Monday, November 12, 2012

My Debut

Apparently Southern California doesn't have seasons. I was informed of this by a rather pretentious East Coast dweller who I was in section with in college. And actually I can kind of attest to his statement because I visited this guy

when he was going to school in Steubenville, Ohio many harvest moons ago. We always have such a terrible time together, I'm sure you can tell. We're siblings you see, we're not supposed to like each other.

So if I juxtapose my memories of the truly incredible colors Ohio whipped up that October just for my arrival with the relatively feeble attempt at a crunchy carpet of foliage So Cal has produced thus far, I have to concede that East wins West. But that doesn't mean we don't have seasons at all. Harsh.

I'll tell you why that's not true. Friday, I felt it. Autumn. It takes a little longer here. But there truly is a feeling I associate with the change of season, does anyone else get it? It was colder - a balmy 60° or so, which is California for 34° - the wind was up, and the crackly leaves that had been gracious enough to fall were doing swirlies around the streets. That's why Friday night was it... time to bust out the tradition.

I Cindy-Lou-Who'd Sean off to a boys night out of billiards and beer.

And Jordan was dreaming her semi-congested dreams as she hadn't fully recovered from Wednesday and Thursday. So I was alone. With the Tenenbaums. Ooo but minus my usual roaring fire that serves to warm my person and my heart cockles, but it just couldn't be helped this year.

Now to the good stuff. This is my Official Recipe Post Debut! I told you my Tenenbaum tradish included pumpkin pie but I thought I'd spice things up this year in the literal sense of the word. I scoured the internet over for an idea that had popped into my head, which I was sure someone else must have thought of and done all of the footwork for. Pumpkin Chai Pie. or Chai Pumpkin Pie. You can play around with the title. Have some fun with it. 

Sure enough, this was not an original thought on my part, and I found a simply mouthwatering recipe here. I made a couple of my own improvements, which is to say, I erred on the side of lazy. This woman wanted me to roast a pumpkin then scoop and puree the flesh. But Libby has done this for me already! Pumpkin Chai Lady also includes a recipe for her own homemade crust but this one I've used a bunch is infinitely simpler and amply delicious....or you could be current me and, um, buy Pillsbury pie crust. Imma do me.

Whoa-kay, you will need:

Please take a moment to carefully consider this meticulously thought out photo. I scrubbed the counters and brought out my wheat stalks and rearranged the ingredients like seven times. It should be noted that you will really need ground cinnamon, but cinnamon sticks are photographed because they are more aesthetically pleasing. And the egg...I don't know. I really want to fit in.

You will not need my retro mushroom canisters which only after I bought and acquired them from Etsy did I consider: these were actually crafted in the 70' the mushrooms represent some double meaning? Too late. Anyway:
  • 1 1/3 cups pumpkin
  • 1 1/3 cups sweetened condensed milk*
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (but I was wicked and did 1 1/2 because CINNAMON, mmm)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (which I had not so I subbed in allspice. Google said I could.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup brewed chai tea (I used two Tazo tea bags for one cup boiling water - extra chai flavor please)
  • 1 - 9-inch pie crust (your choice here but Pillsbury is the easy way out)
*dingdangit! I forgot to get sweetened condensed milk. But you know what? Google's got a cure for that too. And it's lactose free.

1. Pre-bake pie crust according to the instructions of whichever option you're using from above. Since I used Pillsbury I initially baked at 450° for 15 minutes, but I was reading the wrong instructions and kinda burnt the crap out of it

Since I had no imminent plans for the backup crust that Pillsbury wisely and benevolently bestows, I went for take 2 and baked at 450° for 10 minutes. That's more like it.

2. Adjust oven temp to 375°.

3. In a large bowl whisk together all ingredients.


4. Bake for 55-65 minutes. (I'm diplomatic so I did 60.) The center will move slightly.

5. Let cool. This instruction could've tagged along on step #4 but I wanted to emphasize it. Because if you have a slice while it's still warm - I'm not saying I did, like I'm some four year old who can't wait - but if you do, it will simply taste like pumpkin pie. Good pumpkin pie, but no spicy chai effect. If you have some after it's cooled - I'm not saying I had a second piece like a fatty - but if you do, there is a discernible and desirable chai effect. Your husband might even have half of a pie before noon on Saturday. Pie: it's what's for breakfast.

I guess it should be noted here that I did not make my debut in a very socially acceptable AKA health conscious manner. Although it doesn't list it anywhere, each chai-pie slice probably weighs in at like 5,000 very delectable calories. You can assuage your guilt by capping your pie off with non-fat whipped topping that you've mixed with a pinch of cinnamon. Cinnamon has lots of health benefits. There.


  1. I love this post!! You did such an original spin on a recipe post! First of all, I seriously L-O-V-E that picture of you and lukie-duke. You are both so cute, and you look gorgeous. Secondly, that pie was AMAZING. So glad I got to try it in person. Counting down the days until I get to see you and baby child again :)


  2. ps. Hilarious rendition of having Sean leave. You only forgot to include the obligatory wine pouring and, for me, the turning on of sex and the city reruns.

  3. I'm glad you liked, Sean & I were huuuge piggies and the pie was gone on Saturday... But Jordan had a hand in that too, she kept signing "more" over & over.

    Wine!! Knew I forgot something. That should actually just be on the ingredient list

  4. I love your pie pan (as weird as that sounds)! (:

    1. Thanks! It was a wedding gift but they still have it at Williams-Sonoma if you're interested :)

  5. My husband also believes that pie (or any dessert, for that matter) is an acceptable breakfast food. Why cake can supposedly be eaten on an empty stomach after 10 hours without food but cannot be consumed after 4.5 hours I have yet to discern. It's a strange and wonderful thing this "dessert for meals" business...

    Also, my mouth is watering. This looks too good. Too, too good!