My all-time FAVORITE Thanksgiving dessert is Pumpkin Pie. Because my hubby and I are lacto-vegetarians and don’t eat or bake foods with eggs, we always miss out on this yummy treat unless I bake an eggless pumpkin pie myself. So, that was my plan this Thanksgiving.
With that in mind, I purchased a Sweetie Pie (or was it Sugar Pie?) pumpkin at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market a few weeks ago. The pumpkin came labeled with instructions on how to bake it, make puree, as well as having a Pumpkin Pie recipe. For those easy baking instructions, read our post Celebrating Autumn’s Orange, they’re right at the end.
Baked / roasted the pumpkin the day before Thanksgiving, simplifying the instructions. Cut the pumpkin in half with a sturdy sharp knife. Cleaned out the seeds & strings. Put the pumpkin on a non-stick cookie pan cut-side down. Covered the whole pumpkin & cookie sheet with aluminum foil crimping the edges closed. And then baked it for an hour and a half. Couldn’t be easier!
The roasted, slightly caramelized, flesh scoops away from the tender skin easily. You get all of the pulp, no hard rind to deal with. Once scooped into a medium sized mixing bowl, either smash the aromatic flesh into a smooth puree by hand with an old-fashioned potato masher like I did or use your blender to do the task. Then make the filling as follows:
Pumpkin Pie Filling
BLEND until smooth:
1-1/3 cup Pumpkin puree
1 can organic Sweetened Condensed Milk (Trader Joe’s carries some)
1 egg or egg substitute
1-1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon (I used Saigon)
1/2 tsp each ground Nutmeg & ground Ginger
1/4 tsp ground Cloves
Pinch of ground Coriander
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 cup organic Half and Half
C’s TIPS: I use Ener-G brand egg replacer, which substitutes well in baking recipes requiring 1-2 eggs, max. Having used this egg replacer for 40 years of egg free baking, at times, it doesn’t seem to firm up quite enough. It worked PERFECTLY this time. The trick, I suspect, was making the filling the evening before and refrigerating it overnight.
The next morning I took out the frozen Trader Joe’s pie crusts that I had left in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. The 2-crust package indicated they were for a 9 inch pie…saying the edge of the crust would overlap the pie plate generously enough to make a rim. NOT! I gently put the crust into the glass pie pan as instructed and discovered, to my dismay, there wasn’t even close to enough crust to make a fluted edge!
Improv #1: At least I had a second crust to work with! Took a small sharp knife and cut 1-1/4 inch circle of pastry dough from the outer edge of the other crust. After moistening* the top of the interior crust, I put the “rim” pastry over it so the top laid on the pie pan edge. And pressed the two crusts together with a gentle firmness.
*Cynthe’s TIPS: It’s easy to “glue” pastry dough together with water. Here’s how: Dip your finger into water and run it lightly over the dough surface where you want the crust to bind together. Lap the pastry dough, press, and seal.
Next, I used a simple pie crust edge fluting technique. Apologies for not having a photo of this process. (Bill and Marc were both still in bed.) I don’t have a remote camera shutter release, so couldn’t set up the shot using my tripod. I’ll attempt to describe this simple method with words: To shape a fluted pie crust, use your pointer finger to press the dough against the thumb & index finger of your other hand. You’ll end up with an attractive raised zig zag pattern like you see here.
Now you’re ready to pour in the batter. And follow the rest of the recipe:
~ POUR into a 9 inch pie shell.
~ PRE-HEAT the oven to 415F.
~ BAKE at 415F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and continue baking for another 45-55 minutes until set. (Center of pie may move ‘slightly’ when shaken.)
~ COOL to room temperature before eating.
~ SERVE with freshly whipped Heavy Cream slightly sweetened with Cane Sugar and a touch of Vanilla. (Use organic ingredients, if you can find them.)
Improv #2: Started pre-heating the oven while working on the pie crust. Unfortunately, the oven was misbehaving, blaring out an annoying beep after only 3 minutes of pre-heating and flashing an error code. Cleared the settings & timer 3-4 times, to no avail. So, it was our old toaster oven to the rescue!
Was relieved not to be hosting a large holiday gathering this year. In fact, Bill and I had Thanksgiving Day to ourselves. Marc and his brother, Dave, were going to their Dad’s house. Bill’s folks, younger sister & sort-of hubby, had made plans to go to a seafood restaurant….definitely NOT our sort of celebration! It was a nice change being free to do exactly as we pleased.
The night before, was browsing through other pumpkin recipes as we had much more cooked pumpkin than the pie recipe required. Pulled out two huge white binders of interesting recipes Bri’s had collected, to look through.
A yummy sounding streusel-topped pumpkin pie recipe caught my eye. The original recipe, titled Brown Family’s Favorite Pumpkin Pie, is quite similar to the one from the pumpkin label with a bit less ground cinnamon, no coriander, and a few more eggs. Its streusel topping was a creative variation on this classic holiday dessert decided to give it a try.
~ 2 Tablespoons organic all-purpose Flour
~ 1/4 cup packed organic Brown Sugar
~ 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon (I used Saigon)
~ 2 Tablespoons, chilled organic Butter
~ 1 cup, fresh chopped Walnuts (organic, if you can find them)
While the pie bakes for the first 15 minutes, prepare the streusel. I made the mistake of adding the walnuts before the butter. Don’t try it! Being rather difficult to make a crumbly mix with the butter, when you already have walnuts tossed in.
After the streusel is made, spread it evenly over the partially cooked pie. Reduce the oven heat and return the pie to finish baking.
Cool the pie to room temperature before refrigerating or serving. Pumpkin pie is extra good served with whipped cream slightly sweetened plus a touch of vanilla. Top it off with a sprinkling of fragrant ground Ceylon cinnamon.
Marc, Bill, and I have been nibbling at the pie starting Thanksgiving evening, some on Friday, and off-and-on all day Saturday. I made them wait until Saturday afternoon, so I could take the feature photo for this article.
Then we served that generous piece to Bill as a day early celebration of his 61st birthday. He enjoyed every bite!
Printable Recipe: Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie (PDF)
SOURCES of inspiration:
~ The label on the Sweetie Pie pumpkin (for baking/roasting instrux plus the basic recipe)
~ My friend Sandy’s pumpkin pie recipe (for the addition of ground Coriander)
~ Brown Family’s Favorite Pumpkin Pie (from Bri’s recipe binder, dated October 14, 2003, for the streusel topping)