The Virgin Stove

Making everything for the first time

Caramel Pumpkin Pie

This afternoon, I cooked in Apartment #2 from noon ’til 5 pm. It was my turn to sponsor a dinner and I was determined to make things from scratch and not do the cowardly thing and call Domino’s. I decided that one of the four dishes would be pumpkin pie because I have an obsession with pumpkin and I have never made or even eaten a pumpkin pie. Thankfully, Serious Eats published a list of great pumpkin pie recipes. I selected one that looked most attractive and doable.

Due to my annoyance with my not-so-stellar pie crust the last time, I decided to try the attached pie crust procedure in the caramel pumpkin pie recipe from Gourmet. The result was much better! There was no dough shortage, the crust was perfectly thin, perfectly golden, and perfectly flaky.

I did change the procedure a little. Instead of molding the dough into a disk and chilling it for an hour before rolling it flat, I rolled it straight after making it. It was much more pliable, of course, and I transferred it on the pan and chilled it afterwards, pan and all.

After blind-baking, the result was a pale, golden yellow crust, which would turn into a richer color after baking with the filling. (I still need to work on my pie crust decorating skills, hehe.)

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures while making the filling. 😦 I was probably way too busy making the honey-glazed baked chicken at the same time and didn’t even think about photos. But I was excited about using ground cloves for the first time. I’ve never used cloves before in spite of it being a common ingredient in recipes involving pumpkin.

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the Philippines or even here in Saudi Arabia so this is a very unusual dish for us, although I understand it’s quite common in Northern America.  My friends thought it was odd but delicious… Unless they’re puling my leg. 🙂

I made two so the big one is for the dinner and the small one is for my roommate and a couple of friends. I forgot to mention that it was also my roommate’s last day in Saudi Arabia – she left for good after 19 years here – so we took her to the airport and I brought the small pie for snacks.

Okay, enough chatting. Here’s the recipe!

CARAMEL PUMPKIN PIE
From Gourmet

For pastry
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 4 tablespoons ice water and gently knead with your fingers until incorporated.

Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, kneading until incorporated, then test again.

Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 14-inch circle, then fit into a pie or quiche pan and trim excess dough from the rim. Chill for 1-2 hours.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Lightly prick bottom of shell all over with a fork, then line with foil and fill with pie weights. I used uncooked rice as pie weights. Put pan on a baking sheet and bake pie shell until side is set and edge is pale golden for 18 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove weights and foil and bake shell until bottom is golden for about 10 minutes more. Cool completely in pan on a rack for about 30 minutes.

For filling
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
1 (15-oz) pumpkin puree
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 3- to 3 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup and gently swirl pan (do not stir) until mixture is a deep golden caramel for about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to moderate and carefully add 1 cup cream (mixture will bubble vigorously), stirring until caramel is dissolved. Stir in remaining cup cream and bring just to a simmer.

Whisk together pumpkin purée, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in hot cream mixture, then add eggs, whisking until combined well. Pour filling into cooled crust and bake until puffed 1 1/2 inches from edge and center is just set for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for about 2 hours. (Pie will continue to set as it cools.)

Serve with whipped cream.

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