Pumpkin Pie

Makes 1, 9-inch (22.5-cm) pie

This pumpkin pie recipe has been a favorite in our family for many years with a delicous spice combination. Canned pumpkin is convenient  to use but homemade pumpkin puree offers a tasty alternative. To make fresh pumpkin purée, be sure to use “pie” pumpkins, which are smaller and sweeter with more pulp than in a large Hallowe’en pumpkins.

  • 1 unbaked flaky pastry shell, not pricked
  • 1 1/2  cups  (375 ml) puréed pumpkin, fresh or canned (see Note)
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp (4 ml) ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml)  cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml)   ground cloves
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk, or part cream
  • Garnish: 1/2 cup (125 ml) whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). In a mixing bowl, combine the puréed pumpkin with sugar, spices and salt. Whisk the egg and milk together and stir into the pumpkin mixture. This mixture is thin, so either pour it into the unbaked pie shell and carefully place it in the oven, or place the shell in the oven and pour in the mixture.
2. Bake for 15 minutes to cook the pastry, then reduce heat to 350ºF (180ºC) and bake for 25 minutes until the centre is firm  to finger touch or a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the pie, but not overnight as the filling shrinks from the pastry which makes it less appetizing.
3. To serve, decorate with cream whipped to soft peaks and sweetened with icing sugar. Drop small dollops around the edge of the pie or place the whipped cream in a piping bag with rosette tip and pipe around the edge of the pie.

Note: To cook fresh pumpkin, cut it in half and remove and preserve the seeds. Cut each half into quarters and place them in a roasting pan; toss with a spoonful (15 ml) of vegetable oil. Bake in a 400ºF (200ºC) oven until tender, about 35 – 40 minutes. Cool; peel and purée.
To toast the seeds, remove any pulp left on the seeds. Place seeds on baking sheet and toss with a little oil and coarse sea salt to taste plus a little ground spice from Mexican chilli powder to ground cumin or coriander. Roast about 20 minutes until crisp and tasty.

Flaky Pastry    Makes pastry for the top and bottom of a 9-inch (22.5-cm) pie

2 cups  (500 ml)unbleached all-purpose flour plus 1/2 cup (125 ml) for rolling pastry
1/2 tsp (2 ml)salt
1/2 cup (125 ml)cold  butter
1/2 cup (125 ml) cold shortening or lard reduce
1/2 cup (125 ml)ice water

Food processor:
1. Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Cut the fat into cubes and add to the machine. Pulse on and off just until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle in the ice water and pulse until the mixture begins to form a ball. Remove the dough and gently knead into a ball with your fingers. Halve the dough and gently flatten into two 3-inch (7.5-cm) disks. Chill for 30 minutes.
2. Sprinkle remaining flour on the work surface and the rolling pin. Sprinkle a disk with a little flour. Gently roll out to a 5-inch (10.5-cm) diameter. Pick the dough up and sprinkle more flour on and under it and on the rolling pin. Roll the dough into a slightly thinner and larger circle. Pick up the circle, sprinkle more flour under and over it and keep shaping the circle so the  edges are unbroken. Clean off the rolling pin with flour and repeat this process at least three more times until you have a circle that is 1/8-inch (1/2-cm) thick and 2-inches larger than the pie plate. Fold the pastry circle in half.
3. Place the folded pastry’s straight edge across the middle of the pan. Unfold and gently press down into the pan sides and bottom without stretching dough from the centre. Cut the overhanging pastry with scissors to 1/2-inch (2-cm) beyond the rim. Fold the overhang under the pastry edge. Chill for 10 minutes or freeze for 5 minutes before adding mixture.4.
4. Preheat oven to (425ºF (220ºC). Bake about 15 minutes and reduce oven to 350ºF (220ºC) for 25 minutes until the centre is firm or a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the pie, but not overnight as the filling shrinks from the pastry which makes it less appetizing. 

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