Wednesday, 31 October 2012

All Hallow's Pie

the first of many homemade costumes

 Growing up in England, I had no idea how big Halloween was until our first year in North America. I think Halloween is becoming more of a thing in England now, but with it being so close to Guy Fawkes on November the 5th, I wonder how big of an event it will become. Our first year found me scrambling to make costumes for my children. There was no budget to buy costumes, so one sheet, some found grey felt and a pot of black paint transformed into a zebra, my daughter Holly was an avid collector of all things zebra, and an elephant, because...well I found some grey felt and his sister was a zebra. Be kind it was my first attempt!

This year we are having a quiet Halloween, any decorations I may have kept are buried deep in the bowels of our RV and it's still raining so digging it all out is not going to happen. We decided to celebrate the day of the pumpkin with pie instead. Elliot made the filling, I made the crust. Not having a pie plate, we used our one tin, a 9 inch spring form so it's a bit rustic looking. However, we'll dim the lights, and with the glow of some candles and plenty of whipped cream, it will be a perfect Halloween. Much healthier than candy anyway (if you can ignore all the butter, cream and sweetened condensed milk!).


Basic Vanilla Pastry adapted from Donna Hay

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp superfine sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, chopped
1/3 cup ice water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Place flour, sugar and baking powder in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and process until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. With the motor running, gradually add the water and vanilla, pulsing until the mixture comes together to form a smooth dough. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using. Roll out the cold pastry to fit your chosen dish or tin. Prick the pastry all over with a fork to prevent puffing. Cover the pastry with parchment paper, then add baking weights (or dried rice or beans) on top. Bake at 325F (160C) for 15 minutes. Remove weights and parchment. Brush the pastry with egg white to seal and bake for another 10 minutes. The crust is ready to be filled.

Pumpkin Pie Filling by Farmer's Market Organic Pumpkin

1 15oz can Farmer's Market Organic Pumpkin
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs lightly beaten

Mix pumpkin and spices together. Add remaining ingredients. Mix slowly until thoroughly blended. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425F (215C) for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F (180C) for an additional 35-40 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

This pastry recipe from Donna Hay is really good, I've never not had it turn out anything less than perfect. If you don't have a food processor, which I don't anymore, you can make it by hand. My advice would be to make sure your butter and water are really cold, if you feel it's getting a bit sticky put it in the freezer for a minute or two. Be quick and don't overwork it, it's fine to leave bigger bits of butter. Simply rub the butter, with your fingertips into the flour mix until fine bread crumbs, as above and stir in the water and vanilla with a knife adding it slowly until the dough just starts to come together. Then continue as above. Of course you could roast a pie pumpkin but a good quality canned pumpkin is just as good. Remember you want pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling.

Happy Halloween Everybody

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