When I was a child I was not fond of pumpkin pie at all. I am not sure why that was. Of all the pies in the world, pumpkin was my least favorite.
The truth was we did not get pie very often and so if my mother was going to bake a pie, we wanted her to bake us a lemon pie or an apple pie. Not boring old pumpkin.
As an adult, I have come to love and appreciate pumpkin pie in all of its glory. It is now one of my favorites. (Athough it will never quite replace lemon which is at the top of my list!)
When I first moved over to the UK, you could not find tinned pumpkin or pumpkins for that matter anywhere that I went to shop. It was very elusive.
My first Thanksgiving in the UK, I made a sweet potato pie, which (while very good) was not pumpkin pie. In all honesty even sweet potatoes were difficult to come by.
When I started working and cooking at the Manor, my boss used to bring canned pumpkin home from the US to use in soups and pies. You could also get canned pumpkin, at a premium price, from an American food supply warehouse.
It was really costly I remember. About 5 or 6 pounds per smallish can, which was about the equivalent of 8 or 10 dollars. A lot of money for a can of pumpkin.
There was a time when, if I saw pumpkin for sale in the shops, I would buy up every can that I could, especially if it was reasonably priced. Not only did I want pumpkin to be used in Pumpkin Pie, but I also wanted it for use in breads, muffins and cakes.
Thankfully over the last five or six years that I was living in the UK, tinned pumpkin was becoming much more available, as were pumpkins in general, especially around Halloween. They were not pie pumpkins however, just regular Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins.
Normally the pumpkin which is used to make pies comes from smaller sugar pumpkins. And you can feel free to roast a sugar pumpkin yourself to use in this pie if you are really keen.
Pies made from pureed roasted pumpkin have a wonderful depth of flavor that just isn't found in a can. If you live in a country where canned pumpkin puree is not readily available you may want to try making your own.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN PUMPKIN PUREE
First of all you don't want to be boiling pumpkin to make a puree. You will end up with a very soggy mixture that will be a real pain to dry out enough to use in a pie. Roasting is the only way to go.
To make your own pumpkin puree you will need to begin with a medium to small sugar pumpkin, or squash. Cut the squash in half horizontally and scrape/scoop out any seeds and fibrous matter from the centre.
Line a baking sheet with some oiled foil and then roast the pumpkin halves, cut side down, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours at a moderate heat (350*F/180*C). At that point you should be able to pierce the pumpkin easily with the tip of a knife.
Remove from the oven and scoop out the pulp as soon as you can easily handle the pumpkin halves without burning your hands. If it is still quite watery, you may want to drain it a bit, or squeeze it dry by wrapping it up in a clean tea towel and squeezing it out over the sink.
You can also steam the pieces in a steaming basket over boiling water, but really roasting it will give you the best flavor.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE EASY PUMPKIN PIE
Nothing too out of the ordinary is needed to make an excellent pumpkin pie. This one does require maple syrup, but it does give it a lovely autumnal flavor.
large free range eggs (I only use free range eggs, its a personal choice)
canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
cream (You can also use undiluted evaporated milk in its place)
finely granulated sugar
pure maple syrup
ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and fine seasalt
maple flavoring (if you cannot find this use twice the amount of vanilla)
an unbaked 9-inch pie crust
whipped cream to serve (nice but not necessary)
HOW TO MAKE EASY PUMPKIN PIE
Homemade pumpkin pies are really delicious and this one is such an easy one to make. If you can whisk things together you can make this pie! One thing I love about this recipe is that it makes a very manageable (size wise) pie.
Lots of recipes require an overly large pie dish, or they make more than one pie. I am only one person and so I don't want a lot of pie. As it is I give most of what I bake away, which I don't mind doing, but you know . . .
You can use a thawed frozen single pie crust for this or a refrigerated crust. I will give you my honest opinion on those. The refrigerated crusts I have tried just don't cut the mustard.
They have an odd aftertaste. (I suspect that this comes from the type of fat they use.) If you are going to use a frozen one, I highly recommend the Tenderflake one which is what is available in Canada and very close to homemade in flavor.
Using a ready-made crust makes this pie really easy. I don't mind making my own pie crust however and I cannot recommend my Butter & Lard pastry recipe enough. Its excellent!
It makes the best pastry. Light and flaky and crisp. It is my pie crust of choice. It does make two crusts, but you can shape one into a flat dish and freeze it, tightly wrapped, for future use. It will keep several months.
When you need to use it, simply thaw it out and then roll, etc. as desired.
The filling for this easy pumpkin pie recipe is very simple and quick to make. Its a simple matter of whisking together all of the filling ingredients until they are nice and smooth, being well amalgamated.
Once mixed you just pour the mixture into your pastry lined pie tin and then bake as per the recipe instructions. I always put my pie tin on a baking sheet as it is much easier to move it in and out of the oven without risk of slopping the filling over.
I do the same with all my custard types pies.
You bake it for 15 minutes at a high temperature and then reduce to a lower temperature for the remainder of the bake time. You will know your pie is done when there is only a vague wobble in the center and a knife inserted comes out clean.
It does puff up, but no worries as it falls as it cools.
If you are worried about your pastry getting too dark, you can wrap the edges of your pie in tinfoil. That depends on how hot your oven bakes. I did not have a problem with mine.
I recommend using an oven thermometer every now and then to check the temperature of your oven and adjust your temperatures accordingly.
Today I baked a few little extra pastry cutouts to decorate the top of my pie with. They were easy to make and looked really pretty on the finished pie.
I happen to have a set of small leaf cutters which made that process really easy to do. I baked them separately and then just popped them on the cold pie to serve. I thought they made the perfect decoration!
I like to serve whipped cream with my pumpkin pie. You can whip your own from scratch, or you can use refrigerated spray cream.
That is what I used today. Its really very convenient. Do note that you won't want to add it until just when you are serving the pie. And do not spray it all over the pie as it doesn't hold up for long. Just spray it on the individual servings.
If you are looking for an easy pie to serve during this upcoming Holiday season, you really can't go wrong with this one. Not only is it incredibly easy to make, but it is also delicious!
I love the maple flavor of it and I also like that it is not overly spicy. You can taste the spice but it doesn't smack you in the face. This pie is (as Goldilocks would say) just right.
Pumpkin pie is one of the easiest pies to make, especially if you use a frozen deep dish pie crust (thawed). I usually make my own using my butter/lard crust recipe. This delicious pie is flavored with all the usual spicy suspects and is sweetened and flavored with maple.
3 large free range eggs
1 cup (245g) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup (240ml) cream
1/2 cup (100g) fine granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) pure maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (I like to grate my own fresh)
1/2 tsp maple extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 unbaked deep 9-inch pie crust
whipped cream to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400*F/200*C/ gar mark 6. Have your pie crust ready and waiting on a baking sheet.
Beat together the eggs, pumpkin, cream, sugar, maple syrup, spices, salt and extracts until smooth and well amalgamated. Pour this mixture into the prepared crust.
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350*F/180*C/ gas mark 4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes longer. A knife inserted near the center should come out clean.
Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve the pie cut into wedges with or without a garnish of whipped cream.
If desired you can bake some pastry cut outs to decorate the top of the pie Cut out 1 inch sized leaf shapes, scoring leaf veins in them with a sharp knife. Bake on a baking sheet for 6 to 8 minutes at 400*F/200*C/ gas mark 6. Arrange around the edges of the baked pie.
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