Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Doing Battle: Pumpkin Pie

Prior to baking
Thanksgiving approaches with every passing minute, and I can't frigging wait. I've just gone through the process of preparing the crust for my pumpkin pie. For the crust recipe, as I've mentioned in entry Doing Battle: Apple Pie, you should really be using the steps detailed by the New York Times. It turns out perfect every time. Few tips: Keep your butter/shortening clumps to kidney bean size instead of cottage cheese. Also, don't be afraid of the vodka. It evaporates rapidly leaving a brilliantly flaky crust. Next, make sure that your wet ingredients stay wicked cold prior to using them. Finally, prep all your ingredients ahead of time, and store ready for use with paper plates and solo cups. 
After prebaking with
pennies and foil
For the filling recipe, I turn to Epicurious. Easy, and delicious. After prebaking your crust, reduce temperature of the oven to 350 degrees. Mix an egg white with a few drops of water. Pour in your filling, and then brush the egg wash over the crust so that you get that nice shiny look to it. Into the oven for an hour, and enjoy the smell for the next sixty minutes. 
After making your pie, you can refrigerate for a day. I am doing mine the night before the big show, because I only gots one oven, yo. But if I were bringing the pie, I might wake up mighty early to do this the day of. 
Pumpkin Pie
As with all pies, they're a complete pain in the butt. However, if you take the time to do it properly, you'll get a flaky crust that will awe most crowds. Prebaked crusts suck so bad. Pilsbury crusts are damned to anyone with a palate. Plus, once you do one pie crust the real way, you'll have enough self respect to show people what a bad ass person you are. Proceed.

For the crust:

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold, cut into two pieces
2 tablespoons vodka, cold (see note)
2 tablespoons cold water
For the filling:

1 3/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (about a 15-ounce can)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

P.S. Tonight I'm also doing my famous salty, candied nuts. Another crowd pleaser. See entry: Dirty up your salad with candied nuts!
Candied Nuts: Always a
huge hit

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