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!