Vanilla Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving is a holiday that  swings open the arms of home to invite in everyone that can fit at the table. We gorge ourselves to the brim with chat and turkey with all the trimmings until we can’t possibly fit another bite… but then comes the pie.

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie is one of those sacred American dishes. You have to have it on Thanksgiving, no ifs, ands or buts.

The culinary rules say that since dessert is the last thing to cross our pallets, it had better be impressive, with flavour that beats out everything you’ve eaten thus far this meal. Never to be an afterthought, I have added a vanilla pod to the mix to ramp up the warming aromatics that make this pie utterly deserving of centre stage. I think this Vanilla Pumpking Pie is just the ticket.

VANILLA PUMPKIN PIE

INGREDIENTS

One Quantity Basic Pie Crust (See my post on Short Crust and follow directions for Basic Pie Crust)

425g Solid Pack Pumpkin Puree
2 Large Eggs
250ml Double Cream (or  a combination of double cream and evaporated milk)
180g Caster Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Table Salt
1 Vanilla Pod, seeds stripped for use
1 1/4 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Fresh Grate Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves

METHOD

First thing, preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f.

Pumpkin pie is terribly easy because all you do is mix your spices and vanilla seeds together with your sugar in a bowl, stir in the pumpkin, then stir in lightly beaten eggs. Try not to incorporate too much air as you want zero bubbles with any baked custard (yes, that is what this technically is). Don’t throw away that vanilla pod case, by the way! Put it in a jar of sugar and use this in whatever you like – it’s great in pancakes, cakes, cookies and biscuits or a cup of strong coffee.

Cover the pumpkin mixture and pop it in the fridge to infuse while you sort out your pie crust.

Roll out chilled pie crust and line a fluted 28cm pie tin. Cover with cling film and pop it in the freezer for 5-10mins. Or if you, like me, have zero room for anything in your freezer (not even ice), pop it in the fridge for 20mins. It should be completely firm when it comes out. Keep the scraps of dough for patching after blind baking.

pie crust

After chilling the pastry until firm, line it with a parchment paper cartouche ( a round piece of paper used in cooking), crinkled so it can be pushed into the corners well, and fill with baking beans to the rim. Blind bake (without filling) at 200°c/400°f for 15 minutes or until the sides are set up. Then remove the beans with a large spoon and the cartouche and bake for another 5-10 minutes until lightly golden with no gray patches of raw pastry left behind. You don’t want a soggy bottom! Lower the temprature of your oven to 160°c/325°f.

Now patch up any cracks with scraps from the raw pastry and pour in the pumpkin mixture until it is full as you can make it without slopping over. As this is custard, you don’t need to worry about it rising but it could souffle if cooked at too high a temperature or for too long. So leave about a half cm or a quarter inch of pastry at the top. Bake this for 40-50 minutes until the center of the filling wobbles only slightly or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve with a generous dollop of vanilla whipped cream.

Recipe adapted from Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie Recipe.

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