Holiday baking

And now, for something entirely frivolous.

For more than 20 years we went to our children’s godfathers’ home for Thanksgiving, and for more than 30 years to Christmas Eve with them. In the last 10 years, we have lost both of them, and the traditional get-togethers are greatly missed.

Still, we carry on. The entry above is actually not holiday baking, but a quiche I made a while back. (I don’t want to hear any garbage like “real men don’t eat quiche.” When I was practicing law, I used to respond to such taunts with “yeah, and real men get sued for bad faith because they don’t know when to quit.”)

I’ve been working on pie dough lately, experimenting with lard instead of shortening, and have done enough pie crusts to get a feel again for how to prepare and roll out pie dough. Here are a couple of rolled-out pie crusts:

But what is a crust without a filling? You’ve seen the quiche (shown in a pan that slips off; here I think I had it resting on some canned pumpkin, appropriate for the season.) Here are some pumpkin pies that Kathy and I did for Thanksgiving with our families (Kathy gets major credit for doing the filling; I just helped with the crusts):

When I was a senior in college, I had returned from a summer in Washington, D.C. where I lived with a bunch of other guys. None of us knew how to cook. When I got home, I asked my mom to teach me the rudiments of cooking. Ever the intelligent woman that she was, she taught me the basics, made me prepare most of the family meals for that year, and signed me up for several bread-making courses. Here’s on of my yearly contributions to the holidays (and, for that matter, any dinner party): rolls taken from a long-since out-of-print book published by Sunset Magazine.

Here’s the total batch:

Recently Kathy has convinced me to make the rolls a bit smaller. There’s enough yeast that they rise admirably, but not so much that they start to look like fungus-samples. However they look, the always taste great. Still the best roll recipe I know after all these years.

Stay tuned for Christmas trifles!

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