Pumpkin pie

30 Oct

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Pumpkin is versatile and is equally at home in a curry or a risotto. My favourite use of pumpkin is for a dessert, a childhood favourite pumpkin pie


Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes
Serves: 12
Cost per person £0.35

Prices are based on sainsburys.com and includes all sides

Ingredients:

  • half medium pumpkin skinned and diced
  • 2 pints of milk
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 300g sifted plain flour
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • A cup of cold water
  • A pinch of salt
  • Directions:

    First is the pastry, I urge you to make the pastry as far ahead of time as possible. Cube the butter and allow it to get to room temperature. Then rub into the the sifted flour until you have a breadcrumb consistency. You can use a food processor for this, if so do it with cold butter.
    The trick is you want to touch the pastry as little as possible. You can if you want at this point add a large spoon of creme fraiche to give the pastry an added richness but this is not important.
    Next add very cold water enough to bring the pastry together. I always do this by eye and be careful not to make the pastry to wet. Once you bring the pastry together either in the food processor or gently by hand flatten into a small disc wrap in cling film and refrigerate. The reason for wrapping or covering food is that you keep it free from contamination by other food. Pastry will quickly take on flavours from other uncovered foods in the fridge unless wrapped up. Just to clarify be careful with pungent food stuffs, onions for example once chopped need to be used not put back in the fridge uncovered for future use.

    Once the pastry is resting then you can move on to infusing the flavour into the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin in a saucepan and cover with the milk. Then deseed the vanilla pod and place in the saucepan adding the anise and lemon zest. Put on a low heat until the pumpkin softens, then takeoff the heat cover and leave to infuse as long as possible. Once the mixture has sat for a while infusing take out the vanilla pod, which you can wash dry and keep for flavouring sugar. Take out the star anise pod too and discard. Blend the the milk with the pumpkin and put to one side.

    Roll out your pastry on a floured cool surface, roll to a 2mm thickness then place in a greased flan tin. Do this process as quickly as possible I will post a video for help with this. Make sure you plug any holes with excess pastry. Put into a fridge for half an hour to rest. Cover the rested pastry with baking paper and some baking beads. Put on a flat tray and place in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Bake for fifteen minutes then remove the the baking beads and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until the pastry is a light golden brown.

    Whilst your pastry cooks in a Pyrex bowl whisk the eggs into the sugar and add the pumpkin mixture. Then make a ban Marie like so and place on a heat and get the mixture warm not boiling, but warm ready to pour in the pastry case.

    20111030-120311.jpg

    Turn your oven down to 120 degrees Celsius and slightly pull the pie case from the oven and gently pour into warmed pumpkin mixture directly into the pie casing. The reason the tray is underneath your flan tin is just in case of leaks and as a guide. This is why it is very important to plug any holes in the pastry before cooking. Bake the pie for roughly an hour making sure you check it by gently shaking it to check if the mixture is solidifying for decreased wobbles.

    Once ready turn the oven off and open slightly and allow pie to cool in the oven. The reason for this is it won’t get shocked and crack by a sudden change in tempreture, do not cut it hot! Then serve with a dollop of creme fraiche. Try and eat in one sitting, if not set aside and cover with a tea towel and eat later that day do not put pastry in the fridge it ruins it by making it claggy. As the butter turns solid again, the best pastry is eaten at room temperature on the day it was made ;o)
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