Friday, November 23, 2012

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

So much pumpkin.

My mom, though usually generous with compliments on things I make, proclaimed this the best pumpkin pie she had ever eaten.

Let's start at the very beginning
A very good place to start.
When you read you begin with ABC,
When you bake you begin with 
Butter Eggs, Flour

Ok, so that's not how the song goes. This particular song of a recipe begins with pumpkins. 

Real. Pumpkins. Tear off the stem, halve 'em, scoop out the guts (save them!!), and then quarter. Straight onto a baking sheet and roast.

Boom, roasted.

Chunks of tender pumpkin flesh are scooped out of their skins and beaten to a pulp in a food processor. It's not violent in the least. 

The resultant puree is so purely pumpkin and so gosh dang fresh it's ridiculous. Note that smaller pumpkins are better for making pie with (the ones you carve for Halloween, not so much. The Pioneer Woman, whose recipe this is, has great pictures to give you an idea of how big the pumpkins should be).

And because we can, and we should, we will use those pumpkin seeds! Rinse and pull off the pulpy bits, not taking too much care because time is money, and then let them dry on a baking sheet lined with foil. 

I stuck them in my cooling down oven from roasting the pumpkin to speed up the drying.

Roasted with olive oil and salt, these are an excellent snack.

Because I wanted to make pumpkin pie entirely homemade, I also made crust, with guidance from my dad, the king of pie. He taught me how to let those chunks of shortening be.

Just let it be. There will be huge chunks of fat. That makes it flaky and wonderful...let it be.

The last component, the filling, comes from a family recipe handed down from my cousins. It's moussier and lighter than the recipe on the back of a can of pumpkin.

The homemade crust and puree really elevated this pie. It's nothing fancy looking, but the flavor and texture are unbeatable. Butchering three innocent pumpkins is worth it for fresh, punchy aroma.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie
Yield: 1 12-inch pie

Pumpkin Puree:
Follow Pioneer Woman's tutorial on how to make homemade pumpkin puree!
(you can freeze extra or make granola!)

Crust: (makes two crusts, you'll only need one)
1 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour 
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
8 tablespoons vegetable shortening,cut into 8 pieces and chilled
1/4 cup vodka, chilled
1/4 cup ice water

  1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, and salt together in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter butter and shortening over top and continue to process until incorporated and mixture begins to form uneven clumps with no remaining floury bits, about 15 seconds.
  2. Scrape down bowl and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup flour over dough and pulse until mixture has broken up into pieces and is evenly distributed around bowl, 4 to 6 pulses.
  3. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Sprinkle vodka and ice water over mixture. Stir and press together, using stiff rubber spatula, until dough sticks together.
  4. Divide dough into 2 even pieces. Turn each piece of dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each piece tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Before rolling dough out, let it sit on counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling it out.)

To make the pie:
3 eggs
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) brown sugar
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk (the only non-homemade thing in this pie)
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (=1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp each allspice, cloves, nutmeg)

  1. Roll out 1 pie crust to fit in 12 inch pie plate and press in. Bake at 400 degrees with pie weights for 8 minutes, then take out the pie weights and bake another 2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. For the filling: Beat eggs first to break up yolk. Then, whisk all ingredients.
  3. Pour in prebaked pie crust and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done. Start checking at 50 minutes; the pie should be set mostly but the center will still jiggle a bit.
  4. Cool on baking rack.
  5. Serve at room temperature or refrigerated! (This pie is just as good, if not better, the day after it's made).
P.S. When you're making pie crust, you might as well make two crusts. Although you only need one to make this pie, why not make two pies? Another recipe is a-comin' (see the first picture of this post for a sneak peak!). Or freeze and make another pumpkin pie a couple of weeks later!

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