Chef-In-Residence

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

by Aida Azizuddin Photography FriedChillies on Tue, December 22, 2009

Pumpkin pie is as much a part of Christmas dinner as a turkey is. A good pie toes the line between sweet and savoury and aromatic with salt-of-the-earth spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and all spice. Delicious!

Nothing beats a fresh homemade pumpkin pie

Like anyone, I am not against taking short cuts in the kitchen. I might make a dough from scratch but use filling from a can- nothing wrong with that. Or I'll whip up a white sauce full of thyme and rosemary, add chicken and stuff it in a ready made puff pastry. For pumpkin pie, making it from scratch is satisfying but if you don't have the time, you can get pumpkin pie filling from a can and add some fresh spices to brighten it up. It depends on your taste really.

Strangely for the time of year, my sister could not find any canned pumpkins. Maybe everyone out there is making pumpkin pie. So I made the filling from fresh pumpkin.


A beautiful golden pie made with fresh pumpkins

Ingredients:
Filling
1 medium pumpkin
250ml evaporated milk
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp all spice
2 eggs

Dough
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
4 ½ tsp sugar
½ cup butter
1 egg yolk
2 tbs ice water

Method:



Peel and slice the pumpkin and roast in medium oven (180 celsius) for half hour.
While the pumpkin is roasting, make the dough.
Blitz flour, sugar, yolk and butter in food processor. Make sure your butter is really cold. You should get a crumbly mixture.



While motor is still on pour ice water slowly. Gather the dough together and wrap it in cling film.
Chill dough in fridge for half hour. If you need it fast, just pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes.



Now back to the filling. Puree pumpkin in a food processor with brown sugar. Usually the pumpkin is sieved after being pureed to get a super smooth texture. However, I think this is unnecessary and I like mine with a little texture.
When smooth, add in all the spices and puree until even.
Add eggs and whizz it again. Now you should have a quite a smooth mixture.



Pre heat oven to 180 celsius when you are about to roll your pastry. An easy way to roll pastry is to do it in the plastic wrap. This helps keep it together.
Once you lay it out in the pie dish, prick the dough so that air doesn’t get trapped between the dough and the plate. Have a little bit of extra dough on top because it would shrink when baked.
Now you need to blind bake by putting parchment paper with beans on top. What I do though is brush an egg wash on the pastry so it cooks. This works just as well and you don’t have to go around looking for beans. Egg wash prevents it from bubbling up making it uneven.

After 15 minutes, you can put the filling in and bake for another 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Results:

You should get a wonderful, warm orange coloured pie. The pie should be firm but yielding to the bite.
Serve it with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Chef says:


Do not be intimidated in making fresh pumpkin filling. Though the canned ones are tasty enough, nothing beats homemade filling and best thing is that you can control the level of sweetness.

This basic pie crust is great with other kinds of fruit. Pour in some canned cherries for a cherry pie or toss sliced apples with brown sugar, cinnamon and a little flour for a simple apple pie.

Now all you need to do is pick up a fork and eat!

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