Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Recipe: New England Pumpkin Pie
"To everything there is a season." When The Byrds covered the Pete Seeger song "Turn! Turn! Turn!" in 1965 (his lyrics adapted from the Bible's Book of Ecclesiastes), it became a sensational hit. And they were right: to everything there is a season. At the moment—with the official start of fall just days away—pumpkin season is nigh.
There's more than one way to experience the changing of the seasons. Of course, you can just sit in one place and wait, allowing the simple passage of time to eventually bring a change in season. When we lived in Colorado, we learned that altitude can similarly signal a change in seasons. While it may feel like summer in the valleys, as you climb into the mountains it can quickly become fall or even winter. And there's latitude. By traveling far enough north or south, you can similarly transport yourself from one season to another.
Our recent trip to Mont Orford in Quebec was a perfect case in point. We left our home in New York's Hudson Valley in late summer, and by the time we arrived at our campsite far to the north, it was definitively fall. There was a noticeable crisp chill in the air, especially in the mornings. In places, mountainsides were aflame in yellow, orange, and red.
As if on cue, our own food cravings followed suit. Suddenly, we desired things such as apple cider and pumpkin pie.
On our second to last day in Quebec, we ventured to Citrouilles & Tournesols, which translates from the French as "Pumpkins & Sunflowers." In short, it's a kid-friendly farm that grows an impressive variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits, with a special emphasis on—you guessed it—numerous varieties of pumpkins and sunflowers.
We wandered the fields and, feeling inspired by the rapidly approaching fall season, picked a pair of beautiful, compact New England pie pumpkins (sometimes, but not always, synonymous with sugar pumpkins). Then came the delicious part: transforming them into a richly flavorful and silky smooth pumpkin pie. Since we used New England pie pumpkins, I've twisted the wording to call this recipe New England pumpkin pie.
Dare I say, we've improved upon the pumpkin pie recipe you'll find on page 270 of the 2nd edition of Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking. We've eliminated the sweetened condensed milk, opting instead of some heavy cream and extra eggs, and adjusted the blend of spices.
New England Pumpkin Pie
Makes 12 servings
2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 recipe uncooked pie dough (page 265 of the cookbook)
1. To roast the pumpkin (adapted from the handy 10-step guide at Elana's Pantry): Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Cut the pumpkins in half (we used two small pumpkins), scoop out the seeds, place face down on a pan, add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, and roast until the pumpkin is tender, about one hour. Let cool, scoop the flesh out, and puree in a food processor. Increase the oven temp to 375 deg F.
2. Whisk all ingredients together (not including the pie dough) in a bowl to combine.
3. Roll out the pie dough between sheets of plastic wrap and transfer to your pie pan.
4. Add the pumpkin pie filling.
5. Bake for 45 minutes, until just about set in the center when jiggled.
Degrees of Free-dom
This recipe is: gluten-free, peanut-free, tree-nut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, soy-free, vegetarian.
To make this recipe dairy/lactose/casein-free, try substituting coconut milk for the heavy cream, and also use your preferred DF butter substitute when making the pie dough.