Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Great Pumpkin Pie Puzzle

For a number of years we have had what can best be described as a love/hate relationship with pumpkin pies.

Personally, I love pumpkin pie, and sweet potato pie too. Still slightly warm from the first day's baking or after it's been chilled, with whipped cream or without, it has always said "goodies for cold weather" to me.

But we have had "issues" with pumpkin pies. There was the year of the "I forgot to add the sugar", and the "why is there so much extra liquid".

Here then are some things I've learned about pumpkin pies:

* If you are starting with fresh pumpkin, after it's been cooked and the skin removed, you need to press it through a strainer to take out the extra liquid. And don't expect it to be as orange as the commercial puree -- for some reason, that just doesn't happen.

* Like with any baking, it's a good idea to put all of the ingredients out on the counter before you start and put them away as you add them to the recipe -- that way you know you have everything you need before you start (and don't have to make a run to the store in mid-mixing), and you'll remember to put everything into the mix (let us say that leaving out the sugar was a deal breaker!)

Here then are the two variations of pumpkin pie that we use at our house:

Heat the over to 425 degrees.

Put the pie crust in the pan (we always use a pyrex pie pan).

Mix all the other ingredients together until well blended and pour into the pie crust.

For Version I, bake for 15 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 40 to 50 minutes.

For Version II, bake at 425 for 45 to 55 minutes.

To test for doneness, a case knife or a thin metal spatula should come out clean when inserted midway between the center and the edge of the pie. Carry over heat will finish the custard cooking and keep the pie from being dry.

Either of these versions can be made by substituting mashed sweet potatoes for the pumpkin puree -- and that's yummy too -- especially with a little drizzle of carmel sauce.

Anyone else have any "horror stories" about pumpkin pie?

1 comment:

Nancy G said...

Other than the "how come there's always more filling than will fit in the pan?" issue, no horror stories. But I've been doing the "put all of the ingredients out on the counter before you start and put them away as you add them to the recipe" thing for a long time.

One of these days, I'm going to have to try the sweet potato filling - sounds yummy!