This year I celebrated my first Unthanksgiving. Hosted by friends of mine, it follows in the same suit as Thanksgiving and this year it was held about a week after. We had a turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, the best sweet potatoes ever, cranberry sauce and a smorgasbord of desserts. The catch about Unthanksgiving is that instead of going around the table saying something we are thankful for we say something we are not thankful for. It is a great way to vent about the current state of the world or a comical unjust doing like returning from Grandma's with your Dad's underwear instead of your own. While it may sound cynical it produced the most laughs I have even seen at a table of twenty. Hilarity ensued and we were all secretly thankful for many things at this Unthanksgiving table it just wasn't the right time to share. To riff even more on the traditional Thanksgiving, I made an alternative version of pecan pie, the pie my mom always makes. This one however uses hazelnuts, my favorite nut and it is spiked with maple syrup. This one might have to become an Unthanksgiving tradition.
Maple Hazelnut Pie adapted from Bon Appetit
3/4 cup pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package or half of my favorite pie crust)
2 large egg white, lightly beaten to loosen
1 cup hazelnuts, husked, coarsely chopped (about 5 ounces)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Bring maple syrup, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling 1 minute, reducing heat as needed to prevent mixture from boiling over. Remove pan from heat. Add butter; whisk until butter melts. Let cool to lukewarm, whisking occasionally, about 20 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
3. Unroll pie crust. Line 9-inch diameter glass pie dish with crust. Crimp edges decoratively. Brush crust with enough egg white to coat. Scatter hazelnuts over.
4. Whisk eggs and vanilla extract in medium bowl until blended. Whisk cooled maple-sugar mixture into egg mixture. Pour mixture over hazelnuts in crust. (If you have a maple leaf cookie cutter, this would be the time to roll out extra pie crust dough scraps and place the maple leafs on top of the pie.)
5. Bake pie until filling is set and slightly puffed, about 50 minutes. Cool completely.