This time of the year showers us with many crowd-pleasing activities from Tailgating, Halloween, Thanksgiving and more! Whatever the autumn party you choose, scrumptious pumpkins offer timeless flavors of the season.
Pumpkin pie is a holiday tradition, and now is the time to start visiting the markets to retrieve your prized squash. Below are some tips on how to prepare and cook the most perfect pumpkin pie!
1. If you are not in a big hurry and have the time, use real pumpkin instead of canned. There is a difference, and your taste buds will thank you. Cut up the pumpkin and steam it. Put it in a food processor and puree that orange goodness for your pie filling.
2. Forget about margarine or shortening … and use real butter for the crust. Make sure is is “chilled” butter. Doing so will ensure you have a flaky crust.
3. A lot of spices are key for a pumpkin pie. Think of ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. If you have a spice mill, try grinding them up yourself. Very easy to do, and the freshness of the spices will amaze you! Just remember not to use too much salt. Remember this – a lot of spices and a little salt.
4. Use real evaporated milk, not the reduced-fat version. The fat gives the custard or filling a rich creamy texture. If you don’t have enough fat in it, then you risk having your filling too watery.
5. Heat your custard prior to pouring it in the piecrust. Did you know that this technique will help keep the pie from cracking too much? It’s true! Pumpkin pies do like to split open, so do what you can to help prevent it.
6. Don’t forget about the “24-hour rule”. Make sure you let the pie rest in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours prior to serving. Why? Because it allows all the spices to gel together for optimum flavor, and it gives the custard time to bond quite nicely.
7. And, last but not least … you might want to consider purchasing a Pie Crust Shield to prevent the crust of your beautiful Pumpkin Pie from being over-cooked and burnt. These shields work extremely well and are very inexpensive. I use Mrs. Anderson’s 10-inch shield and am very pleased with the results. A shield is so much easier to use than little scraps of tin foil, and a real time-saver!
You might want to check out my Pumpkin Patch post if you live in the Tampa Bay area. It will have a list of all the local Pumpkin Festivities. Have a flavorful Fall season – and may we all be blessed with bounty from the kitchen, and goodness in our hearts.