My friend Amy wrote, “Ah, December 26, my favorite holiday of the year.” It made me chuckle, but also confirmed a truth about what many of us feel after the holidays: a sense of relief and a return to normalcy.
The day after Christmas 2016 would also be marked by my first Boxing Day party, which I somehow always get mixed up with Guy Fawkes Day celebrations. (One is about the box, and one is about the boom. Forgive my ignorance dear British friends.) When I received the invitation, I did my best tilted-head, raised-eyebrow, and unknowing-puppy look. What the heck is boxing day? Oh sure I’d heard of it before, but the only thing that came to mine was some Dickens carolers in the ring dispensing fisticuffs. Or perhaps a cadre of UPS drivers tossing down a few while boxing up after-Christmas returns and scanning barcodes with wild abandon. Hmm, not even close Tom, better ask the magic answer machine, Google.
For the most part, boxing day is a British Commonwealth tradition that centers around boxing up gifts or alms, and distributing them to friends, tradespeople, or the needy the day after Christmas (or so that is just part of the history behind the holiday). In the case of my Vashon Island Boxing Day party, the hosts suggested invitees box up holiday leftovers from cookies to Courvoisier (my suggestion) and share the wealth with fellow partygoers. Not a bad idea; no muss, no fuss, just rid the fridge of its holiday payload. And for me, the Christmas cargo was leftover pie dough, from the pies that were never to be made. (Oh the humanity.)
As I opened the fridge, a fresh round of leftover pie dough stared me down. I was “pied out” for the time being and didn’t want to make a pie, as that was not the spirit of the invitation. Instead, I thought I’ll make little pastry wafers or cookies out of the leftover dough, maybe top each with jam and/or cinnamon sugar. And so I did.
Step One: Simply roll out the dough and use a favorite cookie cutter to cut shapes from the dough.
Another fun thing to do is to bake the remaining dough as a sheet of cutouts. Here I outlined the border with an upside down tart pan.
Then, I turned over the tart pan to trim away dough so it would fit on the tart pan bottom for baking, like a cookie sheet of sorts.
Sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar over the sheet and bake. I recommend putting parchment paper under the dough sheet for easy cleanup. (Live and learn.)
Step Two: Back to the cookie cutouts, place on a cookie sheet and add a dab of your favorite jam or marmalade (“orange caviar” used here) or sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
The cookies fluff up nicely and are crisp, delectable and not overly sweet.
The orange marmalade dollops add a little somethin’ somethin’ to the equation.
Let them cool and then “box” them up for an unexpected treat.
Then again, if you have time and inclination, you could always bake a pie. (Shown: Shaker Lemon Tart)
I’m happy to report the crusty hearts were a hit and quickly dispatched by guests. And may I say, I quite like this boxing day party idea. It surely helps that party goers were a fun, relaxed group enjoying their own return to normalcy, but not without bingeing on Stollen, Buche de Noel, mince tartlets, Christmas cookies (of all shapes, sizes, ilks and skill levels), salmon dip, cheese boards, meatballs, curious vegan salads, fudge, Chex mix, and the list goes on. Needless to say, Vashon Island likes to eat and our leftovers ain’t too shabby. As for the boxing day drink table, while there was no Courvoisier, God Bless the soul who brought the St Germain. Happy New Year, Friends!
…and all of Christmas’s twelve days are good for easing the letdown of the Big Day itself being over! Your piestries (I just made it up) look wonderful. (Incidentally, my birthday is on Guy Fawkes Day, and at first I thought that was really lame, until I realized that it meant that somewhere, every year, there were fireworks on that night, a tradition I am firmly committed to bringing to this country.) Here’s to a mirthful and prosperous New Year, from me and my company to you and yours. *clink*
Thanks Anne, I think that is a tradition we could easily incorporate here! Piestries, I love it!
Happy New Year to Tom and Buddy,
From V and The Furry Gang
Thanks V and The Furry Gang, I’ll pass that along to Buddy once he wakes up from his nap on the heating vent.
Can’t help myself–proofreader to the very end. Might want to check line 3, paragraph 3. Appears auto-correct showed its evil side again. Not suggesting a re-send, just a tiny brush up for net-posterity. Happy New Year. Your posts are definitely a Joy To The World! (again, couldn’t help myself. Old writers never die.)
Thanks Karen, appreciate your eagle eye and kind words, but I think I need help here. I’m not seeing it.
I’m not Karen, but if she doesn’t get back to you, I believe it’s this:
‘are so that is just part’ —should be— ‘or so that is just part’
But not to worry….I, too, am rather anal about language, and I missed it, as well!
Also, just thought I’d share…..when my grandmother made a pie (any time of year) she always used to bake the leftover pie crust pieces into “pie crust cookies” for the grandkids. No jam, though—just cinnamon sugar. We loved them and begged her to make extra pie dough so there’d be more cookies! I carried this tradition on to my own children, who are now 32 and 36, but they still love pie crust cookies!
A wonderful 2017 to you and Buddy!
Thanks Nancy, jeez, the brain must be the first thing to go, eh? 😉 I love that recollection of you mother’s pie crust cookies. I’m with you, I use a dough recipe where the proportions always leave me with extra, too. Well wishes and thanks for the second set of eyes!
I used to do the same, but would smear butter on first, before the cinnamon and sugar.
I love the idea of just leaving the cut-out dough and smearing it with the butter, cinnamon, and sugar. It saves the re-rolling and re-rolling and re-rolling!
Happy New Year to ALL!!!
Ah, was just guided to my mistake. 😉
Happy new year to you, Tom
Hi Darcy, Happy New Year to you and Jonathan, may you be tucked away someplace warm with the blizzards outside.
Happy New Year Tom. I always enjoy your posts. May your 2017 be filled with Joy, Love, and Peace.
Thank you Patty, and to you, too!
My mom always made these – with cinnamon and sugar – with leftover holiday pie dough. Thanks again for a wonderful post…and elicited memories.
What’s your “go-to” pie crust recipe?
Hi Kim, I use a recipe I borrow from my friend Kate McDermott, who by the way just published a book called The Art of the Pie. I like it because it’s basic, relatively easy and tender to boot — a good tried and true crust to love. I substitute shortening for lard most times as many of my friends are vegetarians. I do use lard when all carnivores are present. 😉 I also find I get better crisping results in a metal pie pan or metal tart pan. Here’s her recipe http://artofthepie.com/1/. cheers! TC and the Buddy
I used lard as well, as my mom did, until my stepson married a wonderful Muslim girl, now I use shortening. I do go with the Cooks’s Kitchen vodka pie crust, because the alcohol bakes off (which is the point) and it’s very flaky, tender and consistent.
Kim I’ll have to give the recipe a try. I have another one I want to try to, a cream cheese pie crust found in one of my pastry bibles.
Hi, Tom and Buddy. I always look forward to Boxing Day because it means turkey sandwiches and turkey soup – the best parts of the bird We have a tradition of sharing this day with our friends from Ottawa, and we lunch on the above as well as home-made tourtiere. The first two items are from the British tradition, and the last is a Quebecois tradition. So, living now in Montreal, I combine the best of all possible worlds! Very warmest wishes to you and Buddy for a great year ahead. Part of the joy of 2017 for all your followers is looking forward to your wonderful posts, which bring us all down to the importance of real values, to the peace of the countryside, to the joy of good friends and good cooking, and the magic of our loving and beloved pets.
Thank you Sandra, I’m all warm and fuzzy on this cold morning just from your glowing words. Thank you again and Happy New Year to you! And now off to learn more about this tourtiere of which you speak…ummmm meat pie, oh yeah! http://www.pbs.org/food/kitchen-vignettes/classic-french-canadian-tourtiere/
A cookie dough piecrust is also delicious. My grandmother always made that type of crust.
Tom and Buddy, I wish you a very happy 2017. Thanks for all the enjoyment you have brought in crafting such a classy blog, but when you’re a classy guy and a classy bulldog, what else can you do? You always make Vashon Island sound like a dream of a place to live.
Stephanie, my posture is a little straighter after reading your kind comments. I’ll take “classy” any day, merci! I’m so glad you like my blog. I’ve been doing it since 2008, and while I first thought it would be this online juggernaut (make that jugger-not) sensation, I found as time progressed that’s not what I wanted nor what fed or encouraged me. And besides, it’s not what happened. I like telling stories, I like sharing experiences that others may enjoy. I want to hopefully convey gratitude for a world that is enriched by natural beauty, art, good food, family, friends, sense of self, four-legged compadres, kindness, and the hope to be a better person and find and share happiness. With each post I write, I’m reminded of the good people out there, the friends I’ve never met or the shared warmth of human connection whether online or with a face-to-face smile. Happy New Year, Stephanie, and my didn’t I go on. 😉
I wanted to add to the cookie-dough pie crust, that it was a sugar cookie recipe that my grandmother made.
I, too, am a grammar nut (being a 3rd grade teacher for years) but I would NEVER point out a mistake to the most inspirational and comedic writer that I have the fortune to read. Keep the blogs and (missed) mistakes coming. I’d rather read a blog with a few mistakes from you than no blog at all. You never dissapoint. Error intended!
Thanks Karen, most kind of you to say so. What’s funny (or not really) is as I get older (big flag) I find I could read “house” when the word is “hose” or leave the “r” off “you” for the possessive. Little things that escape me from time to time. So I welcome anyone saving me from myself, though I do ask they be gentle. 😉 Well wishes my friend, Tom
Happy New Year Tom and Buddy!! I thank you for sharing all the great things that are you!!
Just love and enjoy your blog. Here is to a wonderful 2017!! 🙂
Hi Roberta, thanks for dropping me a line and offering such well wishes on this first day of the new year. Happy New Year to you, too!
Your Boxing Day extravaganza is much better than our actual Boxing Day which has morphed into more of a Canadian Black Friday Get-A-Good-Deal-At-The-Mall-Day now.
Your party was not only an excuse for an easy to prep for social gathering of Island Folk, but it emptied the larders of all those treats that would sit for days… even weeks within nibbling reach. Nobody needs that!
I think your hosts’ idea may just translate well north of the 49th, too! You know. Old dogs, new tricks.
BTW. Really like your new TC Farm logo. Well done!
Thank you Mike, got a good chuckle with that first line. And thanks for the thumbs-up on the logo. My artist friend Brent designed it for me. He owns Hinge Gallery on Vashon.
Happy belated New Years wishes to you and Buddy. Hope it was a good one.
Love the phrase “curious vegan salads”. I think I’ve made a few of these myself over the years….
Once I made a sign for a vegan salad I made (not my bailiwick) for a potluck I was attending. The sign read, “Looks bad, tastes good…no, really”
PS Tom you might try a combination of butter and coconut oil for the pastry. Really flaky -perhaps because the fats melt at different temps.
Sandra, I’m eager to try this combo, thanks for the tip as I’m not too excited about using a hydrogenated fat like Crisco and I’ve been wanting to test out alternative fats. That would be a good post. How different fat combo affect pie crusts, maybe a side by side bake-off, taste-test.