Did you ever have a recipe for something that everyone loves but you? It’s not that I hate pumpkin pie…I just don’t LOVE pumpkin pie. And yet, every year my family—and extended family on the Italian side—beg me to make my pumpkin pie from scratch. I don’t mind making it. I don’t mind eating it, either. But I definitely won’t eat it without vanilla ice cream and homemade whipped cream on it.
If I had my dessert choice, I’d make my fresh cranberry sauce and mix it with whipped cream for a fluffy, fresh cranberry whip.
I start by making pie dough from scratch. It’s really not that hard, and it’s massively impressive to most people. Although, do not expect my pie dough to ever look like anything that came out of Martha Stewart’s kitchen. Let’s just say I make a “rustic” pie. I don’t care about leaves made out of crust and stuff like that. After all, it’s just going to get eaten! All I care about is taste. And this tastes good.
1½ cups organic flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
10 Tablespoons cold, or even frozen, lard or butter
6 Tablespoons ice water
1. Put the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl.
2. Cut the lard or butter into small bits (if it’s frozen, I use a cheese grater).
3. With your fingers, smoosh and mix the fat and the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse “corn meal” mixture. Be gentle, relax, and enjoy the sensual pleasure of mixing the fat and flour!
4. Add a few tablespoons of water and mix together gently until the dough sticks together.
5. Wrap up the dough in wax paper or a plastic bag and put it in the fridge for a half hour.
6. Flour your work surface and flour your rolling pin, too. Take the dough out and roll it until it’s as thin or thick as you want it and the right size for your pie plate.
7. Carefully lift the dough off the surface and put it into a pie plate, and press it gently into place.
8. Crimp the edges.
You can put the leftover dough into the oven on a cookie sheet with some salt, and bake until crispy, and your whole family will come running to eat it…just make sure to wait until the pieces are a bit cool or there will be burnt tongues all over the house!
Pumpkin Pie Filling
2 cups cooked pumpkin*
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
Dash of molasses (1 or 2 Tablespoons)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup cream
½ teaspoon salt
* If you are making the pumpkin from scratch, as I usually do, take a baking pumpkin and cut the top off and pull the seeds out. Bake it in an oven until it collapses (350 degrees for about an hour). Peal off the skin, the rest is the good stuff. Put it into a blender to smooth it out. If you just mash it by hand, the filling will still taste good, but the texture will be stringy as opposed to smooth. Both methods are fine.
1. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together until you have a brownish gooey mess.
2. Pour into the crust.
3. Bake in the oven for about an hour: Start the oven at 425 degrees, then after 15 minutes, reduce it to 350. If the crust starts to burn before the pie is done, cover it with tin foil.
6. Test for doneness the way you do a cake—stick a knife in and if it comes out clean, it’s done.
7. Enjoy with ice cream and whipped cream!
Looking for more Thanksgiving recipes? Here are some of my favorites:
Come back on Wednesday for a fast and fancy Thanksgiving drink!