RECIPE #328, DAY #521
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Classic Pumpkin Pie” from Nathalie Dupree’s Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking*
TIMING: You can draw it out for days or even weeks, but if you kept the process going–with rest time–it would be about 3 hours with 3 more to chill
DIFFICULTY: Not quite sure how “easy as pie” ever became an expression, but pumpkin is one of the easier ones.
TOOLS: Pie plate, throw-away baking sheet, stand mixer, whisk, foil, wax paper, plastic wrap, pie weights, crust protector, etc.
COOK TYPE: Oven, baking
HEALTH: Pie. Vegetable. You win some, you lose some.
EXPERIENCE: Did you know that canned pumpkin is mostly squash? I am told that due to a loophole that may exist because modern people don’t actually like the taste of pumpkin, “pumpkin” as an ingredient can contain up to a certain percent of squash, such as butternut and acorn. Weird fact.
I am also told that the best pumpkin pies are in fact sweet potato. I have not found this to be true, and I could not experiment this year due to family expectations, but perhaps another year I shall see.
This is, as the original title suggests, a classic pumpkin pie. I still manage every time to crack the surface (perhaps by over-baking?), but I honestly don’t care that much. Tastes the same, and you don’t even know it with all that whipped cream on top.
NOTES: I need to improve my crust-decorating skills. Badly.
The measurements here mean that you need more than 1 can pumpkin puree, but only 1 can evaporated milk.
It is critical that you use throw-away baking sheets for baking sugary pies, because if they leak–and even escape around your foil–they will ruin the baking sheets you have. Or worse yet–your oven. You can always reuse them as many times as a you avert disaster.
- In a mixing bowl whisk together 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut in 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening or lard, with a pastry cutter or your fingers. Work until some pieces look like “cornmeal” and others like “corn.”
- Stir in 1 tablespoon ice cold vodka. Using a small bowl of ice water, add water to the dough by the tablespoon until it just holds together in a ball.
- Turn the ball out on the counter and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- On a flat, clean, and floured surface, roll out the disc into a circle large enough to cover your pie plate and create a crust. Move the dough to a pie pan, smooth gently, and create your crust design. Return to the fridge for another 30 minutes. (You can also freeze it, sealed, at this point.)
- Preheat oven to 375F. Puncture the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork several times, then line the crust with foil or wax paper, covering the edges. Fill with pie weights (or designated dry rice or beans) and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove the crust from the oven, then remove the pie weights and foil. Brush the whole crust with a beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water. Bake for another 8 minutes, until dry and browned.
- While the crust cools, reset your oven to 350F.
- In your stand mixer, beat 2 eggs until combined. In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon minced ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon clove. Set aside.
- In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups pumpkin puree and 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk.
- Add the puree to the sugar mixture. Then add both to the eggs. Beat just until combined.
- Place the piecrust on a throw-away baking sheet. Fill the crust with pie filling. (I bake extra pie filling in a ramekin and eat that night, surreptitiously, with my husband.) Cover the crust with foil or a crust protector. Carefully move to the oven.
- Bake for 45 minutes, then begin checking regularly until a paring knife comes out of the center clean, but before the surface has cracked (hopefully).
- Cool the pie to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Serve cold with whipped cream.
Serve with whipped cream and coffee, just as you’re coming out of your Thanksgiving feast-football coma.
*Recipe changed from the original.