Friday, December 28, 2012

Baking: Pumpkin Pie

Ah pumpkin pie. One of the few fruit pies I make that is custard based. It's not my favorite yet I continue to make it because I don't have the spice level right. Last year's pie wasn't spicy enough and didn't have a good pumpkin flavor. I blame it on the lack of ripe pumpkins. This year, on my search for pumpkins in December, I was out of luck. No sugar pumpkins to be found anywhere. Darn, it's really an October-November seasonal fruit. I settled on using butternut squash instead since several sources say it's a very good substitute.

I took the squash, sliced it in half, and roasted it cut side down on a baking sheet at 375oF until soft. I used a fork to stab at the thicker end to test the softness. It took about 60 minutes.
Once the squash is cooled enough to handle, I scooped out the flesh. It came apart from the skin very easily. I weighed out 16 ounces for my pie. Then I let the pulp cool completely.
As the squash cooled, I prepped by crust. I mixed flour, butter, shortening, salt, and ice water together until it comes to a ball with some kneading. Then I rolled it out onto my pie plate (using a silpat and lots of flour). Lastly, I crimped the edges to make it all pretty.
I pricked the bottom of the pie with a fork and brushed it with egg yolk. I blind baked it for about 15 minutes until lightly golden and set.
As the crust cooled, I finished the custard by adding cream, milk, eggs, sugars, and lots of spices. I tasted it to adjust the spice level. Because butternut squash is pretty naturally sweet, I upped the spices a lot.
Then into the prepped pie crust it went and then the preheated oven.
The filling will expand a bit. It came out slightly domed.
But as it cooled, it flattened out nicely. I think I overbaked the pie due to the wrinkles. But it tasted just fine to me.
This pie was much more spicy than last year. I like it better. However, it was a little too spicy. I need to find a happy middle. A nice sweet and spicy pumpkin pie. Until next year.

Oh and if you're wondering why it's so dark, it's because I used a bit of dark brown sugar since I ran out of light brown sugar.

My recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit's Pumpkin Pie with Toffee Walnut Topping recipe.

Pumpkin Pie
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons (about) ice water
1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend

16 ounces pumpkin pulp
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375oF
1. Blend flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and shortening and cut into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1 tablespoon ice water at a time until small moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill 30 minutes.
2. Roll out dough on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter pie dish. Fold overhang under, forming high-standing rim. Crimp edges decoratively. Freeze 15 minutes.
3. Brush crust all over with yolk. Prick small holes into bottom of pie using fork. Bake until crust is set but still pale, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly.
4. Whisk filling ingredients in large bowl. Taste for seasoning and spice level. Pour into crust. Bake until filling is set, about 60 minutes. Transfer pie plate to rack and cool completely, about 6 hours or overnight. Serve at room temperature.

1 comment:

  1. Glad I'm not the only one who searched for sugar pumpkins in late November. I did exactly what you did - used butternut squash. It was good but not what I was going for. I like the dark color of your pie - mine was actually light orange/pale.


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