Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pumpkin Pie: Updated for 2011!

I've been making pumpkin pie for several years now. It's been a pain sometimes, but I've learned how to make it easier over the years- and I am embarrassed that I once said canned was just as good- I'm NOT going back to Libby's.

So, here is the new and IMPROVED 2011 pumpkin pie recipe!

This time I decided to try a local Long Island heirloom pumpkin variety, known as the cheese pumpkin. The name is not a comment on flavor, but on the shape and color- which resembles a wheel of cheese. (Sure, if you squint.) So we'll see how it turns out!

To make the Pumpkin Puree:

Step 1: Cut it- Cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Cut into several (4-6) large chunks. Use a fork to punch some holes in the skin. Lightly oil and place on a baking sheet, flesh up or to the side.

Step 2: Cook the Crap out of it. I roasted it at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. You want to be able to peel off the skin and easily scrape out the flesh with a spoon. Make sure it is nice and soft before you pull it out. I know it is possible to steam it, too, but I have never tried. And I think roasting adds a little flavor.

Step 3: Peel out the goo. Sexy.

Step 4: Puree with blender. I use a magic wand, but the goal of a smoother, silkier texture can be achieved with a regular blender. (HIGHLY recommend the wand, such a major time saver!!)

Step 5: Let sit in a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl for about 30 minutes to drain off any water.

Step 6: Make the pie

1 1/2 cups pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter (softened)
5-6 tablespoons ice water

Combine flour & salt with a whisk. Add in butter and combine with a fork until crumbly. Drizzle water and shape into a ball. Refrigerate in Saran wrap for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (My oven runs HOT. Some folks do this @ 425)

2 eggs (no clue why I ever used 4 in the past- way too many!!) Whisked
2 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

(Tip: If it's dried out, moisten your hands and hold for a minute and it will soften up! Or for a larger quantity, moisten a cutting board and let the dried out pieces sit on top for a few minutes!!)

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove or allspice (Or 2 1/2 tsps of pumpkin spice)
1/2 tsp salt
Splash of Vanilla

Mix the ingredients together with a hand blender or beater. Line pie shell with dough. Make sure to use any extra dough around the edges- for this particular pie, they tend to burn more easily. I taste the batter at this point, and adjust seasonings if need be. Pour batter into the pie shell.

Bake for 45-55 minutes @400 until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle.

If you still have some extra crust, which I usually do, go ahead and make some 'crust cookies'- mine are usually heart shaped- and throw them in the oven to get golden and crispy for the last 20-30 minutes the pie bakes. Then serve the pieces with fresh whipped cream and a crust cookie. Yeah. That's where it's at.

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