Friday, October 16, 2009

Pumpkin Pie!

This is the first recipe I've made from my recently reviewed copy of Earth to Table, by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann. I knew this was something I had to make as soon as I laid eyes on the recipe - adore pumpkin pie, and sometimes you need to branch out from the same old recipe you've been using for a decade, right? Right! The fact that this is no-bake is a bonus.

First of all, let me tell you about the pastry. You all know I'm always on the lookout for great pastry recipes, right, because I've had pastry-making issues in the past? I was actually not going to bother making the pastry recipe from Earth to Table because I like this one so much, but I decided to give it a whirl after I read through the instructions. In them, the author advises to use a grater to grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients. This means you don't need to touch the pastry as much with your hands - making a flakier pastry and much less of a mess. This was such a brilliant idea! And it worked fantastically. I can honestly say that this is the nicest pastry I've ever made: it was perfectly flaky, light and airy, and tasted excellent. It was a bit on the salty side, however, but that is easily remedied. I added a bit more sugar to it since it was going with a sweet pie.

Pâte Brisée for 9" single crust pie, page 306 of Earth to Table, very slightly adapted by me

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
2 tbsp - 1/4 (approx.) cold water

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Grate butter directly into dry ingredients. Stir. Add water, a tbsp at a time, kneading dough slightly until it comes together. Turn onto floured work surface. Shape into a disk and chill until needed.

In this case, you need a blind baked pie crust, so I rolled out the pastry dough immediately and lined my pie plate with it and stuck it in the freezer until it was cold. Then I pressed foil onto the surface of the shell and added my pie weights (I use rice), and blind baked the crust at 350F for 15 minutes the pie weights in it, removed the pie weights, then baked the crust an additional 20 minutes until it was light golden. I set it aside to cool.

The pumpkin pie recipe in the book is called "Mile High Pumpkin Pie." It uses a meringue made with maple syrup on the top, which is then broiled to get a nice toasted effect. I didn't do this because it required a cup of maple syrup, and because that particular ingredient is expensive for me and I didn't want to part with a cup of it for one dessert, I topped the pie with whipped cream instead. This was just dandy. The filling recipe is amazing, though! For it, I used pumpkin that I roasted last year and froze. That pumpkin was a little pale, so this filling doesn't have the dark orange colour that a typical pumpkin pie might have.

Pumpkin Filling (page 212, Earth to Table)

1/4 cup cold water
1 packet powdered unflavoured gelatin
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 cups roasted pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine cold water with gelatin and let it sit (bloom) for at least 10 minutes.

Cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add whipping cream until incorporated, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add pumpkin, salt, and spices; beat until smooth. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, cook gelatin mixture over low heat, stirring until gelatin dissolves completely - about 1 minute. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix until well combined.

Pour filling into prepared shell. Chill at least an hour before serving.

This was a huge hit! The filling was so light it was almost mousse-like, and it wasn't too sweet. The spices were perfect. This will definitely be made again in my kitchen - it was excellent!


Cathy said...

Beautiful beautiful pie! I can only handle pumpkin pie in small doses but this...this could be different! And great timing for the pastry recipe - thx! I want to make a dulce de leche apple pie but didn't have a recipe for pastry that anybody had said was a wow until now!

Anonymous said...

A mousse like pumpkin pie WC ! Sounds DIVINE ! and the pumpkin is roasted ? Oh gosh..and to think I was on the verge of making my pie with canned pumpkin ! : ( ... I am glad you stuck with the whipped cream topping rather than the maple syrup one, perhaps it would've over powered the gorgeous flavor of the filling which was obviously more than sufficient to provide an elegant richness with all those spices combined. I can see why it will be a regular for you... a great post WC. I have one tiny question though, please forgive me if I sound really 'Duh' but what do you mean by a Pie weight'? I have not come across this technique before... or perhaps over looked it as I didn't understand what it meant exactly. Thank you.

Wandering Coyote said...

Thanks Cathy!

Nat: blind baking is baking a pie crust with no filling in it. Here is a wiki article:

The pie weights prevent the pastry on the bottom & sides from puffing outwards. You can use dried beans, or as I do, rice - you just can't cook with them after they've been used as pie weights, though you can use them as pie weights over and over again. Or, you can to go to a kitchen store and buy actual pie weights, which are usually made from ceramic.

In the pie collage, top left, there is a picture of my pie shell with the weights on it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Again, Thank you so much...well then I have 'blind baked' before I just didn't know it was called that ! : ) ... also I just checked out the rice picture... I missed that actually, and totally get it now. I can see how that would help prevent the base from puffing up. Thanks for clarifying it for me WC, I think I would use beans or rice too. live you learn : ) !

Palidor said...

Grating frozen butter always seemed like an unnecessary and messy step, but I guess there's a reason for it! Glad to know it works and created a fantastic pie.

Pierce said...

I learn so much from you......... I didn't know about grating butter and the use of cream cheese seems like a grand idea. I really like pumpkin pie.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Mousse-like and not too sweet - sounds like my kind of pie! Looks great.

Anonymous said...

I make a mean pumpkin pie and love the idea of the maple syrup and topping sounds wonderful. I too have a pastry problem. I swear I'm going to try it one more time this year and "get it right" Can't wait to try your additions to my traditions pie.

Coleen's Recipes said...

Oh this is so weird, I was just looking in a new cook book for something "apple" and found a recipe for butter tarts using Pate Brisee (something I had never even heard of before). I made note of the crust because it looked good. Within 10 minutes, I was online and went to your post...again I read about Pate Brisee...Yikes, I think someone is talking to me!!

Coleen's Recipes said...

What temperature did you bake the crust at?

Wandering Coyote said...

@ Coleen: 350F

Helene said...

This is a thick pumpkin pie that looks heavenly. Must have been so good. Can wait to get my copy of this cookbook.

A Year on the Grill said...

that looks great, more of a mouse, extra tall... will stand out love the topping

Shelly W said...

Looks fantastic, WC! I grated the butter for the crust of the Bakewell Tart I made, and it worked wonderfully. I'll have to try your pie crust recipe. Pie crust is one of those fickle things that can end in disaster, but you've mastered it with this recipe!

Emily Rose said...

the crust looks absolutely perfect! I have heard about grating butter into the flour, but I've never actually tried the technique myself. I'm going to have to give it a whirl now that I see how lovely of a crust you got out of it!

Xiaolu said...

This looks sooo good. I wish I had a slice right now =D.

Donna-FFW said...

Your pumpkin pie looks gorgeous. The crust especially, made perfectly. What a find!


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