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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Welcome to Fall! Today is October first and we woke up to a "cold front" this morning. By cold front I mean 76 degrees in the morning with a high of only 86 today. So, not a cold front to those up North, but cold enough for me!

I'm not a fan of Fall. Even as a kid, I didn't really like Fall. The only things I like about Fall are fresh apples, pumpkin pie, Halloween (as a kid), and football. I moved to Florida, in part, to get away from the cold and Fall. I like Florida Fall much better. Still warm enough to go to the beach, get a tan, walk the dog in shorts at 7 am, and never having to bundle up.

Yeah, we love football

As I said, I love pumpkin pie. I grew up having it on Thanksgiving morning for breakfast (yes, breakfast. Its a vegetable!). My dad was always in charge of making the pies for Thanksgiving, even though he didn't like pumpkin pie himself. He just made it for us girls. That's a good dad for ya.

Now that I'm an adult, I make my own pumpkin pie. If you don't count the crust, its one of the easiest pies to make. Pretty much you just throw everything into a bowl and mix it up. Chris also loves pumpkin and our 6 month anniversary is Oct 5, so I have made it for the two of us the last three years. So, in addition, happy 3.5 year anniversary Christopher!!!

I've never made pumpkin pie from scratch before. I'm not talking about making the crust (that's a given), I'm talking about starting from a whole pumpkin!

Turns out, roasting the pumpkin is super easy! Just procure a sugar or pie pumpkin (I got mine at Walmart), wash it, cut it in half (use a big knife), scoop out the seeds, and roast it for ~45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If you can poke into it easily with a sharp knife, its ready. Let it cool, scoop out the flesh, and puree. I guess it freezes very well. If you want an in-depth look, I suggest watching the Good Eats episode on youtube.

Side note: I opened my pumpkin and was like "Oh yeah, pumpkin seeds." I rinsed them, dried, and toasted them in a non-stick skillet, dropped on 2 T of brown sugar, and then sprinkled with salt. Ta-Da! Kettle cooked pumpkin seeds! They were amazing!

Here is the roasted pumpkin. Very pretty color.

Pumpkin puree

First, before mixing up your pie, you have to make the crust. I've made pie crusts for years, but I have yet to have any luck with them here in Florida. I think its too warm (our apartment is about 79 degrees) and humid for a crust to stick together well. Oh well, the good thing about pie crust is that its hidden by filling.

Pie Crust (9 in):
1 cup AP flour
1/3 + 1 T shortening (NOT BUTTER)
2 to 3 T cold water (very cold)

Mix the flour with shortening with a pastry cutter or two forks until the shortening is in pea sized pieces. Drip in the water (1 to 2 T more water can be used if needed, but be careful). Mix until the dough comes off the bowl. Form into a ball, flatten into a disk, then wrap in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for about 45 minutes. 
To roll, I suggest using a silicone mat under it, sprinkled with flour, and roll out. Its also a good idea to flip the crust halfway to make sure its not sticking. When its the right size, either roll it over the rolling pin or cold up and move into the pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes, covered with foil at 425 degrees. Uncover and bake for another 2 or 3 minutes until starts to get golden.

For the pie filling:
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
15 oz pumpkin puree
12 oz evaporated milk

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Pour into prepared pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Lower temp to 350 degrees, bake 45 minutes. Test the pie by wiggling. If the middle only jiggles a little, its done. If the edge of your crust is getting too dark, wrap with a strip of foil.

Cool for 2 hours or overnight. Enjoy!

Finished pie. Crust doesn't look great, but its all about the flavor


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