Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pumpkin Spice-less Pumpkin Pie. All Glory to the Pumpkin! Down With the Spice!

So recently I have been rebelling against the "pumpkin spice" phenomena and advocating for use of the glorious orange fruit of the vine in ways that allow the pumpkiness to shine through. Pumpkin pie is one of the worst abusers of the meddlesome melange of spices. Most "pumpkin" pies should really be called "cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg flavored congealed paste pie." This is upsetting as the natural sweetness of punkin' fortified with a little more sugar (or some such other sweetener) doesn't really need much help... So I decided to come up with my own "pie spice"-less recipe.

I started with a head-sized specimen of my new favorite pumpkin. You can read all about the wonderful Long Island cheese pumpkin here. Mr. Pumpkin got seeded quartered, roasted at 350 for 2 or so hours, and finally skinned and ran through a food mill. This results in about 4 cups of punkin' flesh.

I find that one of the secrets to a good pumpkin pie is evaporated milk. It lends a certain richness and texture without the overbearing creaminess of actual cream. You can buy a tin, but for assuredly tasty dairy you can make it yourself. I reduced 2 pints of Battenkill Creamery whole milk until it became 1 pint. The whole mess goes in with the pumpkin flesh.

My next secret pumpkin pie weapon is some powder/paste made from roasted pumpkin seeds. This adds a roasty component as well as some fatty mouth feel to your pie. I grind up the seeds in my spice grinder with some salt. I add a third of a cup to the pie.

Aside from that - 2 jumbo eggs (from Stewart's of course), 1/2 cup white sugar (brown adds molasses notes that I find mask the punkin'), 1/3 cup honey, and a spare 1/4 teaspoon of good vanilla. I whisk it by hand. I don't mind a bit of a toothsome texture in my pies. 

Without the brown sugar and copious cinnamon of a standard recipe the orange color of the cheese pumpkin shows through in the batter.

A note on my choice of crust. I am very anal about certain things. Pumpkin pie is one of them. I believe it is one of those items that has a defined form that shouldn't be meddled with. Part of this ideal form is a shitty, processed, graham cracker crust. Trust me, I am no stranger to DIY kitchen projects. The things I have made by hand would flabbergast many an old kitchen hand. However, I have not yet gotten around to producing a wholesome version of the graham cracker crust. So as of now I leave pumpkin pie crust making to the fine elves of Keebler. You don't need to tell me about all of the heinous shit that processed pie crusts contain. I am fully aware. I make concessions for tradition's sake.

You should get two thinnish pies from this recipe. The custard of an ideal pumpkin pie should be somewhere between 3/4" and 1" thick. No thicker. Big 2-3 inch pumpkin pies look good on the pinterist but are shit for eating. 

Bake the pies for about an hour at 350 and there you have it.

Delicious orange pie. The sugar, honey, and hint of vanilla are all you need to support the flavor of the roasted pumpkin. If you don't like this pie, I'm sorry child, but you do not like pumpkin. You are allowed to continue purchasing PSLs and huffing pumpkin spice candles but what you are really a fan of is cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg (clove/allspice/mace too perhaps). I'm sorry if I have thrown you into crisis.

And that is that. I prefer my pie unadorned but some whipped cream would not be out of place. I am a pretty grim individual and even I can't help but smile at the site of a nice wedge of pie. 

Follow my example. Free your pie from the shackles of its spice. Not every pumpkin pie has to smell like the sachet of potpourri in your grandmother's underwear drawer. Let the flavors of the earthy orange globe shine through. This is all I have to say for the moment.

1 comment:

  1. Can you break down this recipe for someone who is going to be using evaporated milk from the store and also canned pumpkin puree (yeah, but I don't have time to make my own). I'd really like to try it!


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