It’s pumpkin pie time.
Pretty much, it’s always pie time around here. I love making pie enough that I was asked to speak at a performance art/pie contest event called PIE STORIES last weekend. Pie stories. I have plenty of those.
However, for all the pies I have made — countless pies, hundreds of crimped edges, flaky crusts, and some several dozen miserable failures among them — there’s one kind of pie I have never made.
Pumpkin pie made from scratch. From a real pumpkin.
I know, right? How ridiculous is that?
However, I can’t be the only one who has lived off of Libby for decades, can I? It’s good, that canned pumpkin puree. And how many packaged foods have one ingredient? Pumpkin. You have to love that.
Still, people made pumpkin pies before Libby started shoving puree into cans. This must be done.
When I found out that this month’s Gluten-Free Ratio Rally would be pie, I had my incentive to finally try roasting a pumpkin and making my own puree.
(In case you don’t know about the ratio rally, this post will explain this joyful gathering of intrepid bakers.)
Pie crust is one of the easiest ratios in the baking world to remember. Want to hear it?
3 2 1.
That’s all you have to remember. Three parts flour, two parts fat, and 1 part water.
You can add a pinch of salt (I do). You could add an egg for extra richness (I don’t). You could toss in some sugar or cinnamon. But all you really have to remember is 3 2 1.
Remember that, in order to work with a ratio, you have to think in grams or ounces. Cups will not do here.
If you want to make a gluten-free pie crust, simply mix up 300 grams of your favorite gluten-free flours, cut in 200 grams of your favorite cold fat (butter or lard work best, I think), and dribble in 100 grams of cold water when you are ready to finish the dough. Done.
You’ll see that our favorite pie crust, the one we’ll be using for our holiday baking and the pie you see here, was built on this ratio. We just used a touch more to make sure we had enough for a double crust: 350 grams flour, 230 grams butter, and 120 grams of water. It works every time.
(However, if you use any flours that have more fat than others — like almond flour — or soaks up the moisture — such as coconut flour — your ratio will be thrown off. Play with those at your risk!)
If you would like a step-by-step direction for how to make pie crust with ease, please read this post.
Now, about that pumpkin puree.
I asked on Twitter — my favorite crowd source for all things food — and the consensus was clear:
1. Don’t roast your jack o’lantern. You have to use a sugar pie pumpkin.
2. If you can’t find a sugar pie pumpkin, use a squash. Apparently, some canned pumpkin purees are actually squash anyway. Butternut squash, hubbard squash, and Kabocha squash are great for this.
3. You can steam or roast the pumpkin. Steaming keeps the flavor clean. Roasting adds a slightly darker flavor.
4. If, after you have pureed the pumpkin flesh, it seems a little wet, find a way to dry it. Spread it out on a baking sheet. Or, bundle it up in cheesecloth and hang it over the kitchen sink.
And that’s it.
Really, not that hard.
And it wasn’t. Danny and I cut a sugar pie pumpkin (about a 3 pounder) into quarters, scooped out the seeds, drizzled a little oil over the top, and roasted them in a 375° oven until the flesh was fork tender. And then we removed the skin and pureed the pumpkin in the food processor.
The pie made with fresh pumpkin? Richer. More nuanced. Ours. Not out of a can.
I’m sort of embarrassed at how easy it was.
Just like making pie.
FRESH ROASTED PUMPKIN PIE, GLUTEN-FREE
Last week, after I wrote about the joys of our CSA, I found out that we just received our last bag. It makes sense. It’s November, folks. How is that possible? Along with our bag filled with fresh vegetables, Jasper included a copy of this poem (one of my favorites) and her recipe for pumpkin pie. She’s given me permission to use it here. Because it’s amazing.
We made fresh ricotta, riffing a bit on Heidi’s recipe here. This means we don’t need any evaporated or condensed milk. We used coconut milk in place of the cream, since Danny doesn’t tolerate cream that well. We used organic cane sugar, although I might try some muscovado instead. And if you can’t eat eggs, you can try 12 ounces of soft tofu here. Be sure to blend it well in the mixer before you add anything else, as you would the eggs. (I’d love to hear your recommendations on the best egg replacer for pumpkin pie.)
Try this as a template, switching in what works best for you. I’ll be playing with it again this week, in time for our Thanksgiving pies.
2 large, local eggs
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 cup fresh cream
2 Tbsp real maple syrup
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh ground ginger
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
2 cups roasted, pureed pumpkin
1 pie crust (remember that recipe makes enough dough for a top and bottom crust, so cut it in half here)
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Beat the eggs until fluffy, then add the remaining ingredients. Continue blending until the mixture is entirely smooth and coherent.
Spoon the filling into the crust. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°. Bake until you can insert a knife into the center of the filling and have it come out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. (If the crust starts growing too brown, put some foil around the edges of the pie and continue baking.)
Allow the pie to cool completely before serving.
My food blog: http://glutenfreegirl.com
I’m on Twitter: http://twitter.com/glutenfreegirl
Gluten-Free Girl Facebook fan page: http://tinyurl.com/bd5e8h
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