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Pumpkin 2 : Me 5,893,428,176,8… I Win!

November 11, 2009

Not only did I bake another pumpkin pie as promised, but I actually got around to trying my hand at my very first pumpkin carving session… with surprisingly satisfactory results. Sure, they’re no works of art, but considering my lack of experience and appropriate tools – all I had was an Ikea paring knife – I think I did okay!

In regards to pumpkin pie round 2, this slightly-tweaked recipe made for a more refined pie with more depth of flavours. I like.

So, without further ado, here’s my recipe:


Pâte Sucrée (shortcrust pastry):

240g         plain flour (sifted)
125 g        unsalted butter (diced and chilled)
pinch        salt
20 g         caster sugar
5 ml         cold water
1              egg
2 tsp         vanilla essence

Pie Filling:

500 g        pumpkin (cleaned)
–               olive oil
–               salt
170 g        brown or muscovado sugar
2              eggs
140  ml     thickened cream (light is fine)
to taste      nutmeg, ground ginger and all-spice
60 ml        milk (either low-fat or full-fat)
1              vanilla pod (sliced horizontally to expose the seeds)
1              cinnamon stick
1-2           cloves
4 T           ground hazelnut
4 T           maple syrup

To Top it Off:

Cream (to be whipped), maple syrup and hazelnut croquant.



METHOD

The Pastry:
If you’ve bought pastry, just skip down to the actual pie recipe.

1. Combine the dry ingredients: flour, salt and sugar.

2. Rub the dry mixture and the butter between your fingers and your thumb until you have a fine sandy consistency (make sure you’re hands aren’t too hot or you’ll just melt the butter! Tip: keep things cool by running your hands under cold water, drying them and getting back into it).

3. Add the vanilla essence and the egg, working quickly with your cool, ninja-like fingertips. Add as much or as little water as needed. The dough should be a lovely pale yellow colour and be smooth (without leaving traces on your fingers/bowl/countertop).

4. Knead it a couple times quickly to ensure that is well-combined before resting it for 30 minutes: roll it into a ball, flatten it out into a disc, wrap in glad wrap/cling film and place in the fridge.


On to the Pie:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.

2. Slice pumpkin into fist-sized chunks.

3. Rub the pumpkin pieces in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake for 45 minutes.

4. Roll out your pastry between 3-5mm thick, place it in your pie pan (use the rolling pin to lift the pastry) and trim the edges.

5. Rest the pastry for 30 minutes in the fridge. This will prevent the dreaded pastry-shrinkage-problem many people have.

6. Gently steep the vanilla, cinnamon and clove(s) in the milk.

7. Remove pumpkin from the oven and turn down the oven to 180°C.

8. Remove the skin: spoon the pumpkin flesh away from the skin and into a large bowl. It’ll be super hot, so hold the pumpkin pieces with a tea towel and be careful!

9. Puree/blend the pumpkin. I don’t have a food processor or a blender at the apartment I’m staying at, so I passed it through a chinois (very fine strainer) – oh, the fun…

10. Dock and blind bake the pastry. You can remove the foil/baking paper & your chosen ‘weights’ (i.e. rice, pulses) halfway through and finish the blind bake without them.

11. Turn the oven down to 160°C. Take your pie case out of the oven once it is oh-so-lightly coloured and leave it to cool.

12. Next up, cream the eggs and sugar. Stir in the pumpkin and, once incorporated, add the strained milk and cream. Sprinkle in the spices to taste.

13. Brush your pastry base with the maple syrup and then sprinkle a thin even layer of ground hazelnut.

14. Pour in the pumpkin mix and bake for 50 minutes. The pie should have risen slightly in the centre, but it will collapse once cooled.

The Best Part:
This little bit extra isn’t at all necessary, but hell, we only live once:

Whip the cream and fold in maple syrup to taste. Give yourself a nice spoonful on the side of your pumpkin pie and sprinkle some hazelnut croquant on top. Now all that’s left to do is savour your work. Enjoy!

P.S. Pumpkin… is not that bad! Guess I can add pumpkin to the list of foods that I’m growing into.

N

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