Pumpkin season doesn't last nearly as long as I wished it did. Come every Halloween through Thanksgiving, I'm scrambling to find fresh pumpkins to bake with. Yeah, I don't use the canned stuff. It makes a significant flavor and textural difference for me, especially when I bake pies. In fact, I've never baked any kind of fruit pie using the canned stuff. All fresh ingredients for me.
Anyway, pie always starts at the crust for me. I use one basic pie crust recipe and interchange the fillings. It's worked well over the years and complement the sweetness of the fillings. The one mistake that I did make this year was that I added too much liquid. In my haste (I was rushing), I forgot to take my instincts and Alton Brown's advice to mind: add as little liquid as possible. Then let rest and allow the dry ingredients to slowly absorb the liquids.
But I ventured on with my pie dough by rolling it out and folding it over the pie dish.
I crimped a fancy edge using just my fingers. Look how pretty!
My pumpkin pie was adapted from the recipes below. My changes are:
1. Instead of canned pumpkin, I used fresh sugar pumpkins, roasted, then mashed.
2. Instead of 16 tbsp of butter, I used 12 tbsp of butter and 8 tbsp shortening.
Basic Pie Dough
Recipe courtesy of MarthaStewart.com
Everyday Food, November 2006
* Yield Makes two 9-inch crust
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 16 tablespoons cold (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
1. In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
2. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if necessary, add up to 1/4 cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time). To help ensure a flaky crust, do not overprocess.
3. Transfer half of dough (still crumbly) onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form dough into a disk 3/4 inch thick; wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days). Repeat with remaining dough. (Disks can be frozen, tightly wrapped, up to 3 months. Thaw before using.) Makes 2 disks.
Recipe courtesy of epicurious.com
15-oz can canned solid-pack pumpkin (about 2 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Special equipment: pie weights or raw rice
Accompaniment: lightly whipped cream
Make pastry dough as directed. Roll out dough into a 14-inch round on a lightly floured surface and fit into a 9-inch glass pie plate (4-cup capacity). Crimp edge decoratively and prick bottom all over. Chill 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°°F.
Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake in middle of oven 20 minutes. Remove weights and foil and bake shell until pale golden, 6 to 10 minutes more. Cool in pan on a rack. Whisk together pumpkin, cream, milk, eggs, brown sugar, spices, and salt, then pour into shell.
Bake pie in middle of oven 45 to 50 minutes, or until filling is set but center still trembles slightly. (Filling will continue to set as pie cools.) Transfer to rack and cool completely.
To prevent overbaking custard, you should start checking the pie's doneness at 45 minutes, as ovens vary. Pie may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered, but crust will not be as crisp as if made day of serving.