By Dana Zia, The Golightly Gourmet
Let’s face it, Thanksgiving is about pie. I know, I know, there is family, turkey, thankfulness and the beginning of the Christmas season wrapped up in there too. But, it’s really all about pie. Pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie, coconut cream pie, you name it, one or more of those pies will grace 80 percent of the country’s Thanksgiving table.
According to the American Pie Council, (yes, there really is a pie council!), approximately 70 million pies are sold in grocery stores each year in preparation for Thanksgiving dinners, making Thanksgiving the biggest pie day of the year. Of the pies sold, almost 30 percent are pumpkin.
The original Thanksgiving feast in the Plymouth settlement did not have any pies attending it. But pumpkins were represented there, brought to the feast by those well meaning Native Americans. The settlers filled the pumpkins with milk, honey and nuts and baked them in the fire’s ashes and tradition was born.
The modern day pie arrived on the table around the early 1700s and quickly became the most favored dessert in America. In 1950, 9 out to 10 people said that pie was their favorite dessert. Even now, with only 4 out of 10 people proclaiming pie is their favored dessert, it is still a divine must on the Thanksgiving table. Particularly pumpkin pie.
This pumpkin pie truly will knock your socks off! Be prepared, go sockless when you eat it. I know it is more work than your normal pedestrian pie but so worth it! (Your family will be so overwhelmed they will hopefully do all the dishes!) The pie is the jewel of the Thanksgiving table and this recipe truly shines.
Knock your socks off pumpkin pie
Adapted from Organic Valley. To make the gingered whip cream, just whip up your cream as usual then add 3 teaspoons of powdered ginger, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 2 to 3 Tabls of sugar per pint of cream at the very end. Enjoy!!
Pumpkin pie to knock your socks off
The pie crust
1 1/3 cups of unbleached flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of fresh finely grated gingerroot
¼ teaspoon of allspice
½ cup of cold butter
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of ice water, or a little more
In a large beautiful bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and spices till nicely blended. Next, cut in the butter till you have a coarse crumbly dough. In a small bowl, whip the egg yolk and the water together then slowly pour it into the butter mix, while tossing with a fork, till the mixture forms into moist clumps. Add a little more water here, if the dough seems too dry. Form into a ball with your hands and put in a plastic bag in the fridge for 20 minutes to overnight. Then use however you want! It is good to microwave it for a few seconds before you work with it or it is hard as a rock! (You can also do this dough in the food processor, my favorite way. Put flour and spices into the processor and pulse a few times. Cut the butter into small cubes and toss in the flour mix. Pulse till crumbly. Whisk the egg yolk and water together then pour slowly into the processor while it is on till a ball of dough forms. Voila!)
1 15 oz can of pumpkin
Or 15 oz of homemade pumpkin puree
1 cup heavy cream or half and half or coconut milk
Or do not add the cream*
½ cup of sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons of honey
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground ginger
¼ teaspoons of cloves
½ teaspoon of allspice
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
¼ teaspoon of salt
Make your lovely ginger pie crust mix. Roll out the dough to the size of a 9 inch pie plate between to pieces of wax paper. Place the crust in your pie pan and trim and flute the crust to your pleasure. Stick in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and tuck the pie crust in the oven, filled with dried beans or pie weights and edges covered, to cook for about 10 minutes. Pour out the beans and cook for another 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool while you whip up the filling.
In a large mixing bowl, blend together all the ingredients for the filling till frothy. Pour into that lovely pie crust and bake 50 minutes or until the middle of the pie is still wiggly and the edges have set. (While that wondrous pie is baking mix up the streusel.) Sprinkle the streusel topping on it and bake for another 10 or 15 minutes till the streusel is golden brown. Serve with gingered whip cream in thankfulness!
½ cup of unbleached flour
¼ cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
¼ cup of butter
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup crystallized ginger, chopped fine (optional)
In a favored bowl, whisk together the flour and spices. Cut the butter into small pieces and work into the flour till it is crumbly. (Or do it in the food processor! Yeah!) Stir in the pecans and ginger, then sprinkle on the pie and bake as directed. I found that this was enough streusel for two pies.