As you may have gathered by now, I’m a bit of a freak. That chili recipe is going to have to wait till next week because PIES. My much awaited new website design is giving me a hard time. As in I’ve been too busy making pies of various sorts and then eating them, to get things wrapped up for my reveal. It’s happening. Just not this week. Soon, soon. I can’t be parading around like this for much longer.
Back to my freakiness. I would be the type of neener who decides to make 6 lasagnas and 4 pies in one day. Like it’s my JOB. Except it’s not. So aside from being a neener, the truth is, clearly, I love cooking and baking and kind of thrive under pressure. I know. Freak. Which is why I didn’t think much about embarking on making half of those lasagnas and half of those pies, gluten and sugar-free, with things I’ve I’ve never made before. (The pumpkin pie).
Ah, well. I didn’t think much of it until I was swimming in it. To be fair though, things din’t get hairy until around the 8pm mark and we hadn’t sat down to dinner yet. The lasagnas and the caesar salad were waiting for us, but I was going to get those pumpkin pies in the oven come hell or high water. The apple pies were baking. The pumpkin pie shells were baked and waiting for the filling. It was the filling that brought us all together in a mad dash in the kitchen to JUST. GET. THEM. IN.
You know who came to my rescue? My dinner guests (my best friends, so it was all was appropriate), with wine and capable hands to do things as I spouted out directions like a short order cook. ( I was tired y’all. I had been work writing/ baking/ cooking/ cleaning/ mommy’ing for going on 12 hours.) The person who shined the most though, I must say – was the mister.
Dude separated yolks from whites like it was his job. He washed through each hurricane and then washed some more. (Even though I am a pretty tidy good, there were a lot of messes this day). He mixed the entirety of a double batch of the creamy wet ingredients in their entirety. Go ahead, say it. Yes. Creamy and wet. Are we done there? Good. He ladled and smooshed the combined custardy ingredient through a fine mesh strainer because he understood. He understood that the pies would be WAY BETTER if this was done.
While I may be a freak and a tad bit crazy, I did do a bunch of prep the day before. I made the sauce for the lasagnas the night before and made the pie crust dough early in the morning so they could chill for some hours before rolling and baking. Shit still got crazy. But in all of that, I made the best pie crust I’ve ever attempted at and a pumpkin pie that would convert pumpkin pie haters. It’s got to be said, no point in being bashful about it. (There was apple pie too, which will obviously be another post. Yes, I’ll also blog the lasagna recipe). You need to know that this recipe you are about to try is really fucking good and that no way, NO HOW should you skip any of the steps. Homemade pumpkin pie from scratch, using pie dough you’ve made from scratch – is no easy feat. Especially the gluten and sugar free variety.
a Quick(ish) Note on Sugar Free & Gluten Free Baking:
When I say it is more difficult than the conventional baking of desserts, I mean it only in that you can’t combine batches (regular + g-free), and you have to clean your measuring and other baking tools and surfaces more often. If you are making regular and gluten free at the same time that is. The time is spent in the research before-hand and you probably should be somewhat seasoned in making such kinds of substitutions, somewhere down the road. Myself, I’ve made pancakes and muffins and cupcakes and cakes – so I felt about 75% confident with my undertaking.
My Holy Grail list for sugar-free substitutions can be found here. The recipe I sort of followed for my gluten free pie crust can be found here, but truthfully, I made a LOT of changes, so it’s not really that recipe anymore. I suppose I’ll have to blog that too sometime soon. In time for Christmas, surely. I also enjoyed this post, for it’s poetic prose on pie crust alone.
Why do I sometimes bake gluten and sugar free? Two of my best friends, whom I dine with quite often are g-free. I also believe that it is healthier in general, because we all know that sugar is the devil, right? Especially toddlers on sugar. Pure wickadry. On their moods and their bodies. So I opt for making baked goods for them (my toddlers) as sugar free as possible.
Onto That Kick-Ass Pumpkin Pie Recipe (with the promise of all the other dishes I made that day to come…sometime…down the road…you know…like I said….before Christmas…)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie
Half of the recipe of your fave pie crust. I used this one for the regular pie crust (true to nature, yes I indeed change it quite a bit, as I’ve made many a pie crust and I knew what I was sticking with and what I was interested in changing) and this one for the g-free. Mostly anyways. Use them if you need to make this pie now, and can’t wait for my adaptations. Things will be just as delicious. I am but an experimenter.
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups of canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups maple candied yams (that you’ve done yourself. In the oven. Just wash, peel, cube, toss in 1/4 cup of maple syrup and lay out on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes turning as they caramelize (20 min in) before they start to burn. You want them sticky and soft and nearly candied you baked those suckers with care for so long).
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cardamon (there I go waving my freak flag again)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Follow the instructions above for making and baking your candied yams. These can caramelize beautifully while you do all of the other things.
It’s dough prep time my friends. Dust your rolling surface with flour (or the gluten free flour. Whatever you’re doing, this will be the last time I make the distinction) and work with your dough. Don’t overwork it or stress about it though. It’s going to be good because you didn’t stress and you didn’t overwork it. Simple as that. Roll it out to about a 12 inch circle, 1/8 of an inch thick. Don’t think you need to bust out you’re measuring tape for this. We all know what the thickness of pie crust is right? Do that. Don’t worry about the cracks. The beauty of dough is that you can squish it back into place.
Gently roll your dough onto your rolling pin, with your pie plate close by and ease it in, patting down into all the nooks and crannies. Trim, leaving around 1/2 and inch of overhang and gold under. Flute or crimp that edge up. Whatever floats your boat. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or an hour, no matter. Sometimes toddlers want to read Once Upon a Potty and then go to the potty and sit and sit and sit and sit and sit, and these things take precedence. Did I just talk about going to the potty in a recipe? FAK. Please don’t tell me i’m turning into one of those STFU parents…
*Head shake* Back to this pie business. Line your crust with parchment paper and beans if you don’t have pie weights (of which I do not). I was making a mad dash all over the house looking for pennies when my g-friend suggested beans like I was a crazed lunatic without my thinking cap on. Which I was. Moar wine. I found this idea to be the best thing I’d heard all week and for some reason it put me in the best mood ever. So I beaned down those pie shells to keep them from bubbling up. Worked like a charm. P.S. Only use those beans for baking, ever-after.
Given that you have two racks in your oven you can now bake your pie shell at the same 400 F that you are baking your candied yams at. For 15 minutes anyways. Then, those yams should be done anyways and you need to turn the oven down to 325 F, briefly remove your pie crust base (or in my case bases, or yours too if you are smart and you’ve doubled the batch. I mean, why go to all of this trouble if you aren’t going to make two pies? ESPECIALLY on a holiday weekend. Psh.) Anyways, remove the pie crusts and take away the parchment and beans. Slide back in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Fetch them and let cool while you do the rest of your thang. Turn that oven back up to 400 F.
Onto That Gorgeous, Velvety, Delectable Filling:
While the shell is baking, or after…(like me), simmer, cook mash and blend together (hand blender in the pot and hello and praise the Creator) your candied yams, pumpkin puree, ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, honey and salt for about 10 minutes. It should be voluptuous and shiny. I used a heavy bottomed dutch oven. You’ll want to use something similar to avoid any burning.
Somewhere close by, whisk the milk, cream, eggs, yolks and vanilla in a large bowl if you are doubling the batch. Clearly. Don’t do like my mister did and use the medium one. Mess. Plus, you kind of need all of your ingredients. Remove from heat. Now, oh yes NOW, you can combine the wet and the creamy and the wet with the voluptuous and shiny. (Sorry, can’t help myself). Ever so slowly, like a good lover should, till it’s all married and what-not. Strain it into a big bowl because you KNOW IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO. Never skimp, never skip out on a step. Right ladies? I favoured a ladle over the spatula for pressing down into the strainer. Rinse and dry your strainer through every couple of, ahm…pushes? Alright. Enough with the innuendos.
Now all you’ve left to do is pour, baby pour. Let it careen into your waiting pie shell, and fill it right up to the brim. I though maybe I filled up too much but as they baked and rose up ever so slightly, (They will rise, but not like muffins), things looked glorious. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes and then turn down the heat to 325 F and let them continue for anywhere up to 2 hours. I know. This is why many people don’t manke pumpkin pie from scratch. A toothpick should come out clean and they should not jiggle all the much.
They were sliced into over the weekend and presented a thick and high custard, well. You know what happened then. All the people fell at my feet and fondled my earlobes.
This recipe has been teenager and toddler approved.