This was the post I was going to bring to you last week, but then I got really sick and haven’t been anywhere near my computer since the last post. So if you need a pumpkin puree recipe for the pumpkin cupcakes, you’ll find the follow up to that here.
While I making mountains of pumpkin puree and throwing them in desserts for the first time ever, I knew I couldn’t escape the pumpkin fest without baking pumpkin pie. This seemingly staple American dessert is practically non-existent here. Any time I’ve told an American friend I’ve never eaten pumpkin pie, I’ve received a reaction more akin to what I’d expect if I’d just confessed to being a centaur. Cam tried one on holiday in Canada some 8 years ago, loved it, and occasionally asks me to make one for him. I suppose it was about time I finally jumped in to see what all the fuss was about.
Since virtually every recipe wanted me to use canned pumpkin, and since that’s not a thing here, I got to making my own puree. I used butternut pumpkin, because it’s my favourite. I actually used to hate pumpkin completely. It wasn’t until I started making pumpkin soup with butternut pumpkin that I gradually acquired a taste for it. I’m still working my way to liking all kinds of pumpkin, but for now butternut is where it’s at.
I went a bit nuts making puree. You don’t need this much pumpkin for the pie. One half would be plenty for this recipe. But I was experimenting and wanted heaps to play with and freeze for future use.
All you need to do is place the pumpkin skin-side-up on a baking tray with about a cup of water. Then you bake it until it’s squishy. It took an hour for these.
Scoop all the pumpkin goodness out of the skin and blend it until smooth. If you’re not fussy this is probably enough, but I pushed it through a very fine mesh sieve to got out any remaining lumps.
I’ve no idea what canned pumpkin looks like, so I guess you guys can tell me how far off this is. But I had a delicious puree that we had trouble not eating as is so I figured this was a good start.
For the pie I reserved two cups of the puree and set it inside paper toweling to drain the excess moisture. You wanna do this for at least 15 minutes. The more liquid you drain, the more set the custard in your pie will be. If you want it super set you can leave it over night.
For the pastry I chose shortcrust because it’s one of my favourite, but also because it’s effortless. All you do is pulse the butter, flour and sugar until it just comes together, throw in an egg yolk and pulse again until it’s all combined. Too easy.
It needs to rest for a while, then you can layer your pie dish with it.
You can use a tart casing if you prefer. I went with the pie dish for no special reason: It was the first thing I saw when I opened my cupboard.
You can leave it as is after you cut away the excess, but if you’re a total crust lover like me you can use the excess to make a thick crust. I worked it into a large snake, put it around the edge then pinched it to make it a little decorative. You could use the tines of a fork to achieve a different look.
While that bakes you can get started on the custard. It’s as simple as beating some eggs with that delicious combination of spices until it get pale and thick.
Fold in the pumpkin and some cream and it’s ready to be poured into the pastry casing and baked.
The pie will puff up during baking, just like a crack pie does, but as it cools it will shrink down and set.
Once it gets to about room temperature it’s set enough to cut open. I served it with whipped cream and maple syrup.
I had no idea what to expect when I first set about the task of making this pie. All the years of hype around it never clued me in to what it was supposed to taste like. The hype probably has my expectations soaring unrealistically high, as well. It certainly won’t top my list of all time favourite desserts, but it was lovely. Really light and refreshing. Cam loved it miles more than I did and could hardly stop himself from going back for seconds.
|Butternut Pumpkin Pie
|Pumpkin Puree1/2 butternut pumpkin, seeds removed1 cup water
1 1/2 cups (225g/8 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
1/3 cup (60g/2oz) icing (confectioners) sugar
125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, chilled & chopped
1 free range egg yolk
1-2 tbsp (20-40ml/7-14 fl oz) cold water or lemon juice
4 free range eggs
150g (5.3 oz) brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground all spice
(alternatively use 1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice mix, if you have it)
2 cups (500g/17.6oz) pumpkin puree
375ml (12.7fl oz) thickened cream