Peter, Peter Pumpkin (Pie) Eater

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater,
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her,
Put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her, very well.

We recently did a pie making workshop at the Bayers Westwood Family Resource Centre.  It was a delicious delight.  (We promise that no participants were put into pumpkin shell!)  As you can probably guess from the title, we made pumpkin pies ( 3!), and we also made 2 apple pies.  The funny thing was that we did not multiply the crust recipe and yet we turned out with five pies!  I suppose the reason would be that the metal pie dishes are not as deep as the glass ones people have at home.  We used the metal dishes so that by lunch, when we were done, we could pack up and leave them with their wonderful seasonal desserts.

Something to keep in mind when making pies is to not over work the dough, otherwise you get a tough crust.  Also cut up the butter into small cubes before putting it into the batter; it makes it easier to mix.  Who doesn’t like to get messy in the kitchen?! So go ahead and use your hands to work the pastry!  Unless you are like me with the flour, all of the ingredients will stay in the bowl and not be all over the furniture.  Therefore there should be no reason why everybody’s hands are not in that bowl and mixing.  People of all ages can take part in this pie making, so go ahead and get the whole family a part in making a whole pie.

Pumpkin Pie Ingredients
•    2 kg sugar-pie pumpkins or butternut squash, approximately 2
•    6 eggs
•    1 cup whipping cream (35%)
•    2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
•    2/3 cup granulated sugar
•    2 tsp cinnamon
•    1 tsp nutmeg
•    1/2 tsp ground ginger
•    1/4 tsp allspice

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut each pumpkin into quarters. Scoop out and discard seeds. Roast pieces in a large baking dish, covered with foil, in centre of preheated oven until fork-tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh from skins. Whirl in a food processor until very smooth. Measure out 31/2 cups. Set any remaining purée aside for another use. Whirl purée in food processor along with eggs, cream, both sugars and spices until evenly mixed. Strain through a sieve.

Apple Pie Ingredients

•    8 apples, preferably Northern Spy or McIntosh or a mix
•    1 lemon (or lemon juice)
•    1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
•    1/4 cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour
•    1/2 tsp (2 mL) each cinnamon and nutmeg
•    2 tbsp (30 mL) cold unsalted butter, diced

For filling, peel and core apples. Thinly slice. Place about 8 1/2 cups (2.125 L) in a large bowl. Sprinkle a tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice overtop. Sprinkle with sugar, flour and spices. Toss to coat. Mound in pastry shell. Scatter diced butter overtop.

Kitchen Tips:    – A mix of apple varieties gives the best flavour results. – Always taste the fruit before adding sugar. If very sweet, reduce sugar by a tablespoon.

Sour Cream Pastry
•    4 cups all purpose flour
•    1 tsp salt
•    1 cup cold butter, cubed
•    1 cup cold lard
•    1/2cup iced water, approximately
•    6 tbsp sour cream
In bowl, whisk flour with salt. Using pastry blender, cut in butter and lard until in fine crumbs with a few larger pieces.

Whisk water with sour cream; drizzle over dry ingredients, stirring briskly with fork to form ragged dough and adding more water, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, if too dry. 

Divide pastry in half; press into discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 3 days.) 

On lightly floured surface, roll out 1 of the pastry discs to generous 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness. Fit pastry into 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate; trim to rim. Spoon in filling. 

Roll out remaining pastry. Brush rim with water. Place pastry over filling; trim to leave 3/4-inch (2 cm) overhang. Fold overhang under pastry rim; flute to seal. Cut steam vents in top. 

Bake pie in bottom third of 425°F (220°C) oven for 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350°F (180°C); bake until golden brown on bottom, fruit is tender and juice is bubbly and thickened, 60 to 75 minutes. 

Let cool on rack.

Kitchen Tips:    – Bake pie as soon as it’s made. Letting it sit can yield a soggy, pale bottom crust. – Once dough is made, form into discs instead of balls before refrigerating. It’s easier to roll out.

Yours in Food,

Leave a Reply