Thursday, October 21, 2010

Unprocessed: Whole Grain Crusted Pumpkin Pie

I've never been a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but the spices used and the smell of it baking just automatically make it feel like fall and early winter.  That might be because as an American I am used to Thanksgiving coming at the end of November, thus the early winter memories.  Well up here in the Great White North Thanksgiving falls right at the beginning of October.  Though the boy and I were flying solo for Thanksgiving I offered to cook a proper dinner.  My preference for pie would have been apple, but he asked for pumpkin and since I still think of it as his Thanksgiving, I went with what he wanted.  We'll see if he defers to my preference when American Thanksgiving comes around.

Now the thing about pumpkin pie is I've never actually made one.  Not only was I trying this pie for the first time, I had to figure out how to make it unprocessed and I really wanted to get it on the first try.  On top of all of that I've never had the best luck with custard pies, I'm not sure if it's a patience thing or what, but I've often failed at getting them to set up properly.  Basically I had alot of things working against me on this one.  It would have been easiest to just find a recipe and follow it, but of course I couldn't do that.  I did a ton a research and ended up putting together what is one of the best pumpkin pies I've ever had.

One thing to note is a I did use a bit of organic cane sugar in the crust, I've never used a liquid sweetener in a crust before and I just wasn't sure how to do it successfully.  So there is a slightly processed portion to this pie, depending on where you're drawing your line. 

Whole Grain Crust
makes 1 crust

1 cup organic red fife flour or another whole grain variety
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose whole wheat flour
2 tsp organic cane sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter - ice cold and cut into cubes
1/4 cup ice cold water

1.  In a food processor fitted with the dough blade, process the flours, sugar and salt.  Add in the cold butter and process to a crumb-like texture.  
2.  Add in the water and process just until dough forms.  Form into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
3.  Preheat the oven to 425F.   Roll out the dough and carefully lay in a 9" pie plate.  Line the crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans or rice.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Remove to a cooling rack until room temperature.

Pumpkin Pie

4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree (see recipe below)
1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup 1% milk
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
7 whole cloves - crushed
1/2 tsp salt

1.  Preheat oven to 375F.  In a large bowl whisk the eggs until just mixed.   Add in the other ingredients and whisk until combined and smooth.
2.  Pour the pumpkin mixture into par-baked pie shell.  Carefully place the pie on a cookie sheet. and into the heated oven.  Bake for 1 hour or just until the center of the custard is set
3.  Let cool to room temperature before serving.

I'd imagine you could use canned pumpkin for this, but the pumpkin puree was so easy to make that why not take the extra step.

Pumpkin Puree
makes approximate 4 cups

1 sugar pumpkin

1. Cut a sugar pumpkin in half and clean out the seeds.  Cut into large chunks and place skin side down on a cookie sheet.  Cover with foil and roast for 1 hour, removing the foil halfway through the roasting time.  Pumpkin is done when soft all the way through.
2. Remove pumpkin from oven and when just cool enough to handle, cut off the skin and puree in food processor.  Pumpkin puree freeze beautifully and is a great way to keep what you don't use.

As I mentioned, the boy was a huge fan of this pie and I have to say I really enjoyed it too. The custard was the perfect soft set, that I have never achieved before with this type of pie.  The crust was crispy and flaky.  The boy wasn't the biggest fan of the whole wheat crust and would have preferred if I used my standard recipe.  I thought the whole wheat added an earthiness to it that paired really nicely with the spicy pumpkin filling.   And the smell of it baking just really gets me in the mood for the holidays, visions of family and big feasts, the promise of snow, crisp cool night air.  I love it.  I will absolutely be making this pie again, especially since I have a freezer full of pumpkin puree!



Sippity Sup said...

This seems like the pumpkin pie my mom used to make. Though oddly I have never tried to make one. Maybe this Thanksgiving! GREG

Jess said...

I'm always more concerned about the filling than the crust. I have not figured out a good way of making a flaky crust that's healthy, although I did make one with ground walnuts once that, although not flaky, was still really good. I'd be happy just eatnig the filling anyway. Yum!

The Food Librarian said...

Like the pie, and like the redesign! :) - mary

Jen H said...

Thanks Mary!