Monday, October 01, 2007

The BEST Pumpkin Pie


I hear that some parts of the country are still in the high 80's or above, but where I live, today was a pumpkin-pie kind of day...chilly, blustery, and off-and-on rainy. Since I was heading to the grocery store anyway, I picked up a few ingredients, and whipped up a couple of pies using my favorite pumpkin pie recipe. What makes this pie so yummy is that you scorch the pumpkin puree to carmelize the sugars. It has such a good flavor! I doubled the recipe below and made 2 pies.

This recipe comes from my most treasured cookbook: Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking. It is a 2-volume, 1500+ page work from the 1950's era. Someday maybe I will do a blog post on why this cookbook is so awesome and stands out among all my other cookbooks. The short version is that the recipes are very descriptive and detailed.

I will quote the recipe exactly as it is printed in the cookbook.

A delicious mildly spiced pie. Scorching the pumpkin, as Grandma did, gives excellent flavor

Pastry for 9-inch Single Crust
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree or home cooked
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar, pkd
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup 12% cream, half-and-half

Adjust rack 4 or 5 inches above bottom of oven. Start oven 10 min before baking; set to moderately hot (425 degrees F).

Make pastry. Roll out and line a 9-inch pie pan, fitting well into angles. Trim off with scissors 1/2-inch beyond pan rim; turn overhang under so fold is even with pan rim. Crimp with fork leaving edge flat or flute with fingers. Do not prick pastry. Turn pumpkin into a 3-qt saucepan, place over direct heat, cook and stir until it is dried out and the natural sugar in it is slightly carmelized (scorched but not burned). This takes about 10 min. Remove from heat. Beat eggs until just mixed, stir in sugar, milk and spices that have been blended to a smooth paste with the hot water. Stir in pumpkin, salt and cream until thoroughly blended. Pour into pastry-lined pan. Bake 15 min; then reduce heat to slow (300 degrees F), opening oven a min or so for heat to drop rapidly to 300 degrees F. Bake about 25 min longer or until custard has coagulated all except a small circle in center. This will set later. Remove to cake rack to cook to lukewarm before cutting. 6 servings.

Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking. Copyright 1969, by Meta Given. Published by J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, Chicago.

Ingredients for 9-inch single crust pastry shell

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp vegetable shortening
3 1/3 tbsp room temperature water

There are some very good, detailed instructions for making pie crust in this cookbook, which I don't have time to type up tonight, but if anyone wants them, let me know in a comment, and I will do a pie crust post soon.

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