Thanksgiving, Take Two: Pumpkin Pie

What is thanksgiving dinner without some pumpkin in there somewhere? Silly, that’s what. Identified as the only pie my brother will eat, pumpkin pie is so easy to make and even easier to eat. Now, the debate: pumpkin puree from the can or cook and mash up the real stuff? Honestly, I’ve had it both ways and have some problems with both. Preparing your own pumpkin puree is a fair amount of work, and honestly, the pumpkins we buy weren’t designed for eating and end up with a bit of a watery flavour that is low on pumpkin-y-ness. Does it make you feel like a more accomplished person? Yes. Will picky brothers eat that kind? Doubtful. For this reason, we give the puree from our October pumpkins to the dog, who seems to find it just delicious. I have been using a canned organic pure pumpkin puree, and it is lovely and flavourful, so I am happy with it. Does it feel like a cop out? Yes. That aside, the taste makes up for the feeling of cheating!

Pumpkin Pie

This is a no frills, perfectly traditional pumpkin pie. I kept the spices low in this recipe, but in reality add about double what it says because I like a nice and spiced up pie. If you like it a little subtler with pure pumpkin taste, go with these amounts, taste, and adjust. These instructions use a food processor, so if you don’t have one that’s fine, just use a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter in, then stir with a spatula as the ice water gets drizzled in.

Short-Crust Pastry

1 ¼ c all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp white sugar
½ c frozen, unsalted butter cut into cubes
1/8- ¼ c ice water (melt ice cubes in the fridge to this amount of liquid, remove any extra ice pieces)

1) Place all dry ingredients in the food processor and whiz around to get them well mixed. Add the cubed, frozen butter and blitz a couple of time to get coarse pieces. They will continue to break apart a bit as you drizzle in the ice water, so be careful not to get pieces that are too small.

2) With the motor running, carefully drizzle the ice water in a small stream, stopping when the dough comes together into a ball and rolls around. This’ll be pretty obvious when it happens. Stop, even if the amount you added was less than what the recipe says. Trust the dough.

3) Press the dough together, and put onto a piece of plastic wrap. Push it out into a disk, and then wrap it completely in the plastic. Put it in the fridge for 30 mn. This is a good time to make the pumpkin filling.

4) Lightly flour a clean surface, and remove the disk from the fridge. Unwrap, and lightly flour the outside so it doesn’t stick too much. Roll it out with a rolling pin or bottle, pushing away from yourself and rotating a few degrees every stroke so it doesn’t stick. When the circle is about 13 inches (or eyeballed to roughly the size of your pie plate), transfer it to the pie plate by draping it over the rolling pin or bottle.

5) Once in the pie plate, push the dough over any thin spots or tears, evening it out. As for the edges: your choice. You can trim off the extra around the edge with a paring knife and use it to make decorative leaves and the like, or use a fork to create a border, or pinch the dough around your left index finger with your other index finger and thumb. Experiment!

6) Chill for another ten minutes to set your knew designs. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

7) Pour in the pumpkin mixture. Place on a baking sheet in case any drips happen, and slide into the oven. Bake 45-55 minutes, until crust begins to brown and filling seems to have set. A knife inserted into the center of the pie should come out almost clean.

8) You know how it goes- serve with whipped cream or ice cream at room temperature or chilled. Any leftovers for breakfast, I mean, in the fridge…

Pumpkin Filling

4 large egg yolks
2 c pumpkin puree
¾ c brown sugar
½ c heavy cream
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt

1) Whisk together egg yolks, then add remaining. Smell, taste, and adjust seasonings to your liking.

2) Jump in at step 7 above.


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