Pumpkin Pie – Because It’s Nearly Thanksgiving!

I was going to start this post lamenting the fact that I had to make my pumpkin purée from scratch and that life is so much harder for those of us not living in the States, but then I made an amazing discovery. Don’t get me wrong, I did make my pumpkin puree from scratch in this case, but this is the first and last time.

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Because I just found CANNED PUMPKIN in Waitrose!

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Sorry for yelling, I’m just so excited. For those of you not in the UK, Waitrose is an upmarket supermarket chain where I imagine the rich and famous of London shop. In reality, it isn’t that much more expensive than other supermarkets, but it has the aura of being a bit posh. My nearest one is about 7km down the road, so it’s not a place I frequent very often.

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I had seen Libby’s Canned Pumpkin on their website, but wasn’t going to pay the home delivery fee just for some canned pumpkin. Last week however, I was in that neck of the woods to watch Gravity in 3D (highly recommend it by the way) and thought I’d pop in to Waitrose and see if they had any of that coveted canned pumpkin in stock. What a nice surprise when I found a shelf full of it! And at a pretty decent price of £2 per can. I came away with three cans and a massive smile on my face!

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So! Onto the reason I was making the pie in the first place: Thanksgiving! In Australia and the UK and pretty much every other country in the world, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Why am I getting in on the action, you ask? Because I can! It’s an excuse to bake something I’ve never tried before – a pie – and fill it with something that isn’t very common outside of North America – pumpkin.

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To me pumpkin has always been a vegetable, I’d never had it in sweet form until I was I was 21 and living in Canada. I thought that I was in love after taking my first bite of pie. I was reconsidering that love after taking a bite of my pie straight out of the oven. But a day later, I was back in love again. This is a pie that gets better with age. Don’t eat it on the day you make it as it tastes a bit watery. By day 2, the filling will have dried out a bit and will be scrumptious!

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Since beginning my food blogging odyssey, I’ve discovered a lot of sweet recipes that use pumpkin purée. Hence the reason I have stocked up now that I’ve found it. But I made this pie before my Waitrose discovery, so read on to find out how to make your filling from scratch, no canned pumpkins in sight. A lot of recipes I found also used a ready-made pie case or ready-made dough. That’s for cheaters! I like to set myself a challenge. so not only was the filling from scratch, but so was the base. I had a few issues with my base, but I think that was more my fault than anything else.

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The begin, you need to cut your pumpkin into pieces, brush with melted butter and cook in the oven until tender – about 45 minutes.

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While that’s cooking, you can start on your dough. See full steps in recipe below.

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Once your base is blind-baking in the oven, you can work on the pumpkin filling. Spoon pumpkin flesh from the skin, and blend until smooth. In a bowl, add blended pumpkin, evaporated milk, caster sugar, brown sugar and eggs and whisk to combine. Add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt and whisk well, then pour into prepared base.

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Pop it back in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the crust starts to brown too much, cover the edge with aluminium foil to prevent it burning. Allow it to cool (or better yet, rest overnight) before serving.

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Pumpkin Pie

Serves 8-10

Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

BASE:

1⅓ cup plain flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

150g unsalted butter

1 egg yolk

1 tsp lemon juice

FILLING:

800-900g pumpkin, de-seeded, cut into large pieces

30g butter, melted

1 cup evaporated milk

⅓ cup caster sugar

¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

3 eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 210°C/410°F/Gas Mark 6.5. Sit pumpkin on a baking tray and brush with melted butter. Cook for 45 minutes until tender. Allow to cool while making the base. Decrease oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. For the base: Combine flour, sugar, butter and salt in a food processor and mix until crumbly. Add 1 tsp iced water, egg yolk and lemon juice and pulse until just combined, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and mould into a flat round. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.
  3. Grease a 23cm pie dish.Unwrap dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 31cm circle. Line into pie dish and trim any over-hanging edges. Use a fork to make the edges pretty. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Line base with baking paper and fill with rice/lentils/pastry weights. Blind bake for 15 minutes, then remove weights and baking paper and cover the edge of the base with aluminium foil before baking for another 10 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Do not discard foil as you will be using it again.
  5. Meanwhile, make the filling:  Use a spoon to scrape the pumpkin from the skin. Place in a blender and blend until puréed (or mash really well by hand). Add pumpkin purée, evaporated milk, caster sugar, brown sugar and eggs to a large bowl. Whisk until well combined, then add cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and mix until well combined.
  6. Pour into prepared base and cover the edge of the pie with aluminium foil to avoid burning. Bake for 25 minutes, remove aluminium foil and bake for another 25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to fully set overnight and serve at room temperature.
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