Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Classic Pumpkin Pie

We’ve been spending quite a bit of time with our favorite fall ingredient – pumpkin – in the past few weeks. For many people, nothing captures the goodness of this celebrated squash like a pumpkin pie. Many people think of apple as the quintessential American pie – and I don’t disagree – but I have to put pumpkin right up there, too. 

For some of us, our love of pumpkin pie emerges from the memories of a Thanksgiving dinner, where a bountiful table overflowed with delicious offerings. And after everyone was good and stuffed but before anyone slipped into a food coma, out came the pumpkin pie! Thanksgiving is America’s holiday, and the crowing jewel on this wonderful celebration continues to be pumpkin pie.

Basically, this is a custard pie with pumpkin mixed in, but oh what a flavor it creates! Most people have their favorite pumpkin pie recipe – long cherished and passed down. This one is mine. This is the pie my mom made year after year and in multiples. As long as this pie is on my Thanksgiving table, my mom’s love and beautiful spirit will be right there with us.

Pumpkin Pie


1 cup flour

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

1/3 cup cold shortening

5-8 TBSP ice water

Making a crust is optional. Some people don’t want to bother with this extra step, and truth-be-told even my mom got into using the pre-made roll-out crusts. She said they were as good as any crust she could make and a whole lot easier. But if I have the time, I still like to make my own crust and think it has a better texture than the pre-made.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add shortening (it is much better if shortening is cold, so I keep mine in the fridge). Using a pastry blender (or two knives if you don’t have one) cut shortening into flour mixture until pea-sized pieces are formed. Gradually add the ice water a tablespoon or two at a time and toss gently until dough begins to bind together and forms a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for at least a half hour or more.

Pie Filling

2 eggs

1 can (15 oz) Pumpkin (use the pumpkin puree, NOT the pumpkin pie filling!)

¾ cup sugar

1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

When your pie dough is ready, roll it out and line a 9-inch deep dish pie pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat two eggs with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add entire 15 ounce can of pumpkin and mix with eggs until combined.

Add sugar, salt and spices. Mix well until combined. 

Add entire 12 ounce can of evaporated milk and mix thoroughly. Pour pumpkin filling into prepared pie crust.

Carefully place pie on middle rack in preheated 425 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 45-50 minutes. A knife inserted into the middle of the pie should come out clean.

Transfer pie to cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving. Serve with whipped cream or soft vanilla ice cream or just as-is!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

More Fall Fun with Pumpkin Bread

We are still having fun with pumpkin and celebrating the great season of autumn! Among the quick and easy pumpkin offerings is the always popular pumpkin bread. This is just another reason to keep cans of pumpkin puree on-hand!

This bread is delicious as-is, or you can add in things like chopped walnuts, raisins or mini chocolate chips. Serve pumpkin bread warm with butter, or a side of ice cream. This is also a great brunch item and nice to put out if you are having people over for early morning coffee or an evening get together during the holidays. This pumpkin bread also freezes very well!

Pumpkin Bread

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs – one at a time – blending well after each addition. Add milk and pumpkin and combine well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice. Gradually add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, being sure to scrape down bowl as you go. Mix until everything is combined. If you want, this is the point where you could fold in a cup of chopped walnuts, raisins or mini chocolate chips. 

Grease a standard loaf pan with non-stick spray. Transfer batter to loaf pan and smooth out top. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. 

Transfer to cooling rack and let bread cool in loaf pan for five minutes. Then remove bread from pan and allow to cool on rack before slicing or freezing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happy Autumn! Let's Make Pumpkin Pancakes!

Now that autumn is officially here it only seems right that we celebrate the pumpkin and all the wonderful ways to incorporate this seasonal icon into our food. So we found ourselves doing a bit of a “Pumpkin-Palooza” on CoF, and will be posting a number of recipes that feature that wonderful orange squash.

Since we are incorporating pumpkin into recipes, why not start with breakfast? I’ll be the first to admit that pancakes are good any time of day, but most of us seem to butter down those sweet hotcakes sometime in the morning.

These pumpkin pancakes are a wonderful golden orange in color, and have a moist but light center. The first time I made these, I wasn’t sure if they were cooked through, but they were. The pumpkin provides a moist texture in the center of the pancake not unlike French toast. 

To add to the fun, I made a cinnamon butter by taking 3 tablespoons of softened butter and mixing it with a teaspoon of butter and one of sugar. Drizzle on a little maple syrup and you’ve got a breakfast that will motivate you to get out to the cider mill or rake up all those fallen leaves!

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 ½ cup milk

1 cup pumpkin puree (I use canned)

1 egg

2 TBSP vegetable oil

2 TBSP white vinegar or lemon juice

2 cups flour

3 TBSP brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

A pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Heat an electric griddle, large skillet, or whatever you like to make pancakes on.

In a large bowl, combine milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar until well mixed. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients. 

Griddle should be hot. If you are using a non-stick griddle, no need to spray kind of vegetable oil spray. Otherwise, spray griddle with non-stick spray and ladle out pancake batter to size you prefer.

Keep an eye on them. Top of batter will bubble slightly, but check bottom of pancake and when just browned, flip pancake and cook the other side. Serve immediately or they can hold in a warm oven for a few minutes. Enjoy!