Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

(Listening: Elliot Carter *: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 4)

Growing up, there was an unwritten rule: pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and mince pie on Christmas. Or is that two rules?  There also was “elbows off the table!” but that’s not about pie unless you’re eating it with your elbows on the table.
This is the recipe my mother used for years and the tradition continues. I don’t know where she found it (back of a can of pumpkin puree?) but it’s the pumpkin pie we grew up on. Some recipes use half and half or cream or evaporated milk or a different spice blend  (nutmeg and mace, the dried outer covering of the nutmeg seed, are commonly used). If you grew up on a specific recipe you tend to honor it on the holidays.
There is one ingredient that doesn't appear in the original recipe and that’s cornstarch. Pumpkin pie has a tendency to crack. Cornstarch prevents surface cracking in custard pies.
This year I used puree from a sugar pumpkin I found at the store but feel free to be less “Martha-like” and open a can of pumpkin puree. We always did.

Pumpkin Pie
For one 9” pie
You will also need crust for one 9” pie

1 ¼ cups pumpkin puree
1 cup milk
2 eggs                                                              
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the crust to 1/8th inch thickness and fit it into the pie plate. Trim and  crimp the edges and refrigerate the shell while you make the filling.
2. Place the pumpkin puree into a bowl along with the milk, eggs, and sugars. Whisk until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until combined.
3. When the oven is hot, remove the pie shell and place it onto a baking pan. Fill the pie shell with the filling. Place the pie into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the filling has set. Remove pie from oven and let cool before serving.

* 1908 - 2012  Rest in Peace

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