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Archive for the ‘Baked Goods’ Category

This here is a summer meal.

“But wait!” you say, “it’s only May!”.  Well obviously you didn’t spend last weekend in Toronto/Ontario/my sweltering apartment. So if May seems a little too early to be laying in front of a fan and spritzing water on yourself from the spray bottle normally reserved for punishing the cat, forgive me.  We’re waiting for the screens for our windows to arrive, and since my cat would likely launch herself out of our apartment in chase of birds if I opened the un-screened windows all the way, for now we sweat.

So yes, you may have heard that I moved again. Spare me the “you move a lot!” remarks if you please, because my past bunch of moves have been necessary and had you lived in two back-to-back (TWO!!!) cockroach-infested apartments with a host of other problems to boot, you’d move too. This is the first time in over a year that I’ve felt like I have a home I want to go home to, and it is an immense relief and such a burden lifted off of my emotional and mental health! I am also now embarking on the adventure that is cohabitation, so things are all new up in here.

The new kitchen.

But this is a food blog, not a blog about my life (or is it? are those things not kind of the same anyways?) I owe you a summery meal, and a summery meal you’ll get.

Well hello there, magnetic knife rack…

Last Friday I finally received my copy of Alana Chernila’s cookbook, entitled The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making.  Very honestly, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen such a beautiful cookbook. I sat down and basically read it cover to cover when I got home on Friday evening, and I rarely do that with cookbooks. I’m usually a page-flipper with new cookbooks. But time and time again, Alana’s blog has had these beautifully written pieces that say so much about food, so much that I wholeheartedly agree with.  I would be lying if I said that my eyes didn’t get a little welly-with-tears when I read certain pages of her book.  It’s wonderful, and on Friday night, I was inspired to start making more than just dinner. Saturday morning I bought rhubarb at the market, and will be making some more Rosemary-Rhubarb jam soon. But on Saturday, though none of the recipes came from her book, I made a summery feast.

Homemade veggie burgers, with homemade whole-wheat buns, maple-lemon fiddleheads (by Paul!) and homemade lemon ice cream. Nom.

Now, I won’t tell you about the burgers, because I’ve already written about them here. I’ll tell you about the ice cream and about the buns.

First, the buns. A confession: I’m a bread cheater, because I use a bread machine. I know that I could do it all without the machine, but the machine makes it SO EASY, and I have it, so I’ll continue to use it until I decide it is no longer fit for me. I adapted the bun recipe from here, primarily changing it to include more whole wheat flour and I used butter and some sunflower oil rather than shortening, because shortening is gross.

Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns for the Bread Machine

1 cup water

1 egg

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

1.5 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup softened butter (supplemented with a little bit of sunflower oil, because I didn’t have quite enough butter already softened, and I am now without a microwave and didn’t want to wait)

1/4 cup sugar

3 teaspoons yeast

1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (optional)

I used the dough setting on my bread machine, and when it was done I punched it down on a floured cutting board and rolled into a kind of log. I cut it into 8 equal pieces, rolled those into balls, and flattened them slightly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. I covered them with a towel and let them rise a bit more, then brushed them with some egg white, popped them in the oven at 400, and baked them for less than 10 minutes. They were DELICIOUS. I wanted to eat a million of them, but we only had 8 and they were gone so quickly. Thank goodness I’m not gluten-intolerant.

Insert “nice buns” joke here.

Now, the ice cream. The lemon ice cream. If you didn’t already know, lemon desserts are my favourite. For awhile, an old roommate of mine was calling me Liz Lemoncake, after I expressed concern that people would start complaining behind my back that I always make lemon cake. Obviously, my roommate told me I was crazy, and that people would be happy that I was bringing cake at all.  This lemon ice cream is my mom’s recipe. I grew up having it very rarely (because we didn’t use the ice cream maker that much) but remember it fondly. I have often tried to find an ice cream elsewhere that lives up to it, but have never found one – it is truly a rarety to find a lemon ice cream – not lemon sorbet, not lemon frozen yogurt, lemon ICE CREAM. It is tart and yet oh-so-creamy at the same time, and it is divine. Here it is, verbatim from my mom’s recipe (hope this one wasn’t a secret, mom!)

I think this recipe came with my mom’s ice cream maker?

makes 1 1/2 quarts
2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup lemon juice (approx 2 lemons)
2 tbsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla
heat the milk to simmering point.  In the meantime, stir together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt.  Stir the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture and return to the saucepan.  Place over low heat and stir constantly until thickened into a light custard. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Cool the mixture before pouring into the ice cream freezer can.
Churn for approximately 20 minutes or until the consistency of whipped cream.  Transfer to containers and freeze until firm.
If you don’t have an ice cream machine, I can’t help you. Except that I can, if you are my friend and live in Toronto and want to come over for ice cream.

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I know what you’re thinking – “That Liz, any excuse to say the word ‘nips’!” but it isn’t like that, I swear. A little while back, I started buying goldfish crackers. This increased when the President’s Choice version came out not too long ago, which are shaped like penguins and just a little bit cheaper than the original.  I started buying these partly to try and break my Crispers habit, because while Crispers are certainly delicious, they are also full of all kinds of crap.  Surprisingly, goldfish/penguin crackers mostly are not.  I mean, they have some things in them that I wouldn’t use in my food at home, but not nearly as bad as the barrage of un-pronounceable things that many other crackers have in them.  And so a cheese-y cracker addiction began.  Sometimes I would opt for Cheese Nips (I swear, I’m not trying to advertise for any of these brands) if they were on sale.  But always, as I bought these, there was a voice in my head nagging me. It was saying “Stop buying these – save your money.  You know you can make these at home”.  This voice usually comes up in the cookie aisle, when I’m tempted to buy some crappy grocery store cookies and I talk myself out of it with images of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

Not too long ago, I never would have dreamed of making crackers.  Even though I’ve seen roommates make them before with ease.  But those are usually healthy crackers, and I just want a salty snack.  All the homemade crackers I pictured in my head were covered in seeds and made with spelt and all that – completely delicious for many purposes, but generally not the kind of crackers I buy anyways.   But then, almost a year ago now, there was THIS.  I remember reading that post and having my mind blown.  It looked so easy.  So few ingredients! And yet, I didn’t have a goldfish-shaped cookie cutter.  So I put off making them.  And oh yeah, I didn’t really have a good food processor either.  Always excuses, and I kept buying the cheesey store crackers.

Today, I came home from the grocery store to do my homework.  And I did homework, for a little while.  And then I remembered that every day last week I brought penguin-cheese crackers with me to school in my lunch, and I didn’t have any more for this week.  I remembered that I just bought 2 blocks of cheese on sale (300g block for 2 bucks! Pretty good deal!).  Without hesitation, I got up, and started grating cheese.  I knew if I started, it would come together in no time, and it did.  The only part of this recipe that takes any time is the actual baking, and that’s not really active time.  So make these for yourself, because holy crap, they are sooo easy and more delicious than any store version, and cheaper, and they only have SIX ingredients. Two of them are flour, and none of them are weird.  And really, truly, you don’t need a goldfish cookie cutter to make them.

Cheese Crackers a la Goldfish (adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from The Lee Bros.)

– 1 1/2 cups grated old cheddar cheese (really pack it in those cups, the more cheese the better. If you want to weigh it, its supposed to be 6 ounces of grated cheese)

-4 TBSP of butter (I cut mine into little cubes, and softened a bit in the microwave)

-1/2 cup whole wheat flour

-1/4 cup regular flour

-1/4 tsp. onion powder (optional – you can barely taste it, but I think it adds character)

-1/4 tsp. salt (you can put less – these are not as salty as the store-bought kind, but they are still salty.  I’m a salt fiend, so if you want less, go for it)

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and let blend until it forms a ball of dough. This should take about 2 minutes.  THIS was the craziest thing ever! When I turned on my food processor, it just looked like bread crumbs, and I thought there was no way it would come together into a ball of dough.  Did I miss something? Am I supposed to add some water? I checked the recipe again and read through the comments.  Nope, no water. I resisted the urge to add some right away and decided to (gasp!) follow the directions. It was nuts, I’ve never seen this before.  A mix of totally dry and crumbly bits started to get more clumpy, and more clumpy, until suddenly it was one big ball of dough and my food processor was working hard to push it around in circles.  Crazy! So, have faith in this dough.

Roll it out (on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin) until it is 1/8 inch thick.  I never know how thick my dough is, so just try and get it fairly thin, yet thick enough that you are still actually able to pick it up off your rolling surface. Since I don’t have any cookie cutters, I just cut my crackers into squares, placed them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, pricked them a few times with a fork (to let the steam escape) and misted them with water.  In my insanely-fast-super-hot oven, these only took about 5-6 minutes per batch, but the recipe said 12-15.  So keep an eye on them.  Take them out when they are starting to be golden at the edges, but before they burn (duh).  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Keep in an airtight container at room temperature.  Sometimes things like this go soggy when they are in containers, I will let you know if that happens.

I ate about a million of them while I baked, and still ended up with about 80 1-inch square crackers, so pretty good.  They cost me about $1 worth of cheese to make, and the rest of the ingredients I always have and so I count that cost as pretty much negligible. So all in all, a great deal. Even if “I love homemade-cheesey-square-crackers cuz they’re so delicious!” doesn’t quite flow off the tongue in the same way. Enjoy!

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PEACHES. Holy moly, do I ever love them. I feel like this year I’ve missed a lot of the summer seasonal fruit, both because I was out of town so much during the month of July when things like raspberries and blueberries were in their heyday, but also because this year was actually not very fruitful for some of our more beloved summer fruits – mostly the stone fruits.  Why? Well, we had a wet spring, and our already-waning pollinators can’t go out in the rain to pollinate those beautiful cherry and apricot blossoms.  Not Far From the Tree has a great blog post explaining this, check it out here.  What this all means is that now that I’m finally moved and settled, I’m also ready to start cooking, baking, and preserving like a madwoman, and peaches are right on time.

I bought myself a basket of Ontario peaches, and since our dear friend Emily was coming over the next day to see our new apartment in the morning, I wanted to make some kind of breakfast cake to be enjoyed with coffee or tea.  In the recent tradition of my freestyle banana bread, I decided to essentially make the recipe up as I went along.  The problem? Well, it seems that when I cook I can remember EITHER to take photos, OR to write down the recipe I’m making up as I go.  I have yet to master the taking of pictures AND the recipe recording AND the cooking altogether.  The result this time is that I have a great new recipe for you, with no photos of the work in progress. D’oh!

The good news? I couldn’t have been happier with how this little coffee cake thing turned out.  It was just the right sweetness, a great texture, and the peaches weren’t overpowered by the other ingredients.  Without further ado, here’s my recipe – finally, an original of mine!

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used bread flour because it’s what I had on hand)

1/4 cup or so of regular large flake oats (this was an afterthought so I just dumped some in)

3/4 tsp of both baking soda and baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

some freshly grated nutmeg, and a generous pinch of cinnamon

Stir together those dry ingredients!

3/4 stick of butter, softened (a stick is one quarter of a 1lb block of butter, or 6/8 of a cup)

1/4 cup of white sugar

1/4 cup plus another small glug of maple syrup

1 egg

a splash of vanilla and a splash of dark rum

3/4 cup of plain yogurt

1 cup of chopped peaches

Cream together the butter, sugar and syrup, and then beat in the egg, vanilla, and rum.  Stir in the yogurt and then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Stir until combined and then add in the peaches.  Bake in a VERY well-greased or parchment-lined loaf pan for approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  You’ll have to keep an eye on it and just keep inserting a toothpick or fork to test for the cake’s doneness – for a long time it seemed like the top of mine was going to burn long before the cake was cooked, but it worked out fine.  I also sprinkled the top with some turbinado sugar before baking for that crunchy sugar topping!  A great finishing touch! Here’s what the cake looked like when it was done:

Now, since I did such a poor job of photo-documenting this tasty little creation, I’ll end with a smattering of photos of recent edible delights.  Next time I’ll do better, I promise!

Pizza with golden zucchini, caramelized onions, and fresh basil and kale from the garden!

Bread and Butter Pickles with Fresh Ginger!

Strawberry summer cake back from Canada Day weekend! Kat didn't get any and she was sad...

See you next time! I’ll keep you posted about my preserving exploits and the vegetarian creations I cook up on my brand new (drumroll!) BBQ!

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Let it be known that I carried a food-grade large white bucket and lid home from work on the TTC on Monday so that Kat Burns and I could use it to make sauerkraut.  Before I left work I kept wearing it like a purse and saying things like “It’s the new Dolce & Gabbana”.  Do D&G even make purses? I’m not the type of person who would know.  Anyway, sauerkraut has been postponed until next week.  The real story is that on Sunday night Kat sent me the following email:

“Can we make Hors d’Oeuvre pie? I found the recipe in a 1978 National
Geographic advert and it sounds both gross and awesome. Behold:

1 x frozen pie shell (blasphemy!) flattened to a big circle
340g of Cream Cheese
60 g of Blue cheese (optional)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp onion or garlic salt

Garnish: cherry tomato halves, sliced mushrooms, parsley sprigs,
chopped hard boiled egg and sliced ripe olives (in a circular pattern,
looks pretty nice). Bake pastry, cool. Places on serving platter. Blend first 4
ingredients until fluffy, spread on pastry. Garnish as shown. Makes 12
wedges.

YUm”

Now I myself (unlike many reasonable and unreasonable people of this world) am a big mayo lover, but even this I thought was a little much.  Still, I’m always up for a food adventure.  I had a frozen pie crust that I’d made awhile back so I took it out to thaw.  Later on, though, Kat and I decided that eating a mayonnaise pie between just the two of us was not such a good idea afterall.  So instead! We made a sort of quiche/tart thing.  I (as usual) took inspiration from Smitten Kitchen, but mostly because I thought to myself “does cauliflower even go with eggs?” because I had eggs, and I had cauliflower.  I trusted that based on that recipe, the two would combine well.

 

For Christmas I got a set of pie weight chains in my stocking, and decided to give them a whirl, since quiche is the type of thing you’re supposed to blind bake pastry for.  Let me just say, I don’t think I can be bothered so much with the blind baking.  I have always found that if you chill your crust in the pie plate for awhile before filling it, it may get a bit soggy on the bottom but not unreasonably so.  This blind baking business is a lot of hassle, and even with my new pie weights, the thing shrunk so much!

Giant hand pinches the butts of unsuspecting onions.

 

So anyway, I rolled out my crust and I weighted it in the pie plate and I baked it empty for about 20 minutes and then quickly put a baking sheet of cauliflower in to roast as soon as the pie crust came out and all the while I was caramelizing some onions in my trusty cast iron pan.  I whisked together some milk, ricotta cheese, a tiny dollop of mustard, grated gruyere and a mere 2 eggs in a bowl and ground in some salt and pepper.  When the onions and the cauliflower were done, I put the onions in the pie crust, then the cauliflower, and then poured the egg-milk-cheese mixture over it all.  Then we baked some more.  I always have a hard time telling when eggs are done if they’re being baked and there’s cheese or other dairy in them – they always seem undercooked but it’s so hard to tell if they’re just deliciously silky from the cheese and whatnot.  Better safe than sorry though I guess.  I turned the oven to broil for the last few minutes to get a nice browned crunchy top.

Meanwhile, Kat made a salad with romaine, raw collard greens, and some of my rainbow carrots.  She told me I had to eat all my salad so I ate it first because I hate raw vegetables for the most part, and salad especially.

The quiche/tart/whatever it was was delicious, and as per usual, Kat and I washed it all down with many hours of 90210.  Later we made a giant chocolate chip cookie.  Mondays are awesome.

I dog-eared the corner so I wouldn't forget which cookie I was eating.

 

P.S. If you happened to NOT click on the link on Kat’s name above, please do, and here it is again.  She’s undertaking a really awesome project for the month of February, and you can snag some awesome original art for a great deal!

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Last Monday Kat and I were unable to cook-n-blog together because I had to work in the evening, so I thought I’d delay the previous week’s post so as to space out the food porn until our next food adventure.  That sounds better than saying “I was too lazy to post something this week”, right? Anyway, the last time that Kat and I met I made the food that I had intended to make on our first Monday – a black bean soup using the crockpot that Kat has indefinitely lent me while she lives on the island.  Crockpots are so cool.  I’ve never owned one myself, and I don’t use Kat’s as much as I should, but I love the idea of being able to leave something simmering while you’re out all day without worrying about burning your whole house down.  I may have mentioned this in my last post, but I’m trying really hard to live more like a poor person these days, which mostly just means cooking more in the ways that I’d like to be anyways.  Meaning, less prepared foods – but to the max; i.e. I’ve been buying dried beans rather than canned ones, making my own bread in my awesome breadmachine that I got for Christmas, etc.  It requires a bit more planning, but you have so much more control over your food AND it saves money.

So I wanted to make a black bean soup, and I started out by wanting to make this one, because as you all know by now, I love the SmitKit.  Also, the cumin seed crema sounded amazing, and her soup just looks so…smooth. I wanted that smoothness.  But then, when I actually made the soup, I didn’t follow that recipe at all, but still complained when my soup didn’t look smooth at all.  Hey, I never said I was rational.  I think the biggest reason why my soup didn’t look like that is that Deb over at Smitten Kitchen COOKED her beans in the crockpot all together with the soup ingredients, so all that beany cooking liquid would be in there making it darker and more voluptuous.  But I cooked the beans beforehand, for reasons I just don’t know.  When I went to make the soup I looked at that Smitten Kitchen recipe, and the black bean soup recipe in my copy of Veganomicon, and then kind of made up my own that was inspired by each of those recipes.  Basically, I sauteed onion, garlic, celery, carrot, and some green and orange peppers and added spices and one of my reconstituted chipotle peppers from my summer CSA (the first time I actually used one of these peppers – so good!) and then dumped all that into the crockpot with some water and the beans and turned it on.  Later I pureed part of the soup in my teeny tiny food processor, which reminded me how much I miss having an immersion blender. Pureeing soup in any kind of blender or food processor is just the worst. THE WORST.

Portrait of the Cornbread as a Young Man

I did, however, follow Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for the cumin seed crema, and I used creme fraiche and OMG why don’t I buy/make creme fraiche all the time? I want to eat this cumin creme fraiche on everything! I will be honest – while Kat and I watched 90210 I ate several spoonfuls (or actually, finger-dipfuls) of that creme fraiche all on its own, and also drizzled mass quantities of it over the cornbread I made to go with the soup.  Everything and anything is a vehicle for this creme fraiche to get into my belly.

Anyways, though the soup didn’t look nearly as pretty as I may have wanted, it tasted quite good and it packed quite a spicy punch from that one tiny chipotle pepper.  I had tons of leftovers and it reheated very well.

P.S. You may be thinking “That’s an awfully full glass of wine” but while I would not be opposed to drinking such a glass of wine you should know that it is actually a portion of the very delicious (though sadly not Ontario-made) Creme Brulee Stout that we drank that night, and which I have enjoyed on other occasions as well.  Beer + Beans + Cornbread.  Not a bad Monday.  See you next week, when Kat and I put a bunch of cabbage in a bucket and see what happens.

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Yes, this blog post is entitled “Pastry taste explosion”.  Honestly, I couldn’t think of anything else to title it.  I wanted to say something like “The most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten for realz and it tastes like autumn inside a crust” but I figured that would be a little too long.  But honestly, I took one bite of this and was like “I think this is the single most delicious thing I’ve ever made and eaten”.  Which is surely an exaggeration but be that as it may, you should make this.

This recipe is another one that I’ve adapted from Smitten Kitchen, and you can see her recipe for Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette here.  I’m sure that if you followed her recipe exactly it would yield something equally as amazing, if not better.  She loves galettes over there at SK, and I was mostly intimidated by them until Emily made the cabbage mushroom one for a dinner party I attended in the summer.  I was inspired to try it on my own shortly after, and made the same one. And it was definitely really good.  But THIS one. Holy smokes, it was amazing.

While this recipe is definitely time-consuming, it’s mostly waiting around time, so it is not too hard.  I changed the recipe slightly by using a different squash that I had on hand – I think it was a little acorn squash, but those green smallish round ones with the ruffles all look the same to me – and I changed the cheese as well.  Rather than use fontina I used a cheese that was called “Gruyere de Grotte” and it was strong and delicious.  You can check out her recipe, but basically you cut up your squash and roast it in cubes until it is tender, and meanwhile you get your onions going.  I used about one and a half of some sizable onions – don’t skimp on them.  Just slice them in thin half moons and get them slowly slowly cooking in butter.  It’ll take awhile, but you don’t want them on heat that’s too high or you’ll just char them. You should’ve already made your dough by now and have it in the fridge – and I know that most people are not really into slapping together some dough for your average dinner, but I’m telling you it’s SO EASY and SO SATISFYING and everything tastes better in a crust.  Also, this.  But I digress.

The major key to this recipe is FRESH SAGE.  You gotta use fresh sage.  Once your onions and your squash are cooked you mix all the stuff together that is going to go inside your crust.  I didn’t grate my cheese because I secretly HATE grating cheese and instead just cut it up into tiny cubes.  Toss your sage and cheese and onions and squash together and that’s your filling!  Now you just roll out your crust, put it on a baking sheet, glop everything in the middle, and fold up your edges.  The best part about galettes is that they are meant to look “rustic” so you just fold up your uneven edges as they are.  Then you bake it.

It’ll come out looking something like that, and you’ll barely be able to let it cook for a few minutes without slicing into it immediately.  I practically melted when I took my first bite because it tasted exactly like this:

So yeah, it tasted like Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Glen Major Forest site on a foggy October afternoon. Sounds delicious, am I right?

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So, I love thanksgiving.  I suppose I don’t get quite as giddy about it as I do about the Christmas season, but Christmas gets extended over many more days usually (food-wise, drink-wise, and fun-wise) and thanksgiving is just a concentrated, one shot deal.  I love thanksgiving because for the most part (and in Canada, at least) the holiday doesn’t have any real religious basis, and is mostly about giving THANKS for the harvest.  I love the harvest!  I also love autumn, and thanksgiving falls during the perfect part of autumn where it’s not so cold yet (how do Americans do it?!) and there’s often still these warm sunny days, but with the crisp breezes and leaves that fall brings.  I have spent many a thanksgiving in Bright’s Grove going for a bike ride along the lake while the turkey is in the oven.

But I digress, the point is, that I love thanksgiving because it seems to exist for no other purpose than to bring family and friends together for good hearty food and drink.  Which is basically what I want to do, like, every day. This year my parents went away (wah!) and to Savannah, Georgia no less (double wah! i wanna go!) and so I stayed in Toronto and made a mini vegetarian thanksgiving on Monday.  I will post part two of this meal tomorrow, but today I want to tell you about The Pie.

See that? That’s the pumpkin that made it into my pie.  “Huh?!” you say? It doesn’t look like a pumpkin? Well, I know.  But it is. I went to pick up my CSA on Friday and intended to get a pie pumpkin when I was there.  But when I got there, I couldn’t see any of the lil’ cuties there.  So I asked if they had any, and Shannon (one of my trusty CSA peeps) told me to look in the bushel at my feet and pull out the long green squashy thing.  She told me it was a pumpkin, and that it actually makes the best pumpkin pie.  It’s an heirloom variety called the “long pie pumpkin” and she’d only had pie made with a long pie for the first time last year, but said that she can never go back now.  The internet also told me that puree made from a long pie has a tendency to be much less watery, which is great because I was not really in the mood to have to go buy cheesecloth and strain my pumpkin glop overnight in the sink, you know?

I already sort of talked about how to cook a pumpkin when I talked about the curry I made a couple weeks ago, but basically chop it up, steam it, slip the skin off, and then in this case, puree it in a food processor.  I did the pumpkin cooking and pureeing on Saturday evening, and kept the puree in the fridge overnight, tightly covered.

On Sunday morning, before work, I actually made the pie itself.  I took the pumpkin puree out of the fridge in the morning to warm up a bit, because it seemed like it should be more like room temperature than ice cold.  I basically followed the recipe for pumpkin pie from my Joy of Cooking book, though I didn’t pre-bake the pie shell at all, because it seemed like a lot of trouble and we never did that growing up.  I did put the pie shell (once rolled out and in the pie plate) in the fridge for a good half hour before adding the filling to bake it.  If you don’t pre-bake or chill it then I suspect you’ll end up with a bottom crust that is total mush.

The filling is basically 2-3 eggs, beaten, 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (or cream), 2 cups of pumpkin puree, some white sugar and some more brown sugar (i used about 1/3 cup of each I think) and your spices.  Generous amounts of ground ginger and ground cinnamon, and then smaller amounts of nutmeg, allspice and cloves.  I used the smallest spec of ground cloves because I share my mother’s aversion to clove-flavour, but wanted to make sure I got the all-round pumpkin pie flavour.  Create your tinfoil crust protection space pie thing (see above – this is how you avoid burning the edge of your crust – you can take it off for the last little bit of the bake time) and put that baby in the oven.  Carefully, because it’s gonna slosh.  Probably best to put the pie on a baking sheet before pouring the filling it so that it’s easier to carry over to the oven, but I didn’t do this and I survived.  Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes. Basically until firm, which means that if you give it a jiggle it doesn’t look really sloshy.  It’s still going to be moist, and it will definitely continue to cook a bit more in the pie plate once it’s out of the oven.  So PLEASE, don’t make the same mistake I made last year and let your mom and aunt watch the pie for the last little bit, after they’ve insisted it’s still undercooked, only to come back downstairs and have them tell you that they wrecked your pie and that they saw the pie filling literally BOILING in and bubbling in the dish in the oven.  Blackened pumpkin pie is NOT Southern delicacy, nor a Northern one.  (Sorry Mom and Glenda – how could I talk about this year’s pie without mentioning last year’s?)

Isn’t she cute? On Monday we had this for dessert (alongside hot toddys for Carly and I, and tea for the teatotalling Kat and Mara) and it was totally good.  We’d been reading and laughing and making fun of this cookbook of mine that has awful non-puns and anecdotes, and someone starting calling the author a “chocolate slut” and then Mara bit into her piece of pie and said “This is really good! You’re no chocolate slut!”.

An unorthodox compliment, but a good one, and I’ll take it.  I wish I had 3 more of these pies.  More Thanksgiving stuff to come tomorrow…

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