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Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween and Fall Special - Pumpkin Pie

I had been thinking of baking a pie for a long time, from scratch that is. The last time I baked a pie from scratch was over ten years ago. The opportunity finally knocked on my door this weekend. We were meeting at a friend's place to carve pumpkins and  decided to have a potluck. So, I jumped at the opportunity and picked up the request to bake a pumpkin pie. I must have referred to various websites and read several reviews and almost all the recipes had similar ingredients. So I finally decided to forge ahead and try my own recipe. I referred to the "Baking with Julia Child" book to prepare my crust and then referred to the the recipe on the pumpkin pie can for the filling. The house smelt so amazing, it was difficult to resist tasting a piece before heading out. The pie was a big hit and the crust was tasty and flaky. This was the first recipe that I referred to the Julia Child book for, and the pie crust turned out great.



Ingredients
For the Pie Crust
1 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter which is the same as 3/4 stick cold butter - cut this into 1/2 inch squares
1/4 cup ice cold water

For the Filling
1 15 ounce can -100% pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp clove powder
1/4 cup toasted pecans
3/4 cup sugar



Method
To make the pie crust
Mix the flour and salt. Next cut the butter into the dough till the dough turns into a coarse textured mixture and the butter is well mixed in. The butter should be cold and not melt while mixing it into the flour, so it needs to be a speedy process. You can use a fork if mixing by hand or the food processor if needed. Then add the cold water a little at a time, till the dough just comes together in a ball. Pat this and bring it together in a ball. Then wrap in plastic wrap and cool for at least 2 hours. I let it be in the fridge overnight.  At least an hour before you want to bake the pie, roll out the dough into a disc to cover a 9 inch pie dish, with about an inch of overhang.  Line the dough around the pie dish and cut the dough that comes out of the dish. Then, you can shape the edge or crimp it to decorate the pie crust. Put this back in the fridge to cool for another 1 hour at the least.


To make the pie
Preheat your oven to 350F. Cover your pie crust with a tin foil and add beans to the fill the pie dish and bake this for about 10 minutes. Then remove the beans and the foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes till the crust starts to change color and brown a little.

Pie Filling
Meanwhile prepare the pie filling. Mix the sugar with the spices and set aside. In a bowl beat the eggs till they are well mixed. To this add the pumpkin puree, milk and the sugar with the spices. Mix it all well. Crush the toasted pecans with your hand.


Take the pre-baked crust and add a layer of the pecans to the base. Next pour the filling into the pie crust and bake the pie for about 40-50 minutes. I baked the pie for about 40 minutes at 350 F and then cranked up the temperature to 375F and baked it for another 5 minutes. The pie is done, when a knife inserted in it comes out clean.

Let it cool and serve it topped with whipped cream


Tips
To roast the pecans, heat the oven to 350F.  Place the pecans in a baking tin and bake for 5 minutes or more till you get the toasted pecan smell. Stir them around so that they don't burn. The eggs do not need to be beaten till frothy, just enough so that they are well mixed. Sprinkle a little flour on the rolling surface before you roll out the pie crust. Roll it out from the center to the edge and move it clockwise as you roll it so that the crust is rolled out in similar thickness. Use your rolling pin to lift the crust onto your pie dish. Once the rolled out pie crust has been cooled and rested for at least an hour, you can let it warm up for a few minutes before starting the baking process. Prick the center of your pie crust a few times if need be with a fork so that it doesn't bubble up.

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