pumpkin pie 2018

Growing up in Australia, pumpkin pie really wasn't a thing. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving and pumpkins are available all year round. My parents owned a few American cookbooks so when I was 16 I decided to make a pumpkin pie. I was also making apple strudel and attempting croissants at that age, so I was nothing if not international!

I can't remember whether I pre-cooked the pie shell all those years ago but that's what I do these days.

The pumpkin filling is one I've been using for the past few years. I roast the pumpkin first for maximum flavour before mashing it with a fork. I like a smooth filling so I used to pass it through a sieve but my stick blender does such a good job, that step is now superfluous.

Here’s the recipe for you which makes a 23cm/9 inch pie. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Pumpkin Pie
250g plain flour 
¼ teaspoon salt 
150g cold butter, diced 
75mls cold water 

345g (1¼ cups) pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons maple syrup
250ml can Nestle Reduced Fat Cream or you could use regular cream or sour cream
½ cup brown sugar 
3 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger

To serve
Double cream/icing sugar for dusting/candied pecans (optional)

To make the pastry, on a flat work surface combine the flour and salt and then incorporate the cold diced butter with your fingers. Rub the butter into the flour until the butter pieces are no larger than the size of peas. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the cold water. Using your hands, mix the water into the flour until dough is formed. Or you can pulse the flour, butter and salt together in a food processor 10 times, before adding a little of the water then whizzing the mixture a few times until the dough just starts to come together. Flatten out the dough a little then wrap the dough in plastic and put in the refrigerator for one hour.

Spray the pie dish with olive oil spray. I used the le Creuset heritage pie dish from Everten. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of baking paper and roll to a 4 mm-thick disc. Line the base and side of the dish with pastry and trim any excess. Pinch edges to crimp then place in the fridge for another hour to rest. I like to make a few leaves for decoration, brushed with milk then heavily dredged with raw sugar and I bake these until golden brown while pre-baking the pastry case.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line the pastry case with crumpled baking paper and fill with pastry weights, rice or beans. Bake for 45 minutes or until light golden brown but start checking the pastry at 30 minutes as all ovens are different. My pie crust took an hour to bake. Remove the pie from the oven to a cooling rack and wait 10 minutes before removing the paper and weights. Set aside to cool completely. This step can be done ahead of time.

To make the filling, combine the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, cream, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger in a bowl. Whisk until smooth, then pour through a sieve into a large jug. If you have a stick blender then place everything into the large jug and blend until smooth. No need for the sieve. Place the pie dish on an ovenproof tray, then pour the filling over the pastry. 

Bake in the centre of the 180°C oven for about one hour or until just set but start checking at the 40 minutes mark. Set aside to cool completely then store covered in the fridge. Just before serving, dust the pie with icing sugar if desired. Cut into wedges and serve with double cream and some candied pecans if you're so inclined. (I ate them all, long before the pie was served)

I didn't manage to get a slice of the pie before it disappeared but I guess that's a good sign.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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