Pumpkin Pie: A Two-Day Ordeal

Hey everyone!

How has your week been so far? Mine’s been busy with one last midterm (before Round 2, that is), another trip to Princess Cafe, study group meetings, and relaxing evenings at home.

Before I show you the world’s most labour-intensive dessert known to mankind, let me introduce my house-mate and her boyfriend! I originally typed roommate, but some people get the wrong idea with that. We don’t share a room but live in the same “unit” where we share a nice kitchen and bathroom. But we both have our own rooms ๐Ÿ™‚ You can take a peek into our unit by clicking here!

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Madhulika graduated from the University of Waterloo and is currently working in the area. Arsalan, her boyfriend, is on a satellite-building team. Both of them are super kind, thoughtful, funny, and have been the best mentors for me since I came to Waterloo. They give the best advice and know this part of Ontario inside out. Plus, they are incredible cooks and an inspiration for me to be more adventurous with food!

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Arsalan bought this cool ceramic pie plate and a massive pumpkin. Turns out this was a CARVING pumpkin, not a PIE pumpkin (that explains the size!), but it turned out perfectly fine.

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It was sliced in half,

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The seeds were scooped out with a big spoon,

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And the two halves were placed facedown on foiled trays to bake. Placing them facedown helps them steam and allows them to cook faster. That’s one of the tips I learned from Madhulika! It works for butternut squash, too.

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This was placed in the oven for an hour.

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60 minutes later, the timer beeped and they were steaming like crazy. The flesh was quite soft and scoopable. ๐Ÿ™‚ By now, our unit smelled so pumpkinny!

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The creamy insides were scooped out and reminded me of spaghetti squash. And human flesh. :O

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Unfortunately, the flesh wasn’t quite soft enough, so we discarded the skin and placed the “puree” in Madhulika’s massive pot to cook a little longer.

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Half an hour later, it seemed tender enough, so we busted out a blender.

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We did this in batches because the blender wasn’t cooperating, but after six or seven batches, we had lots of neon orange pumpkin puree. It was quite watery, too, but a fine sieve and a fork got rid of that problem. We probably could’ve done something with the pumpkin-infused broth (maybe cook quinoa or make veggie soup?) but ended up throwing it out.

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Meanwhile, Arsalan cut the butter into little cubes and placed it in the fridge to chill. The next day, a Sunday, he added them to a dry flour mixture and cut the butter into the flour with two knives.

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This takes major skill – last time I tried to make scones using this technique, the butter got too soft and I couldn’t make these big crumbs like he did. It turned out so well.

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The butter “crumbles” were rolled up into a ball,

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and rolled flat with a rolling pin on a floured surface.

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The dough was later pressed into the pie plate,

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And the edges carefully and skillfully crimped.

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Isn’t this pretty? I would never be able to make a pie crust as elaborately as this. Many Chef John and Allrecipes videos were watched!

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The filling involved eggs and egg yolks, along with numerous spices. I think pumpkin pie spice smells like Homesense, the department store! Or maybe Bath and Body Works candles. Does pumpkin pie spice have a non-food smell to you?

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All whisked up with some sweetened condensed milk and poured into the chilled pie crust.

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This was supposed to be done in an hour, but ours took closer to an hour and 45 minutes. After letting it cool at room temperature, we chilled it in the fridge overnight and devoured it the next day!

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Before serving, Madhulika whisked up some heavy cream (BY HAND!) with a tablespoon of white sugar and a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract. It turned out so fluffy. There is nothing quite like fresh whipped cream! Then, I wanted some chopped nuts for additional texture on my pie, so Madhulika helped me crush them using the legs of a chair ๐Ÿ™‚

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“I need to practice putting on a sexy dollop.” – Arsalan, putting dollops of whipped cream on three slices of pie

This one turned out the sexiest and was sprinkled with cinnamon before we gave it a photoshoot!

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I was lucky enough to enjoy this pretty piece. These photos were taken on Madhulika and Arsalan’s cellphones by the way! Aren’t they great for phone pics?


Pumpkin Pie from Scratch

CRUST
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted buter, chilled and cut into tbsp-sized pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 tbsp ice water
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  1. Combine flour, salt, and butter in a food processor. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 1-second pulses. You can also do this with two knives, as we did here ๐Ÿ™‚
  2. Stir water and vinegar in a small bowl.
  3. Pour half the ice water and vinegar mixture into the flour and butter mixture. Pulse to combine, about 3 (1-second) pulses. Pour in remaining ice water and vinegar mixture. Pulse until mixture just starts to come together, about 8 (1-second) pulses.
  4. Turn dough out onto a wooden surface, pat into round shape and divide in half. Form each half into a disc about 5 inches wide.
  5. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until ready to use.
PUMPKIN PIE FILLING
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp 5-spice powder
  • Pie Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Whisk together pumpkin puree, egg yolks, and egg in a large bowl until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and Chinese 5-spice powder; whisk until thoroughly combined.
  3. Fit pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and crimp edges.
  4. Pour filling into the pie shell and lightly tap on the work surface to release any air bubbles.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake until just set in the middle, 30 to 40 more minutes. A paring knife inserted into the filling, 1 inch from the crust, should come out clean. Allow to cool completely before serving.

My camera took some nice shots as well. Can you see how buttery and flaky that crust was? The sides were so crispy and rich that they reminded me of the massive mille-feuille that my sister and I devoured in Paris. Speaking of Paris – was that really two and a half months ago?

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Covered with the professionally-prepared crushed nuts and demolished in seconds. Nothing quite compares to homemade, 100% from-scratch pumpkin pie, or any pie! ๐Ÿ™‚ Can you believe I’ve never had pumpkin pie before this? It was surprisingly custardy and flavourful. Now I’m in love!

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Many more slices were enjoyed throughout the week, and I think the three of us finished the pie in about eight days. It was just too tempting to have that plate of deliciousness calling our names from the fridge.

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I just had a slice today after lunch and it was perfection. I think pumpkin pie gets better the longer it sits in the fridge – maybe the flavours start to meld together! So by now we’ve established that pumpkin pie is awesome… but there are countless other ways to use up that liquid (?) gold! My favourite ways to cook/bake with pumpkin involve muffins, pancakes, and oatmeals, but I’m definitely going to explore some savoury options. Here are some ideas.

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Ways to Use Leftover Pumpkin Puree

How do you use leftover pumpkin puree?


Awesome, right?

Whew, guys, I am so glad it’s the weekend and happy it’s Halloween! I don’t have any plans other than staying home to relax, doing laundry, and other fascinating things like sweeping and organizing my containers. I have the most exciting life and I love it ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you have any plans for the weekend? Are youย dressing up for Halloween?