traditional pumpkin pie

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I'm lonely.

The husband went on a boy's trip this weekend. He's probably half-drunk, yelling obscenities at Oilers fans right now.

I'm probably going to eat popcorn for dinner, watch the hockey game, and make a pie to keep myself occupied.

Not this pie, a different pie. With the same crust. Follow me?

Pies can be scary for some people. It was scary to me to begin with too. Kind of like being alone for the weekend, but thankfully I have cats. Who will obviously attack and mangle any serial killers. A good pie crust recipe is a safety net. Once you've found the right one, never use anything else.

I always use the same pie crust recipe no matter what kind of pie I make. I know it works, I know it's easy, I know it tastes delicious.

My rules for pie making are;

1. Keep everything COLD. Butter, shortening, water, flour, etc. Keep them in the fridge and/or freezer until they are needed.

in the freezer waiting to be used
2. Use your food processor. So much easier. Trust.

3. Use recipes with a mix of butter and shortening. It gives you that butter taste with the flakiness that shortening provides.

4. Do not rush it.  Good pies take time. If it says refrigerate for an hour, don't think it's okay after 30 minutes, it needs an hour.

5. Trust your instincts. If it doesn't look right, it probably isn't. You're a good baker and you are gonna rock this pie out. I believe in you.

My pie obsession has been awoken by last weekend's thanksgiving. I had to bring dessert (duh) to my dad's celebration. Of course, it needed to be pumpkin.

I love spicy, ginger-y pumpkin pies, but not everyone has the same tastes as me, so I decided on a more traditional pumpkin pie. The one I chose is from Martha Stewart, still has the spice, but it's not overwhelming. The only thing I changed was the pie crust, I did not use the one provided in the recipe and I took out the vanilla and added French brandy. It was amazing.

Best pie crust ever.
[ from Smitten Kitchen's strawberry rhubarb pie, which also is an amazing pie ]

Makes enough for 1 double crusted pie or 2 single crust pies.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into cubes
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
10 tablespoons ice water, give or take

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the food processor, pulse to combine. Add the shortening and butter, pulsing to combine until a coarse meal forms. Blend in enough ice water, 2 tablespoons at a time, to just form moist clumps. Gather dough into 2 balls, flatten each into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Can be made up to 1 day ahead, just let warm a little bit before rolling.

Traditional pumpkin pie
[ adapted from Martha Stewart ]

all-purpose flour for dusting and rolling
1 pie dough recipe
1 15oz can pure pumpkin
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon French brandy
3 large eggs
1 12oz can evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough on a floured surface, into a 1/8-inch disk then place into a 9-inch pie plate. Cut off any excess dough, crimp dough edges to make a crust. (Or use mini cookie cutters on the leftover dough and attach the cutouts onto the edges to make a fancy crust like me!)

Poke the bottom and sides of the pie crust with a fork, freeze for 15 minutes.

Bake until edges become golden, checking frequently making sure no bubbles arise, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Adjust oven temperature to 325 degrees. Transfer pie crust to a rimmed baking sheet.

In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, brandy, eggs, and evaporated milk. Whisk to combine thoroughly. Pour filling into par-baked pie crust, don't overfill it, it won't shrink much, you'll probably have extra.

Bake pie for 55 - 60 minutes, or until centre is set yet still a little wobbly. Let cool completely on a rack, then refrigerate to at leads 6 hours before serving. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.