Last year I became obsessed with eating Pumpkin Pie. Every time I saw it on a restaurant menu I had to go in and try it. Or get it to take away. There was a week when I almost always had a bag full of pie. Now's not really the time of year for it – it's very popular on restaurant menus around Halloween for obvious reasons – but you can almost always buy pumpkin in the shops, so you can really have this pie any time of year. Sure, it's nice when it's served warm with ice cream, but it's also pretty good served chilled – it's a bit like cheesecake.
During my pie-tasting-fest I tasted a pies made in a number if styles: glossy, flan style, slightly jelly like and bright orange, laden with spices and my personal favourite quite fluffy and flavoured with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. The best recipe I could find to replicate this sort of pie a home is based on the one in the Leon Cookbook, with a few personal flavour adjustments of my own.
100mls maple syrup 150g pecans teaspoon of grated nutmeg 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
teaspoon of ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds 145g of golden granulated sugar (some is for the pastry, some for the filling)
200g plain flour
130g butter (some is for the pastry, some for the filling)
5 eggs (though technically you only need 5 yolks and 3 whites, some are for the pastry, some for the filling.)
and a little salt
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 180°C and butter your pie or flan tin (about 20cms wide and 6cms deep will do.)
Step 2: The Pasty. The first part of the pie you need to make is the pastry - we're building up, you see. Drop your pecans in the blender or food processor and add all the flour, 120gs of butter (pre softened, please), and 70gs of your granulated sugar.
Once the butter has mixed in with everything else add two egg yolks and keep blending until it looks all the same colour and consistency – and like pastry should.
It then needs to come out of the blender or processor – it should be all in a big ball now. Wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes to let it rest.
Step 3: Once your pastry has had a rest use a box grater to grate it up over your pie/ flan tin, then use your fingers to push the pastry mix all together again around the edges of the tin, lining it fully and evenly. Put the tin back into the fridge for 10 minutes then take it out, put a couple of fork pricks in the bottom of it, to keep it from cracking, and slide it into your pre-heated oven for 25 minutes until it starts to brown.
Step 4: The Pumpkin Filling. While your pastry is in the oven you can get on with the pumpkin. This needs to have the skin and seeds removed – and any of the stringly bits – and then be chopped into chunks about 5cms square.
Lay your pumpkin chunks on a baking tray and drizzle half the maple syrup over them, giving them a bit of a roll in it while you're at it. These then need to go into the oven for 30 minutes before you take them out and drizzle the rest of the maple syrup onto them, before going back into the oven for another 30 minutes.
Step 5: Once your pumpkin is cooked it goes into the food processor/ blender for a spin until it's smooth, it's OK if the pumpkin is still warm at this point. Once the pumpkin has had a turn on its own, pour in the milk, drop in the butter, three egg yolks and two whites, and sprinkle in 65gs of sugar. Your spices all go in now as well. Then give everything a good wizzing until it's smooth and the egg whites have given it a bit of a froth.
Step 6: Uniting both parts. Hopefully your pastry base is looking great about now, ready for you to pour the mixture into. You can fill it quite high, the pumpkin filling should cook and rise above the pastry without spilling. It them goes back into the oven for 40 minutes, or until the top has browned a bit.
Step 7: The finishing touches. Pumpkin pie is lovely with pecans – hence the base, but it's also nice with a few sunflower seeds dusted on top. If you like seeds as well as nuts, then you can add them to the top about half way though the cooking time (20 minutes in). Mix the last egg yolk, the last of the golden sugar to make a sticky goo then brush it onto some sunflower seeds and drop them onto the top of your pie. Feel free to be rustic of stylish at this point, depending on where you're planning to serve your pie. It needs to go back in for another 20 minutes at least to finish cooking.
But once it's done you can pretty much eat it right away... Mmmm... It will also make your kitchen smell wonderful.
I have been making homemade pumpkin pie for years. It is so good. I have never tried pecans in the crust before. That sounds good. I might try that next time. :)
By delil0 - reader Thursday, 17th of February @ 10:53 pm
You really should try pecans - the thing I love about this recipe is that it's not too sweet, but has all the extra spice and flavour of the nuts and cinnamon etc. Do you have any extra ingredients that you've tried in your pies?