Happy Thanksgiving….and the saga of the pumpkin pie

pumpkinpieI love Thanksgiving.  It is purely an American holiday.  It is celebrated by everyone who is living here with ties to no religion or beliefs.  Each family has its classic dishes.  You can turn on the Macy’s parade for background pictures just to watch the parades.  The whole shebang is pure Americana.  There is something comforting about this annual event.

Every year I make a few pies.  This year I made a pecan tart and a pumpkin pie.  What an ordeal.

Sunday afternoon I made the doughs.  Using a Cuisinart definitely makes the process much quicker.  5 cups flour, 3 sticks cold unsalted butter, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt pulsed until the butter resembles tiny peas.  Pour in very cold water, about 1/4 cup and pulse until the dough forms a ball.  You might need a little more water depending on where you are.  Separate the dough and mold each into a disc (better for rolling later on) and wrap with saran wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to use it.

Wednesday afternoon I pulled out the discs and made two pie shells and pre-cooked them both.  The rolling out the dough, putting the dough into each pie holder, setting parchment paper in each and then lining it with baking beans at 350 takes time.  Once they cooled I figured I might as well make the pies the day before Thanksgiving.  I hemmed and hawed on the pumpkin pie recipe and deciding to pull out an old favorite cookbook, Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti.  I have owned this cookbook 23 years.  The pages are old, some stuck together and notes on many of the recipes.  It made me smile.  I own many cookbooks but somehow always end up going on line for inspiration.

3 large eggs

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup Karo syrup

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

1 tbsp. rum

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp. ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 350.

Whisk together the eggs and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Add the Karo Syrup and whisk until smooth. Stir in the cream and pumpkin puree and rum.  Add the salt, cinnamon and ginger and mix until incorporated.  Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake for about 45 minutes or until the pie is relatively firm.  The book says 30 minutes but it took me 45.

So the first pie I made was not setting.  I noticed that the big can of pumpkin puree I had used was not actually pumpkin puree but pumpkin pie makings.  Essentially the pumpkin puree already had a bunch of ingredients in it and I remember wondering why it wasn’t so thick.  I went into the cabinet and found a small can of pumpkin puree and realized what had happened.  I was really annoyed.

I took the pie out of the oven and grabbed a ladle and get the pumpkin pie mixture out of the pie shell.  Then I tilted it into the sink and poured the rest out.  Set is aside and let it dry.  Then we went out for dinner and I came back and made the recipe again with the right pumpkin puree.

The pie came out beautiful except the crust is a bit black on one edge.  The thought of starting from true scratch and making a pie crust over again considering how many other things have to be made in the next 24 hours was just not in the cards.

The key to cooking in the kitchen is to remember there is nothing wrong with being innovative.

Hope everyone has a Happy relaxing Thanksgiving.  It is a day to enjoy and thankful….and of course eat a lot of good food!