National Pumpkin Pie Day 2014: Yule have to try one of these two recipes

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By: J. C. Lee

We hope you’ve saved a place for pumpkin pie at the Christmas dinner table (and in your stomachs), because Dec. 25 is National Pumpkin Pie Day.

Yes, we know, there seems to a day for just about every food item out there — from National Eggnog Day to National Maple Syrup Day — but can you really argue against any chance to bite down on delicious pie?

As Flavor 574 columnist Marshall King writes, “there’s rarely such a thing as bad pie.” He spoke to pie blogger Emily Hilliard, who grew up in Elkhart, and she shared several of her pie-making tips — use cold, cold butter; don’t knead or overmix the crush; and, most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself.

So, if you think a pumpkin pie would really hit the spot after your Christmas dinner, yule have to try one of these two recipes.

BRANDIED PUMPKIN PIE
Recipe from The New York Times

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1¼ cups of all-purpose flour (around 150 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of ice water, as needed

Filling

  • 1¾ cups of squash or pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • ¾ cup of dark brown sugar (153 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 teaspoons  ground ginger (4 grams)
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon (3 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (3 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon  grated nutmeg
  • A pinch of ground cloves

Directions

  1. Begin with making the crust by pulsing the flour and salt together in a food processor.
  2. Add butter and continue to pulse until the mixture begins to form chickpea-size pieces.
  3. Add one tablespoon of ice water in the mixture at a time and continue to pulse the mixture until the dough comes together. It should be moist but not wet.
  4. Gather the dough into a ball on a lightly floured surface.
  5. Use the heel of your hand to flatten the dough into a disk.
  6. Cover the dough tightly with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  7. Roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle on a lightly-floured surface.
  8. Transfer the crust to a 9-inch pie plate, fold over any excess dough and crimp the edges.
  9. Prick the crust with a fork and then chill the crust for 30 minutes.
  10. Heat the oven to 375 degrees as the dough chills.
  11. Line the chilled crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes, remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes until the crust is pale golden. Cool on rack until needed.
  13. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  14. In a large bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, eggs, cream, dark brown sugar, brandy, ginger, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of salt, nutmeg and cloves.
  15. Pour the mixture into a cooled pie shell.
  16. Transfer the pie to a large baking sheet.
  17. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the crust is golden and the center jiggles slightly when shaken.
  18. Cool completely before serving.

SPICY PUMPKIN PIE WITH PECAN-ALLSPICE CRUST
Recipe from The Splendid Table

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of finely chopped toasted pecans
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoons of allspice (freshly ground, if possible)
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1½ sticks (around 12 ounces) of stone-cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 1 large egg
  • 2-3 tablespoons of ice water

Filling:

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (around 1¾ cups) of cooked pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of cloves

Garnish:

  • ½ cup of whipped whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Two days before baking, make the crust by combining the flour, pecans, sugar, allspice and salt into a large mixing bowl. Blend the mixture together with a whisk.
  2. Add butter and blend until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
  3. Beat eggs and two tablespoons of water in a small bowl or cup. Add it to the flour mixture and toss lightly with a fork until it moistens, adding additional tablespoons of water as needed.
  4. Gather the dough into two rough balls, wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Lightly grease two 8-inch pie pans.
  6. Roll each of the balls into a circle on a lightly-floured surface. You’ll want the dough to be about ⅛ inch thick.
  7. Fit the crust into pans and trim off any excess dough except for a 1-inch rim that will hang over the edge of the pie pan.
  8. Fold over the pastry so it is double on the pan’s rims and, using your finger, press every ½ inch of so to create a fluted crust.
  9. Chill the crust for an hour or overnight.
  10. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  11. Line each pie shell with foil and fill with uncooked beans or rice.
  12. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until it’s golden. Remove the crust from the oven and gently lift the liners. Cool the pie shells completely.
  13. For the filling, whisk a little of the milk into the flour until the lumps disappear.
  14. Whisk the rest of the milk, sugar, eggs and salt into the mixture.
  15. Beat in the pumpkin, melted butter and spices until the mixture is smooth.
  16. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
  17. Divide the filling evenly between the cooled shells. Set on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  18. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees and continue baking until a knife can pierce an inch into the crust and come out clean.
  19. Remove from the oven and cool the pie on a rack.
  20. Chill for about 30 minutes before serving to bring the pie to room temperature.
  21. Decorate the pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with pecans.

Alternatively, if you have certain dietary restrictions, try a vegan and gluten-free pumpkin pie.

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