Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Tree and Pumpkin Pie in Olive Country

Our living room is the only one in the building decorated with a pumpkin, pine cones, dried berries, and a Thanksgiving tree.  My tree makes me smile and reminds me to count my blessings as I count down the days to my favorite holiday.  We’re far from home. Except for a few scattered American friends, no one else around is celebrating, but I enjoy creating my own traditions. So this week we’ll have our traditional FRIDAY NIGHT Thanksgiving with friends we’ve chosen to call family: Turks, Mexicans, Brazilians, and ONE American!

My favorite tradition is our Thanksgiving tree with its paper leaves.  As guests arrive, we ask them to write down on a leaf what they’re thankful for. After dinner, everyone shares what they wrote, and together we give thanks to God, the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

Here is my recipe for pumpkin pie, one that you can still make even if you’re far away from the land of Libby’s canned pumpkin and Eagle Brand evaporated milk.

Pumpkin Pie (from fresh pumpkin)

No Fail Pie Crust (from

2 ½ cups flour
1 cup margarine
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg
¼ cup cold water
1 TBSP vinegar

Cut the margarine into the flour and salt until it resembles coarse crumbs.   Beat the egg, vinegar and cold water together.  Add the liquid to the flour mixture, stirring lightly with a fork until it just holds together.  Chill the dough, and form into two disks, flouring your hands if necessary to keep them from sticking. I roll this dough out onto a flattened plastic grocery bag sprinkled generously with flour.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

2 cups pureed fresh pumpkin*
1 cup heavy cream (250 ml. krema)
¾ cup white sugar
2 tsp. molasses (pekmez)
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. allspice or nutmeg (I omit this)
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
3 beaten eggs

Mix the ingredients until blended and pour the mixture into a pie shell.   Bake 15 minutes at 425 F, then reduce heat to 350 and bake 50 minutes longer, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

*Cut a pumpkin in half, discarding the seeds and string. Place the two halves face down and cover with foil.  Bake at 375 degrees for 1 1/5 hours.  Scoop out the flesh and puree it in a food processor or with a hand mixer. You can also steam a pumpkin by cutting it into smaller pieces and cooking it in a large covered pot with about one inch of water on the bottom.  Take care not to let all the water evaporate. Cook until the pumpkin chunks are tender.

If you are American, how will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year? Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving tradition?


Nancy said...

We cannot get real pumpkins here, so every year I substitute a local squash. This year someone traveling through brought me Libby's and we are quite excited about having real pumpkin in our pie this year. Back home we always watched the Macy's parade and the football game but we don't have tv here so we'll probably play games and watch videos and attempt to skype family in the states. I like your Thanksgiving Tree idea.

Choate Family said...

We have a thankful turkey, and we ask any guests throughout the month of November to add feathers of thankfulness to the turkey. This year, we get to celebrate a "real" Thanksgiving with family in the States, but our Thanksgivings overseas have been so special and have made us extra grateful!

OliveTree said...

A thankful turkey is a great idea too. I'm glad you get to celebrate in the States this year. That is special.

And Nancy, I hope you enjoy your pumpkin pie!

Janette's Sage/Simply Your Decor said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog...I love your Thanksgiving tree. We put out a scrapbook blank page for all those that enter our house through the season to write down their is great to go back through the years and see God's faithfulness.

Happy Thanksgiving!

us5 said...

i love your idea, Janette! i'm going to do that next year! :)

i'm so excited to get to celebrate with friends back in the US this friend Kay invited us a year ago, knowing we'd be on home leave. ♥ but wherever we are, whoever we're with, i love that day.

wishing you a fabulous Thanksgiving Friday, OliveTree!! ♥

OliveTree said...

That IS a great idea, Janette. I like being able to look back over the years. Maybe I'll try it.

I hope you have a great time celebrating with your friend, Barbara.

Linda said...

I love your Thanksgiving tree idea. I'd like to do that next year. We have so much to be thankful for, and when we share, we bless others. Gratitude can be contagious! :)

So great to keep in touch with you.