11/24/2011

#27 Maple Pumpkin Pie

Posted by Chrisi

If you had asked me, “What’s your favorite pie?” before I began this blog, I would have replied, “Pumpkin pie!” without hesitation.  But now that I have made 30+ different pies, I would have a much harder time picking my favorite.  The simple chess pie would be a top contender, as well as the nectarine lime pie.  That said, Maple Pumpkin Pie is still in my top five and it is the pie that I make most often.  I make it when the weather first turns cool and the leaves begin to change.  I make it for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. I make it when anyone asks.

Roasting fresh pumpkin is an autumn ritual for me.  My husband and I select pumpkins from Meyer’s pumpkin patch on Highway 33 in Penn Laird, VA.  Pumpkins are artfully arranged in an old shed and purchased via an honor system—you just drop the cash in the locked box.  We leave with three or four Fairytale Pumpkins, which are not your typical pie pumpkins (I’ve used the more traditional sugar pie pumpkins in the past).  The fairytale pumpkins are flat like a cheese round and the rind is a pale tannish-orange. The flesh is medium orange, tender and sweet. This “pumpkin haul” is usually enough to last us until the subsequent fall… unless I go nuts (I love all things pumpkin).  In the past I have made pumpkin gnocchi, pumpkin bread (loaf and muffins), pumpkin waffles, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin chocolate brownies, pumpkin soup, roasted pumpkin in pasta, pumpkin chiffon pie, etc.  

The original recipe is in Pie.  I have adjusted the spices because I prefer a little more cinnamon and nutmeg and a little less ginger.  The quantities below produce a rather spiced pie.  Some may say that this ratio masks the subtle pumpkin flavor.  I say, “to each her own.”  The original recipe uses 1 teaspoon of ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.  Regardless of the ratio, I urge you to use freshly ground spices.  It makes a dramatically better pumpkin pie!

How to roast fresh pumpkin:
Cut the pumpkin in half.  Use an ice cream scoop to remove the seeds and strings.  Place the pumpkins, cut side down, in a roasting pan or large casserole dish.  Add ~1/4” of water to the pan.  Bake in a 375F oven until the flesh is soft when pierced with a fork, about 45-60 minutes.  Once the pumpkin is cool, scoop out the flesh with an ice cream scoop into a colander.  Allow excess water to drain from the pumpkin.  Puree in a food processor.  If necessary, cook to thicken.  
Crust: 9” partially baked pie crust.  

Filling:
·       1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
·       1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
·       1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
·       1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
·       1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
·       1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
·       3/4 teaspoon sea salt
·       4 large, organic eggs
·       1 cup organic half and half
·       1/2 cup dark, pure maple syrup
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·       1 3/4 cups of fresh pumpkin puree (1 15 oz. can)

Directions:
Mix the brown sugar, flour, spices and salt in a small bowl and set aside.  Lightly beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk in the half and half, maple syrup and vanilla.  Add the spice mixture to the wet ingredients.  Add the pumpkin.  Stir ingredients with a whisk to thoroughly combine.  Pour filling into the pre-baked pie crust.  Bake at 350F for 60 minutes (+/- 10 minutes).  Serve at room temperature.



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