A long time ago I lived in Denver, Colorado. Trying to impress my hosts, I offered to make a pumpkin pie. I am not sure if I had ever even tasted a pumpkin pie back then...and that is how the story begins. Determined to make it from scratch, I searched for a recipe that used fresh pumpkin –but couldn’t find a thing – only canned... there was no internet then, at least not known to me. And so I thought about it logically ... it had to be the soft part of the pumpkin- right? ...and so I scooped out the SOFT insides – you know the stringy slimy stuff with the seeds. It didn’t look too attractive but it only made sense...and then I carefully picked out the seeds – the stringy mass was left and I scooped it up and laid it softly in the pie shell. Thrilled with my pumpkin pie, I eagerly followed the rest of the recipe as written and proudly brought the pie to my first American Thanksgiving dinner.
After a beautiful dinner, my pie was served. Hmmm ...Maybe I should have chopped up the stringy bit ...The entire insides were strung together and I watched as the group enjoyed this strange pie. It really wasn’t that easy to eat...the pumpkin strings were hanging from their mouths. ....but oh well...everyone SAID they loved it and I didn’t know what it was really supposed to look like. They didn’t say a word to me except that it was delicious. I was so proud!
Years later, friends asked me to help them make a pumpkin pie...from scratch. I started scooping out the middle to use as the filling and they looked at me strangely. I asked why they were looking at me like that and they explained that we had to cut up the pumpkin...and then I gasped! Memories of that dinner rushed back at me...I am so embarrassed...then I laughed!
Anyhow back to this pumpkin pie – I used canned pumpkin puree! Yes I cheated! But if you want to use a fresh pumpkin, get a pie pumpkin because it is sweeter. You can steam or bake the pumpkin and guess what...it becomes soft...Puree this and continue with the recipe.
This recipe is adapted from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky.
I brought this pumpkin pie over to Myfanwy’s (Meredith’s Mom) on Thanksgiving (The Canadian one) She made a delicious dinner, and even though we were all quite full, I think everyone enjoyed the pie. It is creamy and spicy and yummy especially with whipped cream on top! Jacob looked at it a little suspiciously, but I baked him some fun sugar cookies!
As for the pastry that I used , this one is great for everything from Savory to sweet – from pies to turnovers- a good basic dough and easy to work with. I had a difficult time learning how to make a crust, the texture of the dough etc. My son Elliot knows how determined I was back then. I wasted a LOT of dough because I just could not get it right. My mom, Sadie, was a great baker but unfortunately she just didn’t do pies, so I never really watched anyone making them. Now I must say my pie crusts are pretty good! I sometimes find myself admiring my beautiful marbled dough, one where the shortening and/ or butter is not fully incorporated and there are little specks of butter throughout...perfection!
Recipe for a Single crust pastry for one 10 inch pie
It is very IMPORTANT for the ingredients to be cold! I used a food processor to make this dough but you can use a pastry cutter, 2 knives or your fingertips!
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into ½ inch pieces and frozen for 15 minutes
1/3 cup shortening cut into ½ inch pieces and frozen for 15 minutes
¼ cup very cold water
1- Combine flour and salt – pulse a few times
2- Add butter and shortening and process until it looks like coarse meal and just begins to clump together.
3- Sprinkle with water and let rest 30 seconds
4- Process VERY briefly until dough just begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl
5- Turn out on a floured surface and press into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.
6- Allow the dough to warm slightly at room temperature if it is too hard to roll
7- Roll to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut a circle about 1 ½ inches larger than a pie plate. Transfer the pastry to the pie plate by folding it in half.
8- Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs about ½ inch over the plate. Flute the edges.
Chill the pie crust while making the rest of the pie.
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt
2 ½ cups pumpkin puree
1 ¼ cups whole milk
½ cup whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
1- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs lightly.
2- Add the remaining ingredients and whisk thoroughly.
3- Pour into the pie crust and bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is just set and no longer liquid in the center. I turned off the oven – opened the oven door and left it there for about 10 minutes.
4- Cool it in the fridge before serving
½ cup whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Using an electric mixer, beat all the ingredients until soft peaks form.
Store the pie up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Serve the pumpkin pie with the topping...lots of topping!
Until we bake again