My first ever slice of pumpkin pie.
I had some pastry in the freezer that I needed to use to make some space. Pie this week then, and, given that it’s Thanksgiving in the US, there’s only really one type of pie it could be. Pumpkin. To be honest, pumpkin pie has never really crossed my mind before, other than as something to go with the coffee at Farmer Gray’s birthday party (I love Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride – it reminds me of school Christmas concerts. The introductory brass and bells still give me the best kind of goose bumps).
I found a pumpkin pie recipe in the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, and a tin of pumpkin puree in Spangles, Leamington’s American imports shop. There it was, stacked alongside strangely flavoured Pop Tarts, something called Marshmallow Fluff, and Tootsie Rolls.
I’d made the pastry (or should I say pie crust this week?) a couple of weeks ago when I made an apple pie. I mixed plain flour and salt, rubbed in butter with my brilliant pastry blender – here is it is yet again……and brought the mixture together with cold water. I made my apple pie with one half and froze the other.
Once the pastry/pie crust had defrosted, I rolled it out and lined my pie dish. I have to admit, I was a bit haphazard with my lining and I had to patch it in several places but, hey, the recipe says that rustic is fine for a pumpkin pie.For the filling, I mixed egg, my precious tin of pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, caster sugar, ground cloves, ginger and cinnamon and a little salt and plain flour. I gave the mixture a good beating with a wooden spoon, poured it into the pie dish, and put it into the oven at 150° fan (the recipe says 170° for a conventional oven so, using the usual rule, I set the oven 20° lower).
The cooking time given in the recipe is between 30 and 40 minutes, or, “until the filling is set and firm and doesn’t wobble when shaken”. I checked after 30 minutes. Nowhere near firm. 40 minutes. Still very wobbly. 50 minutes. Nope, not set. In the end, I turned the temperature up by 10° and gave the pie another 20 minutes or maybe a bit more (actually, I forgot to write down exactly how long I cooked the pie for – but it was much, much longer than the 30-40 minutes given in the recipe).
It was great. Definitely worth the wait. A revelation really. A lovely slice of sweet, indulgent, autumnal-tasting, egg custard. I’ll have to make another one. I need something to cheer up these endless dark-by-four afternoons. A slice of pie, a cup of coffee in a mug you can wrap your hands around, and a made-for-TV Christmas movie even though it’s far too early. Perfect.