Monday, December 6, 2010

How To Bake A Pumpkin...Easy As Pie!

   I have been plunged for many reasons, family and otherwise, into some holiday cooking lately. One of the things that means Holidays to me has always been pumpkin pie. Unfortunately, pumpkin pie was never a big big favorite at our house growing up. My mother has never been very lucky at baking pies. I'm talking frozen pies. Somehow she'd never quite gotten the hang of preheating the oven, and so the pies were usually scorched on top and frozen in the center. Then there was the "three day no cook pie" that sat on the kitchen counter "sweating" and nearly brought out the haz-mat team. A late night, Christmas Eve pie-run, trying to find the only bakery open in Santa Rosa that still has any kind of pie, is not fun.  Since then, we always have a traditional beehive cake on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and any other special occasion. So usually, the day after Thanksgiving, I really start craving pumpkin pie.
   Last night we had company for dinner. The plan was a simple, home cooked supper. I was making roast chicken, baby creamer potatoes in parchment paper with thyme and rosemary, whipped butternut squash with orange zest and cardamom, braised brussels sprouts with some home cured bacon, arugula salad with pomegranate arils and pecans and buttermilk biscuits. For the finale, I decided to take care of my pumpkin pie jones.
   I read somewhere a few days ago, that pie is the new black, or the new whoopie pie, or the new macaron, or some such thing. Either way, pie is back. Not that it ever left my house. So here's a fast and tasty pumpkin pie recipe that I came across on Bon Appetites' Epicurious website.
    The killer thing about this recipe is that I tried something I'd never tried before. I've always made my pie crust by hand. This time I used my food processor. Result. I'm never goin' back.

Pumpkin Pie

Here's what to do:

   Making The Crust:
  In a food processor combine:
   3 cups of flour
   2 Tbs of sugar
   1 and  3/4 tsp of salt
   mix them together.
    Next add in 2 and 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter that's been cut in little 1/2 inch pieces.
  Pulse the food processor a bit at a time so that it all blends, and you have a sort of coarse meal.
 Now add in:
  8 Tbs of ice water
  1 and 1/2 tsps of cider vinegar
  Pulse it until large moist clumps form... if you have to add more water go ahead.  just do it 1 Tbs at a time.
  Dump the dough onto a floured surface, roll it into a ball and divide it in half.
 Wrap each half in clingfilm and tuck it in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.

   The Filling:
In a large bowl mix together:
1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup of sour cream
2 whole eggs
2 tsp of cinnamon
3/4 tsp of ground ginger
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 tsp of allspice
1/8 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp of cloves
  here's where I had fun. I was having coffee with Paula Wolfert the other morning and she was telling me all about her cool new whisks. She said "why don't you try them? You'll love them." She lent them to me for this pie.  I looked them up and they're  called Kuhn Rikon Tornado Whisks.
They rock.
When it's all whipped up, set it aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

 Rollin' The Dough:
 Take one of the discs out of the fridge let it rest a minute or two to soften a bit,  then lay it on a floured surface and roll it out.
Now wrap the dough around your floured rolling pin. When it's wrapped, pick it up and unroll it over the pie pan.
Adjust it in the pan and trim the excess.
Press the dough into the bottom and the sides. Poke it with a fork to make air holes.
Shape the edge of the crust.
Like so.
   Pop the crust into the oven for about 15 minutes or so until it's lightly browned. Check on it every now and then and keep pressing down the bottom and sides as they puff up.
   Take the browned crust out and set it on a cooling rack. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.
  Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake it on the middle rack of the oven for about 1 hour. I always put a bowl of water on the shelf below the pie to try and keep it from cracking.
The pie is done when it's puffed on the sides and firm in the center.
   I served it with spiced whipped cream. What's that? Just 1 cup of  cream with 2 tsp of sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of ground ginger whipped in. Delish.
 Here's a little pie by candlelight.
So there it is, easy as pie can get.


  1. I will save this recipe in my favorites - never knew about the vinegar in the crust, which is intriguing. I can usually "eye" amounts like tsp, tbs, cup, etc, but eleven seconds??? Is that like 5 drops?

    Spiced whipped cream is a lovely thought.

  2. Beautiful! I don't like pumpkin pie but it sure looks good. I really love your whisk.

  3. @janis,
    it was good..and I have to give the whisks back as they were just a lend. She wanted me to try them. I'll probably get one for myself..they feel very different from the metal whisks I have.

  4. You make a perfect crust!! How lucky your dinner guests. I love the whisk too!!

  5. I just had plenty of store-bought pies for the past 2 weeks. But this is making me want to give it a try. Love that fancy whisk!

  6. @cool lassi,
    yeah, isn't it great. When Paula told me about it I thought what makes this whisk so special, then I used it. Great wrist action.

  7. I need to make a pumpkin pie. Never eaten one before.

  8. Love the explanation and steps for the easy and delicious pie, Kathy.

  9. Hi Kathy I agree with Sanjeek I love the steps and the pictures too! You are a very good teacher.. and this pie looks so delicious.. I've always made the the Safeway(Canadian) "Townhouse brand" recipe of canned pumpkin on the label but a caregiver of my daughter's stole it and I can't find it on the will try yours and instead of the usual canned milk and brown sugar will try the condensed milk .. I've seen the condensed milk on several new pumpkin recipes.. Thanks again and I love your blurbs before the sound like a lovely lady ....Dena



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