(made with roasted sugar pumpkin - garnished with a mixed nut brittle)
Be-Bop-A-Re-Bop, Pumpkin Pie.
I know some Garrison Keillor fans may be upset with me for replacing “rhubarb” with “pumpkin” in that little ditty, but at this time of year, mamma’s little baby loves pumpkin pie. And by mamma’s baby, I’m talking about me! Of course a few other of mamma’s babies love pumpkin pie as well, so please sing along with me if you’d like.
It’s almost Thanksgiving (at least for us Canadians) and visions of sugar pumpkins are dancing in my head. When I spy those globes of orange at our farm and vegetable stands, I start dreaming of that creamy, sweet roasted pumpkin pie flavour that I wait for all year.
This recipe is the culmination of many pumpkin pies that have been baked and enjoyed over the years. It’s always a challenge to leave well enough alone but I’m putting this recipe on “repeat” for the foreseeable future as it hits all my favourite notes. Yes, a little cream, a little maple syrup, a pinch of this and that, but the key ingredient is the roasted sugar pumpkin.
Cook's note: If you don't have the time or opportunity to roast a sugar pumpkin, don't sweat it. Just use the best quality of canned pureéd pumpkin you can get your hands on.
Sugar pumpkins are a smaller variety of pumpkin (usually 8 to 10 inches in diameter), with dark orange skin that are grown for their thicker flesh, versus the more pulp filled larger pumpkins that we carve into jack-o-lanterns at Halloween. There are a number of different sugar or culinary pumpkins around in the Fall that you can use for a pie, just be sure your pumpkin is well shaped, is a deep orange colour, and sounds slightly hollow when you knock on it.
Roasting your sugar pumpkin is pretty easy. I often do mine a day or two before I want make my pie so that I can have the pumpkin purée all ready to go when it’s pie time. First wash the pumpkin (or pumpkins) thoroughly with warm water and bit of soap, rinsing well. Cut the pumpkin in half (it’s safest to set the pumpkin on a damp dish cloth so it doesn’t slip when you are slicing it), scoop out the seeds with a pumpkin or ice cream scoop (you may want to save the seeds for planting or roasting) and set in a cake pan or on a large cookie sheet that has edges to catch any drips.
Oil the inside of the pumpkin lightly with a neutral tasting oil (I use grapeseed oil) and place the pumpkin cut side down for baking. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour to an hour and a quarter (depending on if your pumpkin is largish or smallish), then take the foil off and bake for another 30-45 minutes, until the flesh is very soft when pierced with a fork and looks nicely roasted. After the pumpkin has cooled, scoop the flesh into a food processor and purée until very smooth.
Pour the purée into a fine sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth and let the pumpkin drain 4-5 hours or leave covered overnight so that all the watery liquid has drained and you are left with a nice thick purée for your pie.
(Another little "baby" in my kitchen likes pumpkin too!)
- 1 single pie crust pastry recipe (try my "go to dough" if you don’t have a favorite of your own)
- 2/3 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of white sugar
- 2 tablespoons white unbleached flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin purée
- 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup whipping cream (or substitute 1 cup half and half) + an additional 1 cup whipping cream for garnish
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Roll out pie pastry and line a 9 inch pie dish.
Set pastry shell in freezer while you prepare filling.
Whisk together the sugars, flour, salt and spices in a bowl.
Add in pumpkin purée, maple syrup, eggs and 1 cup whipping cream while continuing to whisk.
Pour mixture into pastry shell.
Place pie on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325°F and bake another 45 - 60 minutes or until the outsides of the pie puff up a little and the middle looks just set (an inserted knife should come out clean).
Cool completely on rack, and store in fridge. Can be made a day ahead, just cover and keep in fridge.
Garnish with mixed nut brittle. I used macadamia and cashew nuts in my mixture, sprinkling the crushed brittle around the edges and the centre of the pie just before serving.
To serve whip the additional 1 cup of whipping cream into soft peaks then add about a tablespoon of maple syrup. Add a dollop of cream to each slice as serving and sprinkle with more crushed brittle along with an offering of thanks.