There are two things you must know about me going into this blog post. One: I am a member of my local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and pick up foods from my local farm once a week depending on what is in season and what the farm was able to harvest (I blogged for a year about my CSA here). Two: I hate pumpkin pie. I suppose it would be nicer to say “I don’t really like pumpkin pie,” and that’s what I say when I visit someone who is serving it. But what I really want to say when they offer me one of those big orange slabs is “I’d rather clean your toilet than eat that.”
So, last week when we got a sweet pumpkin in our CSA, I wasn’t terribly thrilled. My husband, however, looooooooves pumpkin pies (as do most normal Americans). So I said to myself, “Self! You’re gonna win ‘Best Wife Of the Year’ award by making your husband a fresh pumpkin pie from scratch that he will end up eating all on his own because you find pumpkin pies revolting. Go you!”
So, I baked the pumpkin, measured it out, realized I had enough for two pies (TWO!!! HELP!!! One yucky pumpkin pie in my house was enough!). I stirred in the spices and sugar for a double recipe, divided it, and stashed half in the freezer for a later date. Then I added the rest of my filling ingredients. Made my crust. Baked the pie. And the house smelled good while the pie cooled for a few hours.
After we watched a little TV, I turned to Matt and gave him the go-ahead for pie cutting. He sliced me a piece to taste, as I warily said, “You’ll eat whatever I don’t finish, right? Which will probably be the entire piece, minus one bite.” He, or course, grinned at the thought of two pieces of pie in one sitting. So we sat. And tasted. And. Oh. My. Goodness. This pie was GOOD! Like REALLY good.
I asked Matt how he liked it, and his analysis was spot on. Matt, you see, loves pumpkin pies. Period. That means he loves store-bought pies; he loves pies made with canned pumpkins; and he loves fresh pies made completely from scratch. Matt loves all pumpkin pies, so of course he was going to love this one; however, this pie was completely different, because it tasted like it had a real pumpkin in it. The fresh pumpkin is what made it so distinct and different. This fresh pie was creamy and almost fluffy, as opposed to the dense pumpkin pies that he typically eats. The fluffiness was something I particularly liked, as well. And, I might add, he said it was the best pumpkin pie he’d had in awhile. (^_^ And we all know, of course, that he wasn’t just saying that to make me happy.)
So. Without further adieu. Here is the recipe:
PUMPKIN PUREE (From Rustic Fruit Desserts, by Cory Schreiber & Julie Richardson)
Use a small pie pumpkin, also called a sugar pumpkin. Cut it in half and scoop out the stringy guts and seeds. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Pour 1/4-1/2 cup water into a greased baking pan and lay the pumpkin cut side down in it. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the pumpkin is very soft. Remove from the oven and flip the pumpkin cut side up to rest. Let cool, then scoop the meat into a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Allow to strain overnight at room temperature (this allows the pumpkin meat to lose some of its water content). Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the pumpkin puree will keep for up to 3 days.
PLAIN PASTRY PIE CRUST (Adapted from the 1962 Edition of Better Homes and Gardens)
2 cups sifted white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup bacon grease
5-7 tablespoons cold water
- Sift together flour and salt.
- Divide bacon grease in half. Cut in first half till mixture looks like cornmeal. Then cut in remaining half till like small peas. (Dividing it makes the crust extra tender and flaky).
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the flour-grease mixture. Gently toss with fork; push to one side of bowl.
- Sprinkle next tablespoon water over dry part; mix lightly; push to moistened part at side. Repeat till all is moistened.
- Gather up with fingers; form into a ball.
- On lightly floured surface, flatten ball slightly and roll 1/8 inch thick. If edges split, pinch together. Always roll spoke-fashion, going from center to edge of dough. Use light strokes.
- To transfer pastry, roll it over rolling pin; unroll pastry over pie plate, fitting loosely onto bottom and sides.
- Make sure edges are crimped high, the filling is generous.
This recipe will make much more dough than is needed for one pie shell. Once you have your pie shell ready, roll out the rest of the dough and cut it into strips.Place strips on a baking sheet. Coast with a little butter and a sprinkle of sugar. Bake for a few minutes (until browned) when you put the pie in the oven. These truly make a tasty treat!
OLD-FASHIONED PUMPKIN PIE (From the 1962 Edition of Better Homes and Gardens)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
3 slightly beaten eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 6-ounce can evaporated milk*
*Instead of evaporated milk, I used powdered milk. According to the tips on this website it’s cheaper and just and simple and using canned evaporated milk. For this recipe, I substituted with 1/2 cup powdered milk & 9/16 cup water (or: 1/2 cup water + a half-filled 1/8 cup of water). If you are going to use the powdered milk substitute, be sure to dissolve the powder in the water BEFORE adding it to the rest of the recipe.
- Set oven to 400 F.
- Thoroughly combine the pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices.
- Blend in eggs, milk and evaporated milk. (I whisked the ingredients a bit at this point in order to blend them better.)
- Pour into unbaked pastry shell.
- Bake 50 minutes, or until knife inserted halfway between center and outside comes out clean.
- Cool before eating.
I hope you enjoy! This is, seriously, the best pumpkin pie recipe I’ve ever tasted, and the only pumpkin pie I’ve ever liked!