Love. That is my word for the holiday season this year. Really love is the foundation of the holiday season every year, but it can so easily be swept aside in the melee of shopping, party planning, wrapping, cooking, and cleaning. Not this year though. This year…it is just love. November was not only the arrival of my first married Thanksgiving with my husband, but also the arrival of my little brother’s wedding to his beautiful bride. They were married on a mountaintop in North Carolina on November 28th on the clearest fall day you can possibly imagine. Thanksgiving was a bit different this year since wedding preparations were at their peak, but we were all the more thankful while we were resting and enjoying each other before our mountain adventure began. I found time to bake and photograph, but these images are late in reaching you due to our joyful little Carolina get away. Oh, and I must say, this recipe is just as sweet as Sam and Austin’s wedding.
I wanted something unique. I know that sounds cliche and over-done, but this was my first holiday season actually living in Tennessee. This meant I could actually contribute to the delicious dessert buffet we would be putting together at every family function from October through December 31, and I wanted to choose something that would be new and exciting and homey and comforting. After extensive searching, I came across this little piece of the South on Courtney’s blog Pizzazzerie. It was exactly what I was looking for. Something genuine and old and story-filled. Something that had come from generations back and had been gracing thanksgiving tables in the south, without being recreated over and over. Simple and delicious and warm. Thank you Courtney for gifting my family with your family’s tradition. It is overwhelmingly a keeper.
I love to bake in the early morning. It is quiet and dark and peaceful. I also love taking pictures at this beautiful – the golden – hour. I baked this pie in my cast iron skillet rather than in a pie plate because I wanted this pie to appear just as old fashioned and rustic and homegrown as it tastes. I collected leaves from the trees outside my kitchen window, and then escaped inside to the warmth of my garage, shielded from the morning chill. My lovely husband has created a studio for me there with the most beautifully placed window and with all of my lighting equipment, props, and kitchen supplies at arms length. I can even hear the wind rushing through the tall grass behind our little country house from this serene spot. I wanted these images to be just as warm and peaceful as I feel this fall, so the warm sunlight easing through my window made for a wonderful shoot. Eating pie with Adam after I wrapped everything up was pretty warm and happy too. Love is in the air. And in the food.
Old Fashioned Brown Sugar Pie
Adapted from Courtney at Pizzazzerie
1 Pie Crust – I use this recipe for all of my pies
1/2 lb Light Brown Sugar
1/2 lb Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter – melted
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Make pie crust (be sure to start this at least 2 hours in advance if making the homemade pie crust I linked to in this recipe. It’s worth it but it must be started early so it can chill!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs until smooth. Add remaining ingredients – light and dark brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. Whisk until fully combined and silky smooth.
Prepare pie dough, and place into pie pan or cast iron skillet – a pie pan will allow you to crimp the edges and a cast iron pan will give you a more rustic/undone look. Pour filling into pie crust and bake for 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Check on the pie starting at 30 minutes, and cover with aluminum foil or a pie shield when crust reaches desired golden brown doneness. The pie should be gooey and slightly wet inside, but should not wobble like liquid. It will firm up as it cools. The surface of this pie does crack when moved and cut into, simply because it is composed of a fragile, yet delicious toasted sugar top. Allow to cool completely to finish setting before serving at room temperature. Enjoy!