Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday is PIE DAY!

Pumpkin pie seemed like the natural choice to feature on Thanksgiving weekend Pie Day, and I just finished off a leftover piece for my breakfast, so it is fresh on my mind (and my stomach!).  Pumpkin pie, and it's southern cousin, sweet potato pie, are Thanksgiving classics, and many people can't imagine celebrating the day without one.  I baked three pumpkin pies on Wednesday, and I wish I could always have that smell in my house (those scented candles are not even close).

There are definitely two camps of pumpkin pie people-the canned pumpkin lovers and the fresh pumpkin purists.  I have to say that I have no particular allegiance to either one.   I love a pie made from fresh pumpkin, but it does take a bit more work, and often a lot of finesse, to prevent the filling from being too watery.  Canned pumpkin is perfectly acceptable, but if you'd like to try your hand at fresh, you'll have to pay close attention to the thickness of your pumpkin.  Be sure to cook it down long enough (slowly on low heat) to reduce the water content and produce a nice thick base.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

1 10" unbaked pie shell
2 cups pumpkin (fresh or canned)
2 eggs
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt
1 can evaporated milk

-mix together pumpkin, eggs, sugars and spices
-slowly add evaporated milk, stirring until combined
-beat all for 2 minutes
-pour into prepared, unbaked pie shell
-bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake additional 45 minutes
-pie is done when knife inserted in center comes out clean

Of course, this needs to be served with a nice big dollop of freshly whipped cream (I will use canned pumpkin, but never, ever, "whipped topping"), and I like to add a few extra decorative crust bites.  These are easy to make with leftover crust ends.  Just roll out and cut into desired shape with a cookie cutter, then bake them at 350 on a cookie sheet until they are puffy and nicely browned.  You can use a few to doll up the top of the pie, or nestle them into your whipped cream.  Perfect.

I hope that you all had a lovely Thanksgiving Day, and indulged in a piece  (or two) of pumpkin pie.

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