As American as Pumpkin Pie

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Nothing beats Grandma's recipe for anything.  With peak pumpkin season upon us and Thanksgiving next week, there is no better time than now to disclose the culinary formula for my grandma's classic Pumpkin Pie.  Grandma made this recipe with love and passion every year, with my mom coming in at a very close second!   

Pumpkin pie nostalgia:  Depending on whose turn it was throwing Thanksgiving, every year I would intently watch Grandma or Mom prepare the pumpkin pie.  Both started with carefully piecing together the infamous Crisco-butter pie crust.  Then it was time to pull out the bulky beatup Sunbeam electric mixer from the cupboard and give the pumpkin pie filling a whirl.  The liquid would inevitably splatter into all corners of the cinnamon spice-scented kitchen, somehow yielding more than enough filling to go around.  Within 20 minutes of baking the pie, it was all cozy Christmassy-aromatherapy-happy-goodness-filled air throughout the house for the rest of the day.  Grandma, I can smell it now!

Now it's your turn to try out this classic recipe.  The only alteration in the recipe is my use of butter in the pastry.  Sorry Grandma (and Mom), but I won't be seen dead using Crisco.  Also, bear in mind that Pumpkin Pie Spice may be a bit tricky to find.  I order mine online here.  Or you can build your own using the formula provided (see below).

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Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Makes 1 9-inch or 23-cm pumpkin pie 

Ingredients:

CRUST/PASTRY
225g plain flour
100g butter, diced, kept cold until ready for use
½ tsp salt

FILLING
2 eggs, beaten until foamy
100g granulated or caster sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tin or 425g of pumpkin
400ml full-fat milk
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice or see recipe for homemade pumpkin pie spice*
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

*Pumpkin pie spice:
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cloves
Use 1 ½ tsp for pumpkin pie recipe

WHIPPED CREAM
250ml whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
25 g icing sugar

METHOD
Preheat oven to 200C.  

Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the salt, then add 2-3 tbsp water and mix to a firm dough. Knead the dough briefly and gently on a floured surface. Wrap in cling film and chill 20 minutes while preparing the filling.

Place the eggs into a large mixing bowl, and with an electric whisk blend well until foamy.  Then add the sugar, pumpkin, salt, and spices and blend well.  Finally add the milk and gradually increase the speed to medium high and blend for 2 minutes.

Take the chilled pastry out of the fridge and roll into a circle big enough to fill the pie dish or tart tin with an overhang of about 3-4 cm.  Place pastry into the dish/tin and press along and up the sides.  Trim off excess pastry.  Pour the pumpkin filling into the uncooked shell.  Bake for 20 minutes at 200C and then lower the heat to 180C and cook for another hour and 20 minutes or until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown.

Once pie is cooled and ready to serve, whisk together the cream, icing sugar, and vanilla into soft peaks.  Spoon a dallop or three onto the pumpkin pie.