Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Pumpkin Pie

The pumpkins at this time of year are plentiful, cheap and deliciously sweet. For those of you who have experienced and been turned off by dry, fibrous, tasteless pumpkin in the past, I implore you to buy yourself a pumpkin today and give it another shot.
I bought a couple of butternut pumpkins at Coles for just $1/kilo recently, and let me tell you: they made the best pumpkin soup I have ever had. Of course, I devoured the entire vat before it even crossed my mind to take photos, so I decided to do something else with the pumpkin instead.

I have had pumpkin pie a few times before, but I have never really been won over by it. I've wanted to love it, but somehow it never hit the spot. I decided to take matters into my own hands and see once and for all if Pumpkin Pie could be delicious. After all, if any pumpkin could make a good pie, I was sure these could.

This pie has a delicate, buttery pastry, and the filling is softly set and aromatically spiced. While I admit that Pumpkin Pie is not my favourite dessert, I would willingly eat this version again. I ate it first cold, but found that I preferred it heated the next day with custard. Next time, perhaps, I will eat it warm from the oven rather than allow it to cool, as seems to be traditional.

Get in now while the pumpkins are still in season!

Prize winning pumpkins at the Sydney Royal Easter Show
Without a doubt, the largest pumpkin I have ever seen.

RECIPE- adapted from Lucy Bonnano's 'Pumpkin Pie' in Hands across the kitchen
Made 3x 9cm tarts

For the pastry

1/2 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons icing sugar
50g butter
1 egg yolk
1-2 teaspoons iced water

Place flour, icing sugar and cubed butter into a food processor. Blitz until the mix resembles bread crumbs. With the motor running, add the yolk and then the water, little by little, until the mixture begins to come together. Stop the motor short of it's forming a ball.

Tip contents of processor onto a sheet of cling film  Use the cling film  not your hands- to press the dough into a disk, then rap up in the cling film and place in the fridge for 1/2 hour to rest.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Remove dough from fridge and roll out on a floured surface till it is 3 mm thick. Use a bowl or circular cutter to mark out 13 cm circles on the dough, then use a knife to cut them out. Lift the pastry into the tart tins and use an off cut of pastry to coax the dough gently into the corners of the pan. Line all 3 then use a fork to prick the base before placing the tart tin back into the refrigerator until the oven is fully heated.

Once heated, remove the tin from the fridge. Scrunch up 3 pieces of baking paper until they become malleable,  then gently line the pastry tarts with them. Fill the lined tarts with dried rice, beans or baking beads, then blind bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Once cool enough to handle, remove the tarts carefully from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:

125 g baked pumpkin flesh
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
small grating of fresh nutmeg
1 egg yolk
100mls cream


Puree pumpkin in the food processor until completely smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blitz to combine into a smooth mixture. Fill cooled tart shells almost to the brim with the pumpkin custard mixture. Decorate with excess pastry.

Place tart shells onto a line baking tray and place into the oven. Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees C and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until no longer wobbly in the centre.

Serve warm or cold, as desired, with ice cream, cream or custard. Store pumpkin pie in fridge for freshness.