Exploring vegan, vegetarian and sustainable cooking

Pumpkin pie (recipe)

The nice thing about the Canadian Thanksgiving being so early (second Monday in October) is that we can start eating pumpkin pie in October and continue eating it through the Christmas holidays.

Pumpkin pie is one of the few pies where it’s perfectly acceptable to use a canned ingredient in the filling. There are many high-quality pumpkin purée brands readily available, which cuts down immensely on the work required and few people (if any) would ever notice the difference.

This year, I purchased a giant 128 oz / 1 gallon / 3.79 litre can of pumpkin purée. My plan was to make a double batch of pumpkin pie, and freeze the rest to use later in the winter. (You never get tired of pumpkin pie.) Note: Thawed purée will release a lot of liquid; let it drain in a mesh strainer before using.

My pumpkin pie recipe (below) is adapted from my mom’s recipe. This recipe will make 2 standard-size pies or 6 mini pies (or 1 standard and 3 mini). Because 1 pumpkin pie is never enough!

Shelf 5 Pumpkin Pie

Makes 2 x 9-inch pies or 6 x 6-inch mini-pies.

17 oz all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 oz butter
4 oz pure lard or shortening
cold water (as needed)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 lb pumpkin purée
8 eggs
1 1/2 cup dark maple syrup (it’s important to use dark maple syrup to get the molasses notes)
1 cup heavy cream
2 cup milk

To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt, butter and lard in a food processor and pulse until the fats are the size of peas. With the machine running, pour in cold water until the dough comes together. You don’t want the dough to be wet, but you don’t want it too crumbly either, or you’ll have a nightmare rolling it. Divide equally, wrap in plastic and chill for about an hour.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and let it warm up for a few minutes (so it becomes pliable). Roll the pastry and line 2 standard pie plates or 6 mini (6″) pie plates. (For the mini pie plates, you may need to combine the pastry scraps to make the final pie shells.) Brush with the egg whites to help seal the crust and freeze while you prepare the filling.

Depending on your oven size, arrange rack in the center, or if you need to use 2 racks, the bottom and top third. Pre-heat oven to 425°F.

In a large bowl (ideally a batter bowl with lip and handle), whisk together all filling ingredients until smooth. Pour into pie shells. (If you have extra filling, pour it into buttered/oiled ramekins and bake along with the pies. They may cook more quickly, so keep an eye on them.)

Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes, then decrease the heat to 325°F and bake until the centre is set and a knife inserted into the filling comes out dry (approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, but it really depends on the depth of your pie plates and the moisture level of your pumpkin purée). If using 2 racks, you may want to rotate your pies mid-way if your oven doesn’t heat evenly.

Cool on a wire rack. Serve with whipped cream. (Optionally sweetened with the dark maple syrup.)

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