pumpkinPieCut2

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

This year for Thanksgiving we decided to stay in Toronto (partly due to me being irresponsible and didn’t buy train tickets on time). Since our favourite neighbour/besties couple didn’t go back to Ottawa either, we decided to cook our own Thanksgiving feast. The turkey they got ended up too big for their oven so we invited them to come over and cook the large beast in our oven. Yay I love cooking parties!

Cooking together would not have been possible in our tiny kitchen back at our old apartment. This kitchen managed to fit all four of us simultaneously, although it got a little cozy at times and not to mention hot with the oven and two stove tops on. All the sweat was worth it though because everything was so yummy! The turkey was so moist and juicy. I was disappointed in my sour cream bacon mashed potatos because I forgot to put butter in it. Shameful. I know. A rookie mistake. Good thing I didn’t forget to put butter in this pie! I should just stick with baking =P.

PumpkinPie-Whole

This is my first time making pumpkin pie. I don’t think I’ve actually had pumpkin pie before? If I did, it must have been very unremarkable because I forgot about it. This pie though, is hard to forget about. The filling is SO SMOOTH and it has just the right amount of spices and sweetness.

I found a bunch of pumpkin pie recipes on the web and I decided to go with this one because I like how it added sweet potatoes! Also because I love Brown Eyed Baker’s blog, I trust her recipes, and because she named it “BEST Pumpkin Pie Recipe” =P. You know you can’t go wrong.

It was not a hard recipe but a time consuming one. I made mine over two days. I made the pie crust and candied yams on Friday night (since the pie crust needed to be chilled in the fridge overnight) and finished baking the pie on Saturday night. I left it out at room temperature till Sunday night and it tasted fresh and wonderful!

Candied sweet potatos
Homemade candied yams and canned pumpkin puree

The most important step in making this pie is straining the pie mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. It cannot be omitted due to laziness  This step takes a lot of patience because you have to press the solids through or the mixture will not flow through. It becomes even slower at the end because the mesh strainer is pretty much saturated with pumpkin/sweet potato/ginger mush. So you gotta press press press! No matter how time consuming this step is, it is the key for a smooth pumpkin pie filling.

In addition to enhancing the texture, it also seem to have blended all the ingredients together to another new level! Trust me on this. The reason I know why this step is important is because I made mini pumpkin pies with the leftover un-strained pie filling. It was okay but definitely not as smooth, silky, and refined as the strained one.

I used a different pie crust recipe than the original recipe because I didn’t have vodka at home. If I did, I would’ve tried it! According to Cook’s Illustrated, vodka makes the dough easier to roll without the extra moisture since alcohol vaporizes in the oven. A must try next time. I used a classic butter and shortening crust instead. This recipe doesn’t have any sugar in it which makes it good for feature savoury recipes.

One thing I didn’t like was the pie crust shrinking during the blind baking process – which meant a smaller pie and less pumpkin pie filling.  I should’ve read these blind baking tips before I blind baked!

PUMPKIN PIE (Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker and Sally’s Baking Addiction)

FOR THE PIE CRUST:
Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (315g) all-purpose flour (I put mine in the freezer for a few hours to keep it cold!)
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup (154g) vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) ice water

Directions:

  1. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening.
  2. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal (pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat is OK). A pastry cutter makes this step very easy and quick.
  3. Measure 1/2 cup (120ml) of water in a cup. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup (120ml) of water– since the ice has melted a bit. Drizzle the cold water in, 1 Tablespoon (15ml) at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every Tablespoon (15ml) added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps. I always use between 1/3 cup (75ml) and 1/2 cup (120ml) of water.
  4. Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands.
  5. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 5 days).
  6. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove one pie dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a generously floured work surface to a 12-inch circle. Roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Ease the dough into the plate by gently lifting the edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  7. Trim the overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute the edge of dough. Refrigerate the dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the pie pan from refrigerator, line the crust with aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake on the rimmed baking sheet for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake 5 to 15 additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove pie plate and baking sheet from oven.

FOR THE FILLING:
Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 3 eggs + 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 cup drained candied yams**
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. While the pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Combine the pumpkin, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to a sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl, using the back of a ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Rewhisk mixture and transfer to warm prebaked pie shell.
  3. Return the pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F and continue baking until edges of pie are set and the center looks firm but jiggles slightly (an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should register 175 degrees F), 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

**Candied Yams (Recipe from Food.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Cover potatoes with water, bring to a boil.
  2. Lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes, until done.
  3. When cooled, peel and cut into chunks and place in 2-qt baking dish.
  4. In small saucepan combine remaining ingredients, cook and stir until mixture boils. Pour over potatoes. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes.

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