08 November 2008

keep yer forks...there's pie!

one of cosmo's familiar favorite songs is "turkey in the straw." he once wrote his own version punkin' in the pie, which basically goes:
"punkin' in the pie...do do do doooo,"
i consider it his first song, and, of course, i love it.

i sing it to myself whenever i make pumpkin pie. like today. one of the best things about november (other than barak obama being elected president of the united states), is pumpkin pie. this one turned out as yummy as i remember from last year. i bake the pumpkins beforehand (or, carl sweetly bakes them for me), and then puree them. the crust gets pre-baked, with pie weights (i have a jar of dry chickpeas that i keep for just this purpose) so it doesn't get soggy.

today we were talking about stocking up on pumpkins while we can still find them at the farmer's market, and storing them in our garage-turned-workshop/studio-space. it's insulated. carl loves to bake pumpkin bread, and i do like me some pie!

update: the recipe
my notes:
i bake the pumpkin ahead of time. i simply cut a pumpkin in half, place it face down on a cookie sheet, and bake it at 350F, for an hour and 15 minutes, to an hour and a half. once it has cooled a bit, the peel comes off easily. then i puree it in the food processor, but you could also use a potato masher.
i sometimes make the crust the night before, stick it in the fridge, and make the pie in the morning.
this crust rocks. i use it for all sweet pies now. the little bit of sugar gives a lot of flavor, and helps with browning.

Flaky Crust

for any single curst pie, 8 to 10 inches in diameter. double the recipe for a two-crust pie.


1⅛ cups (about 5 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus some for dusting work surface

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

8 Tbsp. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into about 8 pieces

~ About 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed


  1. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the container of a food processor; pulse once or twice. Add the butter and turn on the machine; process until the butter and flour are blended and the mixture looks like cornmeal, about 10 seconds.
  2. Place the mixture in a bowl and sprinkle 3 tablespoons of water over it. Use a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula to gradually gather the mixture into a ball; if the mixture seems dry, add another ½ tablespoon ice water. When you can make the mixture into a ball with your hands, do so. Wrap in plastic wrap, flatten into a small disk, and freeze the dough for 10 minutes (or refrigerate for 30 minutes); this will ease rolling. (You can also refrigerate the dough for a day or two, or freeze it almost indefinitely.)
  3. You can roll the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap, usually quite successfully; sprinkle both sides of it with a little more flour, then proceed. Or sprinkle a countertop or large board with flour. Unwrap the dough and place it on the work surface; sprinkle its top with flour. If the dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes; it should give a little when you press your fingers into it.
  4. Roll with light pressure, from the center out. (If the dough seems very sticky at first, add flour liberally; but if it becomes sticky only after you roll it for a few minutes, return it to the refrigerator for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Continue to roll, adding small amounts of flour as necessary, rotating the dough occasionally, and turning it over once or twice during the process. (Use ragged edges of dough to repair any tears, adding a drop of water while you press the patch into place.) When the dough is about 10 inches in diameter (it will be less than ¼-inch thick), place your pie plate upside down over it to check the size.
  5. Move the dough into the pie plate by draping it over the rolling pin or by folding it into quarters, then moving it into the plate and unfolding it. When the dough is in the plate, press it firmly into the bottom, sides, and junction of bottom and sides. Trim the excess dough to about ½ inch all around, then tuck it under itself around the edge of the plate. Decorate the edges with a fork or your fingers. Freeze the dough for 10 minutes (or refrigerate it for 30 minutes).
  6. When you’re ready to bake, prick it all over with a fork.

To pre-bake the crust

preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
tear off a piece of foil large enough to fit over the entire crust when folded in half. smear butter on one side of the foil, then press it into the crust. weight the foil with a pile of dried beans or pie weights or a tight fitting skillet or sauce pan--anything that will sit flat on the surface.
bake 12 minutes. remove from the oven, reduce the heat to 350 F, and carefully remove the weight and foil.
bake another 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is a beautiful shade of brown.

start the filling while the crust is baking

when crust is done, turn the oven to 375 F


3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
pinch salt
2 cups pureed pumpkin (can use canned, if you wish)
2 cups half-and-half, light cream or whole milk

Beat eggs with the sugar, then add the spices and salt. Stir in the pumpkin puree and the the half-and-half. While the curst is baking, warm this mixture in a medium saucepan over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is hot to the touch; do not boil.
Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Pour this mixture into the still-hot crust and bake 30-40 minutes, until the mixture shakes like jell-o but is still quite moist. cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

from the book How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman


Anonymous said...

Yours looks great, but I'm more of a sweet potato pie girl myself, so that's what I make. :) And our pumpkin plants all died this year, so we're left with only sweet potatoes to work with anyway.

Heather@Twin Birch said...

hey! cute blog! I love pumpkin everything!! In fact, my favorite lotion lately is Perfect Pumpkin (it's not icky~just yummy) Anyway, I love the idea of prebaking the crust. I'm always bummed about that little underdone layer next to the cutard. (or custahd as they say where I'm from ;))

Happy November! Thanks for popping in on my blog!

Anonymous said...

So what is the recipe for pumpkin pie that you're using now? Am always on the look out for a new twist to old recipes that will make it better. :)

Also, if you're wanting to try ceramics, our teacher is very reasonable. I think she charges $10/child and $15/adult for each 2 hour session, and she also gives family discounts: my 2 boys and I take lessons from her at $25/2 hour session for the 3 of us. And she is so nice that she just might barter for reduced costs in exchange for something. If you want to ask her about that or if you just want to go ahead and try a couple of lessons, let me know and I'll give you her name/number/email. You can email me at fuzzythoughts (at) gmail.

MEP said...

I'm about to stick a fork through my monitor to get a taste of that pie.

I've said before, or meant to, you are a culinary inspiration to me. I've never made pumpkin pie, but I know if I did, I would have been intimated by the idea of using real pumpkins (as opposed to a can of solid pack pumpkin). You make me want to be brave in the garden and kitchen!

Carrie said...


What? Where am I?

Sorry for the pie-induced daze. I happen to love anything pumpkin with a passion! I'm trying a pumpkin chocolate cheesecake this week!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Feel free to come by anytime!

Marcia said...

I've wanted to say this for awhile: your blog rocks. The pictures are fantastic, the food-related stuff is truly inspirational, and Cosmo--what can I say? The boy is beautiful and sweet and amazing. Love the new banner heading w/ him in the leaves. I often remember my childhood when I read your blog. I wish you lived here or we lived there or we all lived somewhere else (yes, this one, i think) so that we could hang out and all your skills in the outdoors and indoors could rub off on me. You are one happenin' chick. XO, Marcia at Grrville

MEP said...

Thanks for updating the post with the recipe!

Anonymous said...

hey kayte,
i made this pie for thanksgiving and it was great. thanks for the help! look out world, tish can bake a delicious pie.

cake said...

congrats tish! i am so proud, and so honored that you chose my recipe!

but yeah, faces beware!