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Sunday, November 21, 2010


Pumpkin Pie – Pies & Pastries, Pg. 198 – Flo E. Powers (Mrs. A.F.)

As our neighbors to the south prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and us Canucks begin to prepare for our own holiday spreads once again – we bring you a holiday favorite around many dinner tables.

A true tradition – pumpkin pie is a favorite dessert in the Johnson household during the holidays – taking its place at the forefront of the dinner table, the pumpkin pie comes under great scrutiny by all and is considered the essential component to the quintessential holiday meal. This past Thanksgiving the Dutch Oven Cookbook brought a pumpkin pie throwdown (Bobby Flay Style) to the Johnson home – and a new dessert to the Young family’s dinner table.

Peter’s Mom prepared her tried and true pumpkin pie recipe, while Peter and Jan took on the Dutch Oven recipe – preparing two monster sized pies – one for each dinner table – the Johnson’s and the Young’s.

For our pumpkin pies we used the pie pastry recipe provided in the Dutch Oven. See our thoughts on this and other pie crust recipe’s here. We were both using 11 inch ceramic pie dishes – very large and very deep! We admit – neither of us have a lot of pie making experience, we probably should have started smaller – but we wanted to use our pretty pie dishes. While this pie pastry recipe had a nice enough flavor, we felt it just didn’t hold up to some others we’ve tried – literally – it started to crumble while baking, never mind when trying to cut it.

Here are a few tips when making your pumpkin pie crust. Roll your dough to 1/8 inch thick and at least 1 inch larger than the pie dish. Lift your pie crust by gently rolling your crust onto the rolling pin, unroll the dough onto the pie dish and gently ease the dough into the dish. Trim crust leaving 1/2 inch overhang, fold overhang under and flute crust as desired. To ensure your crust is fully baked on the bottom you should par bake your crust (a process known as blind baking). Place a piece of parchment paper or foil over your pie crust and weight the centre of the crust using pie weights and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 375. Use reserved pie dough to make leaf garnishes for your pie. We used our handy dandy leaf cutters from Williams-Sonoma to make ours, but the same effect can be made by cutting leaves out of the dough by hand.

Onto the real star of this pie – Za Pumpkin!! Again, this recipe will make a standard 9 inch pie – we had to double the recipe to accommodate our monster pie dishes. If you want to make a monster pumpkin pie in a pretty dish, double all the ingredients except for the spices and salt and add only one extra egg.

Flo’s Perfect Pumpkin Pie:

1 Cup Pumpkin (canned pure pumpkin is a great shortcut)
½ Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Molasses
1 Tbsp. Butter (melted)
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
½ Tsp. Ginger
½ Tsp. Salt
2 Eggs (slightly beaten)
1 Cup 35% Cream
1 Tsp. Lemon (not sure what’s up with this, we tried it in one pie and not the other, didn’t notice any difference)

Add Sugar, molasses, spices, salt and melted butter to the pumpkin – mix in food processor. Add eggs and milk and continue to mix. Strangely…or maybe not so strangely when it comes to the Dutch Oven – there is no further mention of the Lemon. Those of you that have been following our journey through the Dutch Oven Cookbook are familiar with the little details, instructions and ingredients that just happen to be missing from some of the recipes. Some garner this the “Dutch Oven Conspiracy” – a conspiracy of the authors to protect their family honored recipe secrets (: In any case – we opted to add the tsp. of lemon juice to Jan’s pie just to see if we could detect any difference in the pies. Turns out that we didn’t notice any difference in the taste, however Jan’s pie did seem to take on a life of its own while baking – a very odd breathing movement – likely more to do with the monster pie dish than the lemon.

Once mixed, pour filling into prepared pie shell and bake at 475 for ten minutes, then at 325 for 45 minutes. If making monster pies your cooking time will be longer – once your pie is no longer jiggley in the centre, it is done. We made the mistake of cooking both monster pies at once (not recommended) – this took at least 2 hours and required us to rotate the pies halfway through baking. Oh – and watch your crust carefully – ours browned quite quickly. If this happens, you should tent your pie with foil to avoid over-browning your crust. We did take one liberty with this recipe - we sprinkled the top with nutmeg before baking since the recipe didn't call for any - other than that, it's all Flo!

While Peter’s mom’s pumpkin pie will always have a place in the hearts…and stomachs of everyone around the dinner table – Flo’s Perfect Pumpkin Pie took the prize in this Thanksgiving throwdown. Its dark, rich, spicy flavors and velvety texture were a sure hit with all! We have a feeling this pie may take up a permanent residency at the Johnson Holiday table. As for the Young’s holiday dinner table – after years of declaring her distaste for pumpkin – Jan had a pumpkin epiphany – she likes it – she really likes it!!

1 comment:

  1. You've got my mouth watering,the pie does look velvety and totally decadent with the whipped cream garnish. Yum!!!