Pumpkin pie

by Alison, 16/11/2013 

Definitely the last pumpkin recipe. I have no more pumpkins and thankfully (for your sakes) neither does Supervalu.  Pumpkin pie is one of those recipes that has also made me go, 'Really?'. Like carrot cake, when I first heard about it I was uncertain. A sweet vegetable dessert. It sounded like a waste of good pastry. However post-Halloween, I had an abundance of pumpkins so it was time to experiment. 

In Ireland pumpkins seem to be seen as purely as a Halloween decoration. While they are served as a seasonal food in restaurants it isn't very common to get them in someones house. I have never actually seen pumpkin pie for sale or had the chance to taste it. Therefore if anybody reading this has, I would love feedback or suggestions.  

The recipe itself is an amalgamation of a number of recipes, hopefully combining the best elements of them all. I did this not because I think I know better, but because many of the recipes I found used shop bought pastry cases and / or canned pumpkin, which kind of defeated the purpose. Listed below are the references for the individual elements.
Pastry from Darina Allen, Forgotten Skills of Cooking
Pumpkin spice mix taken from Joy the Baker
How to blind bake the pastry was taken from Delia Smith 
The pumpkin pie filling was inspired by this and this.

I was pretty pleased with the result. The pie filling itself is very light and smooth, thanks to all the sieving. My pastry skills need improving, but definitely the tip of working the pastry on a board, rather then a bowl, was a lot easier. As a dessert it may not replace any of my personal favourites but I do love the seasonality and variety it brings.

Ingredients for the pumpkin spice mix
1tbs ground cinnamon
2tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of cardamon
This mix makes extra. I used 3tsp in the recipie.

Ingredients for the pumpkin filling
750g pumpkin (this is the weight required when it is peeled and deseeded)
140g dark brown sugar
275ml cream
2eggs and 1egg yoke, whisked
3tsp pumpkin spice mix

Ingredients for the pastry
175g plain white flour
75g butter
40g castor sugar
1 large egg, whisked

Make your pastry. This can be done the same day or earlier. This pastry should last a week in the fridge or longer in the freezer (according to Darina).
Dice the butter and leave to soften at room temperature (about 30minutes).
Sift the flour onto a work surface and rub in the butter. Rub in the sugar.
Make a well in the centre of the mixture and break the egg into the centre. Now rub the egg into the mixture, pulling in flour from the outside. When ready, knead with the heel of your hand. The ball should be smooth after about 3 turns. 
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.

Place the peeled, deseeded and chopped pumpkin in a large pot, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15mins or until tender. 
Drain and leave to cool slightly.

Pre-heat the oven to 180˚degrees. Grease a flan tin (mine is 26cm).
Take out your pastry, roll on a lightly floured surface and when ready line the flan tin.
Place in the fridge to chill for 15minutes. 
Remove from the fridge, prick all over with a fork and brush the pastry case with an egg wash (use some of the egg from the filling mix). Place in the oven and blind bake for 15-25mins, until the pastry case is turning golden brown.

While the pastry case is cooking, push the softened pumpkin through a sieve (I mashed mine first).
Put the cream, sugar and 3tsp of the spice mix in a pot and bring to a simmer. Whisk together. 
Remove from the heat and add the eggs. Whisk again.
Add the pumpkin puree and whisk again to combine fully.
Pour the mixture into the pre-pared pastry shell.
Place in the oven and bake for 35-40mins. The filling should be just set, with a slight wobble in the centre.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. 
Serve chilled.

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