Real Pumpkin Pie
(courtesy of Kay Fahey, Reno) It may sound over the top to make pumpkin pie with pumpkins, so why bother?
Several reasons: It's easy. It gives authentic flavor. You can support local farmers. You minimize carbon use. It gives you something to do with all of this season's pumpkins. And you have fun, too.
Cooking pumpkin is a cinch. Start with a smaller pie pumpkin variety — they're sweeter and less stringy than other varieties. Whack off the stem and other end and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp with a spoon. Then cut into chunks and steam until tender (about 30 minutes). Or you can cover the halves with foil and bake at 350 degrees F until tender, about 1 hour. Once cooked, scrape flesh from rind and force through a ricer, food mill, or sieve. Alternatively, you can process to a pulp in a food processor.
Pumpkin pie is a custard baked in a pie shell. So you need an unbaked piecrust (see recipe below) and the pumpkin custard. To make the custard 1 cup cooked pumpkin
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
½ cup brown sugar
1½ teaspoon melted butter
1½ teaspoon flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
Pinch of ground clove
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon butter
Cream with a little sugar, a pinch of salt, and a dash of vanilla Mix together about a cup of your cooked pumpkin, 1 egg, 3/4 cup milk, ½ cup brown sugar, 1½ teaspoon melted butter and 1½ teaspoon flour. These are what give the pie its smooth, rich texture.
But it's spices that make the pie so fragrant and delicious. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ginger, and a pinch of ground clove. Stir it all well and pour into your chilled piecrust. Bake at 375 degrees F for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
One trick I picked up in Texas to prevent the crust from getting soggy after a few days is to mix together ¼ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans, and 1 tablespoon butter. If you sprinkle this praline mixture over the bottom of the piecrust and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees F before adding the filling, it protects the crust and adds a kick of southern sweetness.
Serve your pie with cream that's been whipped with a little sugar, a pinch of salt, and a dash of vanilla. Sheer heaven. Piecrust 5½ ounces (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) pastry or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch baking powder
Pinch salt
1½ ounces (3 tablespoons) frozen lard*, cut up
1½ ounces (3 tablespoons) cold butter, cut up
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cold water
1 teaspoon vinegar Blend together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor, or stir together. Pulse in butter and lard, or cut in with a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour into mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, water, and vinegar. Gradually dribble liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, tossing with a fork, until mixture is moist and clumps together. Cover with plastic wrap, form into disk, and let sit in refrigerator for at least one hour. If refrigerated, it will keep at least one week.
* Can substitute vegetable shortening or butter.

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