Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Tutorial, revisited

You can blame it on deadlines....

Jan here, knee-deep in revisions for my next Love Inspired Historical, tentatively titled "A Home in Deadwood," and tentatively scheduled for release sometime next fall.

You remember Deadwood, right? 

It looks like a sweet little town nestled in the Hills, but back in 1877, it was a raw, wild mining camp. Lawless and innocent as a newborn baby.

And filled with people. 10,000 is what one resident estimated in the summer of 1877 - most of them restless men waiting for their chance to strike it rich. To get their share of that lovely, valuable, Black Hills Gold.

But there were others. There were families in this little town. Families who wanted to make this town into something more than the place where Wild Bill Hickok met his notorious end.

And that's where the story starts....

So while I'm living vicariously through the lives of Nate and Sarah, my hero and heroine, my own family is starving. We're trying to make do with crock pot meals and take-out pizza, but by the time October has ended, I can start cooking again. And one of the first things I've promised to make is pumpkin pie.

Here's a visit back to the pumpkin pie tutorial I did for Thanksgiving a couple years ago, complete with photo bombs :)

Pumpkin Pie. THE Thanksgiving Tradition

Okay, you can probably make a case that the turkey is the main attraction at the Thanksgiving feast, but you have to admit it -

even when you're stuffed, pushing yourself back from the table, planning your after-dinner-dishes-duty escape, you're still going to grab at least one bite of that pumpkin pie.

Maybe two.

(Unless your name is Jenny and you live in Australia!)

Today is Pumpkin Pie Day. After all, Thanksgiving is only three days away!

And this is an easy-peasy recipe.

First you need an empty pie shell. Go here to see my recipe, or here for Ruthy's version.

Or buy a frozen pie shell from the store. I won't tell.

Now that you have your pie shell, you need to make your filling.

I use the recipe on the back of the Libby's pumpkin can. I've tried others, but this is my family's favorite, hands down.

Oh, by the way, do you see the pie vulture lurking in the background?

Here are the ingredients you need:

(Before I forget, preheat your oven to 425 degrees!)

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz) Libby's canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
1 can (12 fl oz) evaporated milk

In a small bowl, stir sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves together until blended.

In a larger bowl (I like to use my 2 quart pitcher from Pampered Chef - the pouring spout is so handy!), beat the eggs. Next, whisk the pumpkin and sugar mixture into the eggs. Blend well, and then stir in the evaporated milk. Make sure everything is well blended.

Pour the filling into your pie shell.

Protect the edges of your pie from browning too quickly by using strips of foil to cover it.

Bake it for 15 minutes at 425, and then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes.

And here's the most difficult part - how to tell if your pie is done.

The pumpkin is a custard. One fool-proof method for custards is to stick a knife in the filling halfway between the edge and the center. If the knife comes out clean, it's done.

However, I really don't like to serve a pie with holes in it. So I use the jiggle method :) When you're reaching the end of your cooking time, jiggle your pie slightly. If the center moves like it's a liquid, it isn't done yet. But if it stands up to the jiggle, it's done.

When you take the pie out and remove the foil, it will be puffed up and look like...

WAIT! The Pie Vulture again!

Shoo! Shoo!

Whew. He left. I reminded him he has a paper due.
Anyway, when you take the pie out and remove the foil, it will be puffed up and look like this. As it cools, the filling will fall some and look like the picture at the beginning of the post.

Simple, right?

Except for one more thing. This pie is for Thanksgiving, right?

So lets make it pretty :)

Here's one way to do it:

And here's another:

(disclaimer: take your pie out of the oven when you put the embellishments on to avoid the slightly crooked look...)

So how do you add embellishments and make your pie all purty?

Start with mini cookie cutters. We have a bit of a collection - the autumn shapes are from Pampered Chef, and I picked up the letters years ago when Jell-O was giving them away so you could make alphabet jigglers (remember those?).

Now make an egg wash by beating an egg with a couple tablespoons water.

Use the egg wash on the edge of your pie first - before you pour in the filling. Just brush it on gently. Don't worry if some of the egg drips down into the pie - it'll just mix into your filling.

Now, roll out your extra dough and brush it with the egg wash, and then cut out your desired shapes.

If you're adding shapes to the top of your filling like I did, bake the pie up until about 15 minutes before the end of the baking time - long enough to partially solidify the filling, but still with enough baking time left to bake the shapes. Take the pie out of the oven, place your pie crust shapes on top, and then return it to the oven for the rest of the baking time.

Jan here again, with another view of the area around Deadwood. That beautiful piece of land down there is Nate's ranch, in the valley just to the left of those rocks.

So, while I'm playing in Deadwood today, let's discuss pie. Do you make pumpkin pie in the fall?

And if you've never made pumpkin pie, do you think you might try it this year?


  1. We all must have pumpkin on the brain. I'm doing a pumpkin ice cream with praline sauce Wednesday. And I ate pumpkin pancakes this morning. Love the area around Deadwood.

    1. It's pumpkin month, Julie!

      And I'm looking forward to that pumpkin ice cream. Mmmmm!

  2. Wow, you made it look so easy that even this non pie making person could do it.

    1. You can even use the pre-made crust, Tina. We won't tell!

  3. I've made a crustless version that's decent- weight watchers days LOL! cool whip made it aunt shared some recipes with me for her chocolate,coconut pies and banana of these days gotta try it and the date nut balls recipe again since I left out one of the ingredients last time :-(

    1. Sometimes those weight watchers recipes leave a bit to be desired. Most of the time, I'll take a smidgen of the decadent, real thing and I'll be much happier than a full serving of the pretend stuff :)

      And yes, when you're making recipes, it's best not to leave out ingredients! But the second time's the charm, right? :)

  4. Yum...I adore pumpkin pie but have never made it. Likely because I'm the only pumpkin pie fan so I'd just be making it for me. Plus I have this great bakery close by and they make divine pumpkin pie -- and in various sizes so I tend to hit them once or twice (or more) in the fall.

    Very excited that you're writing more stories for me to read. I'd come and cook for you just so you could keep at it but I think your family would rebel at my vegetarian offerings. I could walk the dogs though. :-) That would buy you some writing time, right?

    1. Kav, you're going to have to try your hand at making your own pumpkin pie. Everyone needs a skill to fall back on, right? :)

      Thanks for the offer to walk the dogs, but that's my only exercise! Oh, that and Thatcher's agility class. We meet tonight, and he's already looking forward to it. He knows when it's Monday!

  5. Thanks for sharing again! I just love our decorations!! :)

    1. That was supposed to be YOUR decorations on the pies. :)

    2. LOL, Missy!

      I'll have to share the berry pie my daughter made last summer. The decorations she did were beautiful. Yes, she inherited the coveted pie gene!

  6. Gimme, gimme, gimme... I LOVE pumpkin pie. Can't wait for Thanksgiving.

  7. I was traveling so missed this on Monday! Jan, I love pumpkin stuff so much as to be obsessive. It's so stinkin' good! I love pumpkin cake/bread/roll/pie/ice cream... the list goes on. Thank you for this!!!!