Sunday, October 11, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

It's been a long time since last I made a pumpkin pie:


(OK, techincally I also made one at Xmas of 2013 too, but that's almost 2 years ago.)

As always, I use Joe's recipe but, year before last, I began to make my crusts with rice flour. I think you'll agree, if you check out the look of that crust vs this one, I've improved my technique. Sure, rice flour serves the purpose of creating a gluten-free pie but, really, the reason I use rice flour is because it's finer and it creates a grittier crust (like sable, so revered by the French). It's not as simple to make a rice flour crust as a wheat flour one. Gluten is a protein that acts as a binding agent. That's what makes it easier to roll and transfer to the pie plate. You need a light hand, a perfectly chilled/rested pastry and confidence when it comes to making a rice-flour crust. Also, don't roll it quite as thin as a wheat-flour crust. I mean, you don't want it thick - but don't go crazy cuz it likes to fall apart. As such, I use about 25 per cent more pastry when making a rice flour crust than I do on a wheat flour one. That's to offset the necessary extra thickness. (But, because it doesn't contain gluten, rice flour crust doesn't get heavy or dense. It stays buttery and light...)

I use wax paper (to roll the crust between) and I position the pie shell on top of the rolled pastry and turn the one into the other with the wax paper still affixed (on what starts off as the bottom of the crust and then becomes the top, after the transfer). FYI, rice flour crust blind bakes much the same as wheat flour crust - so no worries about needing to baby it. I do turn down the heat from 375 to 350 but I'm apt to do that with a wheat crust too.

To understate things completely, I love the smell of a house after making a pumpkin pie. The cloves, cinnamon and ginger seem to simmer with warmth and they balance the sweetness and cream of the pumpkin custard. A good pumpkin pie is sublime - bacchanalian and healthy all at once, to the extent that I actually feel cognitive dissonance while eating! I love to dose it with a large spoon of unsweetened semi-whipped cream (flavoured with vanilla extract). It's freakin' vegetables for dessert, people - what's not to love?

Ah, but this pie polarizes, no? You love it or hate it - which is why I so infrequently make it. My husband won't touch it. Neither will approximately half of any group of guests. And it takes a long time to make if you do the crust in the same go-round as the rest of it. Happily, my kid is in the "I love pumpkin pie" camp so we'll eat half of it tonight and the rest for breakfast tomorrow.

What? Don't tell me that this ain't health food.

Where do you fall on the spectrum? Pumpkin pie for the win? Or do you secretly feed it to the dog when no one's looking?

17 comments:

  1. I love pumpkin pie, my husband hates it and the kids seem to like it most of the time :-) This year I have grown my own pumpkins and I am hoping to try a pie soon. We got invited for dinner, so I haven't made one yet. The pumpkins are greenish blue, Queensland Blue variety, with a bright orange flesh. I have had a pie from these beauties and they taste great. Yours looks wonderful!! Happy Thanksgiving!
    Barb

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    1. You've grown your own pumpkins?!?! Very artisanal Barb :-) I bet your next pie is going to be spectacular and you can take all of the credit (well, you can share it with the sun)!

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    2. Queensland Blue... I'm in Queensland! They are not getting seen so much here but they are a terrific pumpkin. I've never had pumpkin pie so I should try this too.

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  2. I'm decidedly pro pumpkin pie!! Been craving it lately... I usually only make it on Thanksgiving, but I think I'll make one sooner rather than later. :)

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  3. Oh, get started early! You want to perfect your skills by Xmas :-)

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  4. Pumpkin pie IS health food. Yours looks delicious! Wondering if I should put on a bra and get dressed to go to the store, for pie...with vanilla ice cream...

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    1. It's magic! And, I say, go to the store!

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  5. I love it! And have to say that I always roll my pastry between two sheets of wax paper as well. Have been for decades (my husband picked up the trick from a camp cook and passed it along to me), but don't know anyone else who does...

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    1. It's a very good trick, yes? But you'll really notice the difference when using this method with a rice flour crust - the pastry just doesn't have the same sort of resilience as a regular crust. BTW, I really recommend the rice flour crust and NOT cuz it's gluten-free. It's just tastier, IMO.

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  6. I'd have to say on the spectrum of favorite desserts, pumpkin pie is in a 3 way tie with chewy brownies and a turtle sundae. I don't have to bake them very often though, my grandpa always makes one up for me when we visit, and his are better than mine anyway. :-)

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    1. Ha! I do love a turtle... And aren't you lucky to have a grandpa that bakes!

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    2. Oh my this is so interesting... what is a turtle? We have pumpkin soup (yum), pumpkin (Indian) curry, pumpkin scones (or biscuits you call them) and Queensland Blue is the traditional pumpkin to make them with as mentioned above.

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    3. It's chocolate with pecan and caramel. It comes in a cluster and two of them are put together in a little package (like a chocolate bar package - sort of the way Reese's peanut butter cups are packaged).

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  7. Happy thanksgiving!!! I am in full turkey coma right now and have had to pass on pumpkin pie twice in two days lest I risk stomach rupture, but my brother-in-law let me take a while one home from tonight's dinner so I can have some tomorrow. Yours sounds fabulous!!

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    1. And to you! Hope you enjoyed your pie :-)

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  8. From this side of the pond we don't do pumpkin pie...I've never seen one never mind tasted it. But then we do such oddities as black pudding and haggis, so who are we to talk?! Happy thanksgiving.

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    1. It's strange how we speak the same language and eat totally different food! Pumpkin pie, while it freaks out a lot of people (esp those who didn't eat it in childhood) is SO delicious. It tastes nothing like pumpkins (not that I feel pumpkins have much of a taste). Tastes like spices and cream.

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