Perfect Pumpkin [Pecan] Pie

25 Aug
Okay, not the most appetizing photo ever, but it was devoured quickly out of the oven, so I don't have any good ones. Also, the crust went all slumpy on me.

Okay, not the most appetizing photo ever, but it was devoured quickly out of the oven, so I don’t have any good ones. Also, the crust went all slumpy on me. The pie recipe may be perfected, but the crust still needs work.

I did it! I finally found my perfect recipe. It’s easy, fast, requires very few dishes, and turns out beautifully! After years of experimentation and one disastrous evening of baking, I’ve finally worked it out.

First of all, I use fresh pumpkin. But I don’t always use traditional pumpkin. I’m particularly fond of Seminole Squash/Pumpkin, which has a lovely sweet flavor, so I usually skimp a little on the sugar to compensate. I’ve also used Crookneck squash (also sometimes labeled “Neck Pumpkin”), which tastes like canned pumpkin only way better. And there’s always ol’ reliable Pie Pumpkins, which are fine, but the other two are better. In an absolute pinch, or if your squash is slightly too small, you can always bake a sweet potato or two and use it as filler. Or, well, use a can. I guess that’s an option too.

DAIRY SUBSTITUTIONS:

The recipe calls for 2/3 c. heavy cream and 2/3 c. milk, which means you can also use 1 1/3 c. half and half. I used Mimicreme and Almond milk. If you can’t find mimicreme, you can also use 1 1/3 c. unflavored unsweetened soy creamer to replace the half and half.

Obviously, butter is replaced with margarine. We used Earth Balance for pies.

THE RECIPE:

THE CRUST:

Pre-bake your favorite 10″ pie crust, or 9″ pie crust and several ramekins for excess filling.

THE PUMPKIN:

Pick your squash.  Slice your squash in half (or more if needed) and put face down in a roasting pan with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes to an hour — the time really depends on the size of your pumpkin. If you poke the outside with a wooden spoon and it feels soft, it’s done. Take it out and let it cool until you can handle it.

Once cooled, scoop the pumpkin from the skin with a spoon or scraper. Run it through a food processor until smooth. You can refrigerate it for a week or freeze until… well, I’ve used some that was in my freezer from the previous fall, so it keeps a while when frozen.

Praline Layer (Optional):

  • 1/2 c. pecans (chopped or whole)
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 stick butter/margarine

Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until a coarse mixture. Spread over the bottom of pre-baked pie crust. Bake another 5 minutes.

Everything goes in the blender. And then you mix it. And then you bake it. And then you eat it.

Everything goes in the blender. And then you mix it. And then you bake it. And then you eat it. Also note that in this version, I completely forgot the praline layer.

Pie Layer:

  • 2 c. (16 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • Spices:
    • 2 tsp ground ginger
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh ground is best)
    • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Combine pumpkin, sugar, and spices in food processor or blender. Add:

  • 2/3 c. Mimicreme
  • 2/3 c. Almond milk

OR

  • 1 1/3 c. Unflavored Soy Creamer (or half & half)

Pulse a few times until mixed, then add:

  • 4 large eggs

Pulse until smooth. Pour into the pre-baked (praline lined) pie shell. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges begin to set but the center wiggles like jell-o. Cool at least one hour, then top with whipped cream (possibly flavored with brandy) and chopped pecans.

Bake at around 350&deg, which means set our crappy oven to about 225.

Bake at around 350°, which means set our crappy oven to about 225°. Also, wash your oven knobs BEFORE taking photos of them.

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