Pumpkin Pie, Thanksgiving 2013

Mrs Flannestad sometimes tires of my relentless experimentation in the kitchen.

I seldom make the same dish more than once. I’m always tweaking.

“Can’t we just have the Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon and Pecans that you used to make?”

So, I gave it my best shot, even though I had no pecans (No Pecan Pie? Thank China, Rain, and Pigs, NYTIMES).

The filling is based on 2 Martha Stewart recipes and the crust from the NY Times. Note, the crust recipe makes enough for 2 pies. Save for another occasion or double the filling and topping.

Pumpkin Pie, 2013

Pumpkin Pie, 2013

Pumpkin Pie, Thanksgiving 2013


290 grams all-purpose flour (about 2 1/2 cups), more for rolling out dough
35 grams cornmeal (about 1/4 cup)
35 grams sugar (about 3 tablespoons)
2 grams salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
12 tablespoons butter, unsalted, chilled, and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup Love, I mean LARD, chilled, and cut into small pieces

3 eggs, beaten
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Half & Half
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 15 oz Can Pumpkin
2 Tablespoons Bourbon Whiskey


1/2 Cup Hazelnuts, crushed
1/2 Cup Sugar
Half & Half


1. Make the crust: blend flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and shortening, then pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons ice water and blend until dough forms a ball, adding more ice water, a half-tablespoon at a time (up to 2 additional tablespoons), if dough is dry. Divide dough in half, flatten into two round disks, wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.

2. Whisk filling ingredients together until well combined.

3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out one dough round. Transfer rolled-out dough to a 9-inch pie pan and fill with pumpkin mixture. Reserve second dough disk for another use.

4. Place pie in the middle of oven and cook for 35 minutes. Combine hazelnuts and sugar and add half & half to loosen. Spread on top of center of pie and return to oven. Bake for another 20 minutes or until topping if browned and center of pie nearly firm. Cool on a wire rack and serve with whipped cream.

Hell-fire Bitters

We’ve been getting requests for spicy drinks, so I am starting a new batch of Hellfire Bitters for South at SF Jazz.

I also realized I had only ever written about Hell-Fire Bitters on eGullet.org (in 2005!), never on the blog.

Posted 10 November 2005 – 10:38 AM
The most recent Sunday NY Times Style magazine featured an article on bitters talking with Joe Fee and about Regan’s Orange bitters.

Coincidentally, I’d been reading through Baker’s “Jigger, Beaker, and Glass” and decided I would give making his “Hellfire Bitters” a try.

This is my take on it. So far it smells quite nice. I’m not exactly sure what kind of peppers I used. Some sort of bird chile, I believe. The small, festively colored and very hot ones that are available here in late summer and fall still attached to their little bushes.

Hellfire Bitters a la Charles Baker Jr.

2 Cups Very Hot Chiles
2 Cups Vodka
2 TBSP Molasses
2 Limes (Quartered)
1/2 tsp. Cinchona (Quinine) Bark Powder
8 Allspice Berries, Crushed

It all goes in the blender and then into a sterilized jar to age for a couple weeks, shaking periodically. Squeeze through cheesecloth and bottle.

Anyone else experimented with making their own bitters?


Ah, way back in 2005, when making your own bitters was something a little unusual! So young! So innocent!

Here’s the actual recipe from Charles Baker Jr’s Book, “The Gentleman’s Companion”.

“HELL-FIRE BITTERS or CAYENNE WINE, another Receipt from the Island of Trinidad, in the British West Indies, and Now and Again Used in Gin-and-Bitters, & Other Similar Sharp Drinks instead of routine Bitters by Stout Englishmen with Boiler Plate Gastric Linings

“This is an old, old receipt dating to 1817 in print right here before us–and likely long before that, because the British knew Port of Spain a century and a half before. In fact we have just been diving up coins, cannons, shot, crystal goblets and other miscellaneous relics from HMS WINCHESTER, 60 guns, 933 tons, commanded by one John Soule, and while bound from Jamaica to England, sank in a gale on a certain coral barrier reef, 24th September 1695–and have the loot to prove it–And photographs; and cinema film.

“This Hell-Fire Bitters is an excellent cooking and seasoning sauce for fish, salads, soups and meats, when mixed half and half with strained lime juice and stood for 2 wks in an uncovered bottle, before using–a fact which has been disclosed in Volume I.

“Pound up 2 cups of scarlet round bird peppers, or small chilis or cayenne peppers. Put in a saucepan with 1 cup of tart white wine; simmer up once and turn everything into a pint jar, add 1 cup of cognac brandy and seal jar tight. Let steep for 14 days, strain through several thicknesses of cloth and bottle for use. When used solely for seasoning food, put everything through a fine sieve. These peppers have a vast amount of flavor in their scarlet skin and flesh, entirely aside from the intense heat of their oils. Seeds fro their home growth in ordinary window boxes, flower pots, or rusty tin cans!, may be bought at any half-way seed store. If no fresh peppers are possible simply stir 1/4 oz of ground cayenne pepper into the wine-brandy mix. Claret and brandy, claret alone, sherry and brandy, sherry alone, and brandy alone, are also authentic steeping fluids. Actually it is not a “bitters” at all unless a little chinchona bark is added–and 1/2 drachm or so is plenty, strained out at the last along with the pepper pods.”

And here’s a similar recipe, based on my earlier one. I like to use overproof rum and some spices along with the chiles. It looks like Neyah White started adding coffee to his version of Hellfire Bitters when he was at Nopa, (Mexican Standoff and Hellfire Bitters). Since he borrowed from me, I’ll borrow back from him. I’m leaving out the limes, since citrus wasn’t really a part of the original recipe.


Hellfire Bitters, 2013

1/2 Cup Birdseye Chile (using dried here), stemmed.
4 Facing Heaven Szechuan Chile Peppers, split.
4 Allspice Berries, crushed
5 Whole Cloves
1 Tablespoon Whole Coffee Beans
1 pinch Chinchona Bark.
1 Pint of Wray & Nephew Rum (or other similar overproof rum)

METHOD: Combine ingredients in a jar and allow to sit until flavor is well infused. Strain out solids.

Curious to see how they will work in the Carter Beats the Devil Cocktail.

Apple Ginger Tea Toddy

“Say there Erik, all these non-alcoholic drinks and beverages are awesome, but have you noticed the weather outside? It is F-ing C.O.L.D.”

(Or, well, as cold as it ever gets in San Francisco, which is to say, not very cold.)

“How about a seasonally appropriate drink?”

OK, then, here’s a spiced cider toddy, enlivened with a little smoky Lapsang Souchong tea.

(Sorry for the sloppy pour, you might want to remove the peels before straining into a glass.)

Apple Ginger Tea Toddy
(for two)

1 Cup Apple Juice.
1 Cup Ginger People GingerGizer (An extra spicy Ginger, Lemon, and Honey Beverage.)
1 Whole Star Anise.
1 Cinnamon Stick, plus extra for garnish.
2 Whole Cloves, plus a few extra reserved for garnishes.
3 Whole Green Cardamom Pods, Crushed.
Peel 1/2 Orange (or other citrus, I used tangerine.)
1 Lemon Peel, plus an extra reserved for each garnish.
1 teaspoon Lapsang Souchong Tea (Lapsang Souchong is kind of the Islay Scotch or Mezcal of tea. It is smoke dried over burning pinewood fires, giving it a distinct ‘campfire’ flavor. Like Islay Malt and Mezcal, it tends to provoke a strong positive or negative response among people who try it.)

To create garnish, stud a lemon peel with whole cloves for each serving.
Bring all Apple Juice, GingerGizer, and spices to a simmer on stove or in the microwave. Turn off heat and add Tea. Cover and brew for 4 minutes. Strain into a warmed glasses and garnish with clove studded lemon peels and cinnamon sticks.

You could add booze, but with the heat from the ginger and astringency from the tea, you might be happy with this virgin Toddy without any booze at all.