A friend of mine asked about how I make pumpkin pie. She is trying to perfect her's and had read soooo many recipes. Some used milk, some evaporated, some honey, so many recipes and well ... so confusing. I realized as I chatted with her I have not posted my pumpkin pie recipe, which is very simple and rich. But I will share with you what I think is the secret to a good pumpkin pie. It is the ingredients, really more than a recipe. First and for most is the pumpkin. Canned pumpkin will not cut it. You have to use, fresh pumpkin. You also have to use a good cooking pumpkin. Those big carving pumpkins are stringy, not sweet and watery. A good cooking pumpkin is sweet, creamy and does not put out a lot of water. There are more and more kinds of cooking pumpkins out there, so do your research. You can cook and freeze your pumpkin ahead of time. As a mater of fact, you can freeze this filling ahead of time too. I have my uncooked pie crust and filling in the freezer, ready to pull out, defrost, pour filling in shell and bake!!
Second I think you need good cream, fresh eggs and fresh spices. The fresher and less messed with the better (Like can condensed milk, I am sorry but I do not get that stuff. It does not replace good cream at all). Also how fresh are your dried spices? Is there dust on the bottle? Are they more that a year old? If so, dump it! If you are lucky enough to have a store that sells spices in bulk, then buy small amounts. It is so, so much cheaper and tastes better. I listed the spices in this recipe I like but add/change to your liking. I go a bit light with spice because I do not want to cover up the yummy pumpkin flavor. And I think that is the point. If you hate the taste of the pumpkin, you are using the wrong pumpkin, not the wrong recipe. I have to say, I have had several people tell me they hate pumpkin pie but love mine. So if that helps sell it ;-P
Simply, rich pumpkin pie
Makes one pie
2 cups cooked puréed pumpkin *note
generous 1/2 cup sugar, evaporated cain or coconut sugar
scant 1/4 cup molasses
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups cream or coconut milk **
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp dried ginger, ground
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup brandy or dark rum, I basically in pour a big splosh!
one pie crust ***
Pre-heat oven to 350˚F
In a large bowl mix all together with a whisk or blender stick, until mixed. Pour into pre-paired pie crust and bake for 45-55 minutes. Until center is cooked and crust is browned. Please see note below about making it gluten free.
* My favorite baking pie is long pie, it looks like a giant zucchini. It starts off green but as you get more into December is will turn orange. It is fine to use green but the long you wait, the sweeter it gets. You can also make this with any winter squash or sweet potatoes.
** To make your pie dairy free use coconut milk. You can use any milk or cream but the higher the fat, the richer it is (and in my opinion the better. Heck the holidays only come once a year!!).
*** To make this dish gluten free simple cook in without the crust, like a pudding. I cook mine in a bain marie at 325˚F for 1-1 1/2 hours until the center is cooked. By cooking it in a bain marie and a low temps it keeps the custard soft and silky. You can bake the filling in one big pan or small ramekins. Obviously if you do ramekins, the pudding will cook in a shorter time!
In the picture I have two bowls of filling I am preparing for the freezer. One is regular, which I will bake in a pie shell on Thanksgiving. The other is the GF and DF filling, which I will bake like a pudding. Simple and easy but a delicious alternative for everyone!