My contribution to the Thanksgiving table this year was pumpkin pie. In prior years I have made apple and pecan pies and this was my first attempt at pumpkin. In the end it was successful, but I did have a few hiccups along the way.
I have a fantastic pastry crust recipe that I found years ago on AllRecipes.com. My first mistake was that I wanted to use my relatively new food processor to make this dough. When I went to roll it out, it kept falling apart and was generally miserable to work with. Dough and baking have never been my bag, but this recipe has been pretty fool-proof in the past. I was grateful when I went to their website that the recipe was still available because I needed to consult with reviews to find out where I went wrong. Turns out, the less you work the dough, the better. Probably has to do with science. On the second go-round, I ditched my food processor for two forks and the dough came together and rolled out flawlessly.
For the filling, I went with the Cooks Illustrated perfect pumpkin pie recipe. I went through all the steps, poured the filling into the crust and waited while my oven finished pre-heating. I went to the food processor and wiped my finger in the empty bowl to taste the remnants of the filling when I discovered I left out a key ingredient – sugar. Sigh. I knew if I just added brown sugar to the existing filling it would be grainy in texture…part of the process was sort of melting the sugar in with the pumpkin in an early step. So I dumped the filling and went to start over…only I had two eggs left in the fridge and the recipe called for four. This atheist said a quick prayer to the God-of-Pumpkin-Pies-and-Open-Stores-on-Thanksgiving as I jumped in my car and made a mad dash for the nearest Stewart’s where my prayers were answered.
Let me just take a moment to proclaim the following: I LOVE STEWART’S. There are many things that make our region great and Stewart’s is at the top of that list.
I ran back to the house, made my filling and popped the pie in the oven. On Friday when the family was able to come together for Thanksgiving dinner, I found the finished pie was mostly a success. My crust wasn’t as great as in years past, but I’m going to chalk that up to it sitting, damp with a bit of unsweetened pie filling as I was running around making filling number 2. I also burned the edges of the crust slightly, but I always tell people that’s how you can tell it’s homemade. I topped it off by making homemade whipped cream with a couple of tablespoons of bourbon. That was a nice touch. Alcohol makes everything better.
On top of all that I had to transport it to Martha’s Vineyard. I had a flexible cooler with my dog’s food (I feed her raw), cheeses and salamis from Olde Hudson, and finally, my pie plate, balanced at the top of the wobbly heap. It survived a car, a bus and ferry ride. Despite two attempts at the crust, two attempts at the filling and a journey of many miles, my pie of indestructibility prevailed.