Pie perfect: Season's pumpkins just right for baked goods

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news reporter
Fall is certainly in the air these days. Even though the daily temperatures are still in the mid to upper 80s, you can still sense a difference in the air. Cooler temperatures and the appearance of orange and brown all over town have certainly turned my thoughts to seasonal dishes.
In last week's column I promised to share some recipes for pumpkin pie this week. I have found some recipes that are a little out of the ordinary as far as pumpkin pies go.
My son loves pumpkin pie. Not the kind of pumpkin pie that has cream cheese or walnuts or anything like that in it, but the good, old-fashioned, plain pumpkin pie. He won't mind a little dollop of whipped cream on top if it's available.
I do like something a little different on occasion. The recipes you'll find here this week will give you a chance to try something a little different.
The first recipe is basically a cheesecake recipe that uses pumpkin and seasonings to give it a little zip. I decided to include this recipe so that you can find out for yourself just how good it can be.
Pumpkin Cheese Pie
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 cups pumpkin puree
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 (9 inch) unbaked piecrust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream cheese and condensed milk together until smooth. Stir in the pureed pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and eggs. Mix until well combined. Pour batter into the pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. Serve warm.
This next recipe is for a pumpkin pie that has a slightly different twist. This one calls for the addition of pecans in the crust and pecans in the pie. If you like as pecans as much as I do, you'll probably like this recipe.
Gourmet Pumpkin Pie
Pastry for a 9-inch single crust pie
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3 2/3 cups pumpkin puree
1 egg
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. When making your favorite pastry for pie shells add 1/4 cup of the finely chopped pecans to the flour before mixing. Blend the egg, pumpkin and condensed milk. Pour mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Combine the brown sugar, flour, chopped pecans, butter and cinnamon with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle streusel mixture on top of pumpkin mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until a knife inserted in near the center comes out clean. Let pie cool before serving.
The last recipe on the pumpkin pie list this week is for a classic pumpkin pie. This is the kind of pie that I like to make but I seldom take the time. My pumpkin pie usually comes in a big can with Libby's name on the front label, but I do add my own fresh eggs. If you have the time to make this pie, you'll find that fresh is always certainly better than canned.
Classic Pumpkin Pie
2 cups mashed, cooked pumpkin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve pumpkin and scoop out seeds and stringy portions. Cut pumpkin into chunks. In saucepan over medium heat, in 1 inch of boiling water heat the pumpkin to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain, cool and remove the peel. Return pumpkin to the saucepan and mash with a potato masher. Drain well. Prepare piecrusts by mixing together the flour and salt. Cut shortening into flour, add 1 tablespoon water to mixture at a time. Mix dough and repeat until dough is moist enough to hold together. With lightly floured hands shape dough into a ball. On a lightly floured board roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. With a sharp knife, cut dough 1 1/2 inch larger than the upside down 8-9 inch pie pan. Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer it right side up on to the pie pan. Unroll, ease dough into the bottom of the pie pan. In a large bowl with mixer speed on medium, beat pumpkin with evaporated milk, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Mix well. Pour into a prepared crust. Bake 40 minutes or until when a knife is inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean.
I hope that you enjoy your pumpkin pie this season. And if by some chance you have a slice or two left over, you can drop it by the office. The folks here love pumpkin pie and we'd be glad to sample your cooking.
If you have a recipe you'd like to share, I'd really like to hear from you. You can give me a call at 867-4876 or drop me a line by e-mail at lisa.tindell@brewtonstandard.com.
Until next week, happy cooking.

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