Friday, November 16, 2007

The Life of Pie

Thanksgiving is coming on fast, and I'm trying to pull together my last recipes and items for an upcoming article over at The Ethicurean. But it's been yet another busy week, and my last experiments have had to wait until the weekend.

After baking off almost the last of the local pumpkins last weekend, I tucked the pulp in the refrigerator to save for a pie. It's been a few years since I made a pumpkin pie, but I knew that this time around I wanted to try something a little different.

See, in my family we often had both pumpkin pie and pecan pie at the end of the Thanksgiving feast. And while pecan pie is my all-time favorite, I couldn't pass up the pumpkin pie because that was my chance for whipped cream. (Who puts whipped cream on pecan pie? It's just not right.)

So instead of choosing between the two this year, I decided to combine them. Thanks to the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book (and yes, it's becoming one of my main go-to baking books), I found a way to do it.

I started by making a crumbly crust, reminiscent of a graham cracker crust, with toasted oats and pecans ground together with maple sugar, cinnamon, a dash of salt and orange peel, and melted butter.


While the crust baked, I whipped up a filling from the baked pumpkin pulp pureed with eggs, half and half, maple syrup, spices, and a bit of vanilla.


Really, it looked and smelled like the best pumpkin batter I've made in a long, long time. I poured it into the cooled crust, and since I had a little bit left over, I greased a pottery ramekin and poured the rest into that for a bit of pumpkin custard.

Less than an hour later, I was practically hanging on the oven door, waiting to pull out this beauty:


Since the pie needed to cool -- and I wanted to save it for company tomorrow night -- I indulged in the custard for my dessert, adding a dollop of maple sugar-sweetened cream yogurt on top.


What a satisfying experiment! And what made it even more satisfying was tasting all the local ingredients: pumpkin, eggs, milk, butter, maple syrup, maple sugar, and oats.

I have to go back and sort through the recipes, add my changes, and type it up, but you'll find it over at The Ethicurean next week.

But there's no guarantee how much longer you'll find the pie at my place... it might disappear soon!

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