The Pumpkiniest Pumpkin Pie
This is a biggie. We've all been making pumpkin pie wrong. I know...it's shocking, but bear with me here.For years, I've been making pumpkin pie with evaporated milk, pumpkin, and spices. Just like it says on the back of the can and on most sites. But I was recently with my family in Kentucky and the topic of Mama Walker's (aka my grandmother's) Pumpkin Pie came up. I have eight aunts, and they all grew up in a small farmhouse, so any recipe that comes from them is usually tried and true...and often committed to memory. But this recipe caused a bit of a disagreement because of one particular ingredient. Wine. Red wine to be specific.Three of my aunts - and one cousin who used to spend summers on the farm - claim that the original recipe included 1/4 cup of red wine. Wine that was never used in the pie but still somehow disappeared during the process. (I never met my grandmother, but I like the way she cooked!) Though they couldn't quite agree on whether wine was actually an ingredient, they all agreed that the pie was delicious. And pumpkiny. Really pumpkiny. There's no dairy in the filling - so you get some serious pumpkin flavor. That pumpkin flavor is even better if you roast the pumpkin from scratch, but it's just as good with canned pumpkin.I received a copy of the recipe a few years ago when I got married, and lo and behold, it includes a note for 1/4 cup of red wine. I decided to try the pie (and drink the wine), to get us in the holiday spirit. And since pie is really just a good reason to eat crust (right?) I wanted to make sure I had a good crust. I used the basic Pâte Brisée recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking cookbook, and decided to read up on some good crust tips. Yahoo! has a great little primer on pie crust, which you'll find here. The key points to remember:
- Use butter. Shortening may be easier to work with, but as my Aunt Mary says, butter makes it better.
- Cold is key. You want your butter to be cold throughout the whole process. When it stays cold, the butter stays in little chunks instead of melting into the dough. Those chunks get coated in the flour, and then melt in the cooking process. Science!
- On a pie that doesn't have a double crust (i.e. no top), an egg wash is optional. I opted out. Call me lazy! I'll save it for the latticed pies.
- 2 cups pumpkin (fresh is best)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten slightly
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- a pinch of salt
- a dash of cloves
- a dash of allspice
- 1/4 cup red wine (we're pretty sure this was added just so she could drink it..I recommend you do the same and leave it out of the pie)
- Mix all the ingredients together.
- Pour into a pie shell and spread evenly.
- Bake in a 400F oven for 40 min.
- Cool and serve.
- Enjoy the wine.
When it comes to baking pie, there's a few things I can't live without:
- A fun pie pan. My pies aren't perfect (hello cracks!), but they always look fancier when they're in a nice pan.
- A rolling pin. I prefer the French Rolling Pins. They're easy to roll and you don't get those edge marks on the dough.
- Rolling out dough can be a messy process. Roul Pat, the pastry equivalent of the Silpat, is great for keeping your counter clean and allowing you to use less flour.
This post was sponsored by Yahoo!, but all opinions are my own.