down the center of the table and placed a pie on top of each one.  Then my favorite part — clipping pretty things from the garden like holly, fig leaves and mums.  On either end I put three fig leaves under each pie and filled in with mums and for the center pie, I surrounded the pie with holly clippings.

Look how beautiful Lindsey’s pies are!  By keeping the tablescape simple, your pies can shine!

For each place setting I went old-school and tucked the linen napkins inside the water goblets.  I remember when I was little and my parents took me out to dinner, I always thought it was so fancy to sit down and have the waiter pull the napkin out of the glass and place it on my lap!

Don’t be afraid to layer different dishes.  I mixed in pumpkin plates and little bowls that say “Give Thanks” and used two completely different styles and colors of glassware.

What is the takeaway from this tablescape?  The only investment was the cost of the pies.  Everything else I used was from my own collection of vintage and modern serving pieces and clippings from my own yard.  The best part, the centerpiece is edible! The clippings can be enjoyed for a while and them composted.  I think it’s perfect.

If you are interested in placing orders for Sweet Lucy’s Pies, be sure to check her out on Facebook and Instagram.   She is very responsive with messages.  These are her pie offerings for Thanksgiving…

If you want more inspiring tips from my Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving, check out this post here.

 

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Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving: Breakfast Recipes

Since we eat later in the day on Thanksgiving, I like to prepare a breakfast we can enjoy while finishing up the last minute cooking and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on television.  Today I am sharing four tasty, Twist-Lab tested recipes that are wonderful!

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Cranberry Christmas Cake

The taste-testers in the Twist Laboratory love this recipe for Cranberry Christmas Cake which you can find here on my Pinterest board.

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It’s starts with a 12 oz bag of these ruby jewels.  During the fall and winter season I stock up on fresh cranberries because they freeze really well.  Tip:  If you freeze them don’t wash them first or they will get soggy.  Just keep the bag intact and tuck inside a ziplock bag and throw into the freezer.   You can add a handful of cranberries to your muffin recipes and throw a palm full into your oatmeal while it cooks on the stove.

Cranberry Christmas Cake

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour *
12 oz fresh cranberries

* Gluten Free Substitution:
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5-7 minutes. The mixture should almost double in size. The eggs work as your leavening agent in this recipe, so do not skip this step. This mixture should form a ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Add the butter and vanilla; mix two more minutes. Stir in the flour until just combined. Add the cranberries and stir to mix throughout.

Spread in a buttered 9×13 pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. (I baked mine for 43 minutes.) Let cool completely before cutting.

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It wasn’t even cooled when the Twist Lab assistants converged onto the cake.  They both ate two slices and said this was a winner!  And, for a twist, I made a smidge of powdered sugar and cream icing and drizzled a little on a slice.

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This cake is a MUST for your holidays.  I could easily see this cake divided into two 8×8 square disposable pans, tied with ribbon — perfect as homemade gifts!

The next recipe I just tried when Sister Bee was here for a visit is this recipe for Egg, Potato and Sausage Skillet from Six Sisters’ Stuff.

It was easy and delicious and a nice change from the traditional breakfast casserole.  What I liked about it is you put everything into the skillet and let it cook while you finish up the rest of breakfast.  It makes alot, too.  There were six of us and we had a few servings left over.

You can’t go wrong with the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for cinnamon rolls.  I found this recipe several years ago and make them all the time.  Even if you have never made cinnamon rolls, you can duplicate this recipe with ease and be so proud of yourself! And, as you can see, it makes about 6 pans of rolls you can freeze for company or as gifts.

Pioneer Cinnamon Rolls

And last this retro dish that I just love — Hot Curried Fruit.  I mean what says retro more than pears and maraschino cherries!  This is a recipe similar to one Mother used to make for her famous brunches.  Look at the bubbly, buttery brown sugar sauce!

Hot Curried Fruit

Recipe:

1 29-oz can cling peaches

1 15-oz can pineapple slices (I used chunks)

1 29-oz can pear halves

5 maraschino cherries without stems, halved

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup light brown sugar

4 tsp. curry powder (I only used 3 tsp.)

Preheat oven to 350.  Drain fruit.  Pat individual pieces of fruit, with paper towels, until thoroughly dry.  Arrange fruit in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Melt butter.  Add brown sugar and curry.  Spoon over fruit and bake 25 minutes.

This can be made a day ahead, refrigerated and then baked.  It serves 10-12.

If you missed previous posts in my “Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving” click here for Part One and here for Part Two.  I’ve got more to share so be sure to sign up for my newsletter on the right-hand side of my webpage.  My posts will be delivered right to you email in box each morning!