Monday, December 12, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

I’ve tried exotic variations on this plan, and my honest advice is this: Don’t.  Just do basic so god damned well people fall over with shock at how much better yours is from what they expected (their mom’s-don’t lie.) 
The first and most important part of that plan is crust.  Crust is not hard if you have a food processor, even a fairly crap one.  Trust me, I had a crap one for years.  This one is designed to be shatteringly crisp and meltingly buttery

1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
Pinch of salt
1 stick FREEZING cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup ice cold bourbon whiskey, from the freezer cold

In a food processor, pulse the flour with the salt. Add the butter and pulse until the size of peas. Drizzle in the whiskey and pulse until the crumbs are moistened; turn out onto a work surface. Gather into a ball, flatten, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4 large eggs
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
½ chipotle chili
Pinch of salt
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (yes, canned, making your own SUCKS & isn’t any better)
½ cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Lightly flour a large, flat surface, then roll out the chilled pie dough to a 13-inch round about ¼ inch thick. Fit the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate and trim the overhang to an inch. Fold the dough under itself and crimp decoratively-the dough will shrink during baking, so build it up over the edge more than you think it will need.  Refrigerate the pie shell for 10 minutes.  I like to cut the remaining dough into tiny pumpkins (cookie cutter) and put them onto the center of the pie the last few minutes of baking.  It’s super cute and impressive without adding that much more work
Line the pie shell with foil and fill with pie weights (I’ve also used marbles, lima beans and cookie cutters.  The first 2 work, the last, not a good idea.)  Bake in the center of the oven until just set, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the crust is pale golden, roughly 10 minutes. Let it cool down a bit.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar, cornstarch and spices. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, then the cream. Pour the filling into the crust. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the custard is set. Let the pie cool; enjoy the rave reviews. 
Note: I usually bake the custard WHILE we eat lunch.  It saves space, makes the house smell delicious, and nobody’s eating it until later anyway.  Trust me, they’ll be so full they’ll need a breather while it cools.

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