Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkin Pie

After some unusually warm weather this late in October, it seems that it has finally started to cool down in earnest. The fall air has made me crave things made with apples and hard winter squash, such as apple crumble, pumpkin pie and butternut squash soup.

Spread out over two days, I made a pumpkin pie following the recipe in The Essential Baker, the book whose recipe I used for my carrot cake. Why did it take two days? Well, first I made the pastry dough for the crust, which had to chill for a couple of hours. Because I had things to do, I let it chill until the next day.

Rolling out the dough into a decent, properly-sized circle shape of even thickness was more difficult that I had anticipated, and I blame that on my rolling pin. It's the type of rolling pin that many household are no doubt familiar with: the centre barrel rolls, while you hold onto the stationary handles. Well, you just can't apply the right amount of even pressure. It was very frustrating, and I had to return the half rolled-out crust to the refrigerator several times because it was taking so long and the dough was warming up.

Finally, I had the crust rolled out and eased in to line the deep-dish pie plate. As the unbaked pie crust was cooling in the freezer (to prevent shrinkage when baking), I mixed together the ingredients for the pumpkin filling.
The filling went into the unbaked crust, and the pie went into the oven.And, around an hour later, a pumpkin pie - its filling still billowing up with heat - came out of the oven.
When the pie had cooled down all the way, however, the filling had shrunken and come away from the crust, all around the perimeter! This in no way affected the taste of the pie, which was very good. And it wasn't super heavy, overly sweet, or overloaded with spices, unlike many other pumpkin pies I have eaten. In fact, the filling was surprisingly light, and almost airy. This is a pie that you could have two slices of.
The only problems were 1) the crust was over-browned/slightly burnt, and 2) the filling shrank. It isn't so bad on this piece you see here. But on some of the other pieces, the entire side of the crust falls away from the pie filling and flops down rather pathetically.

I called Moocow to try to figure out what had gone wrong. She said, since the pumpkin pie filling is custard-like, it needed to bake slowly in a not-too-hot oven. That being the case, the crust should probably have been baked blind before being filled with the filling and baked slowly. When I had been following the recipe, I did think it rather strange that the crust wasn't to be baked first, but I decided to trust the recipe. Next time, I think I will try it following Moocow's advice. I'll probably shield the crust with aluminium foil, as well, so it doesn't burn. And, as soon as I can, I'm going to buy a simple, French rolling pin.

1 comment:

MooCow said...

Now that I've seen the pictures, yeah, your pie was definitely baked too hot. You know how it billowed up when it was baking? It was actually souffle-ing. That's what happens when a custard is cooked to hot. If you tweak the recipe a bit and cook it even hotter, you WOULD have gotten a souffle.