The hubby and I are staying with my family for a few days, which means I’m cooking in Mom’s kitchen. Which drives us both nuts.
We’re in the middle of yet another weather advisory, which makes me hungry for all things warm, like stew. So I put on a pot of beef stew earlier this morning, even though Mom and I exchanged words about it last night. (“Stew? Do you HAVE to make stew again? There’s a bunch of food in the fridge. Can’t you make do with that?”)
Now, I wouldn’t dream of disrespecting my own mother, but aside from the food that’s set aside for Christmas festivities, we appear to have a few smoked pork chops, leftover dessert pizza, several tubs of butter, and about five pounds of red grapes. So my official answer is no. No, I can’t make do with that.
After I got the stew going, I decided to bake a few pumpkin pies – one for my pa and one for Christmas Day with my mom’s family. I’ve made several pumpkin pie recipes over the years and they all got the “Mmm, pumpkin” reaction, but it wasn’t until Thanksgiving last year that I got what I was hoping for: “This is the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had.” Four people said it. That’s like a quorum. If four people say it, it’s got to be true.
I did need to bring supplies and ingredients from home. Supplies like my favorite whisk and my microplane. And ingredients like whole nutmeg, pumpkin, and evaporated milk. And eggs. (My parents don’t buy eggs!) I did, however, forget my trusty pie crust shield, which makes my heart sad. Sigh.
1 pie crust, homemade or storebought
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (I think fresh makes a world of difference)
1 15-oz. can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling; that’s what you’re making here)
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Place crust in a 9” pie plate and crimp edges.
My edges are never neatly crimped. I have manual dexterity issues. I got an Unsatisfactory in kindergarten Scissor Handling.
3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs lightly. Add remaining ingredients and beat with a whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined. (I don’t like to use a mixer with this. It makes the filling too frothy.)
By the way, see this teeny tiny section of counter space? This is really the only workspace in this kitchen. I should be sainted.
4. Pour filling in crust.
5. Cover edges of crust with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield. Try to do so without squashing your crimps. (If you're using foil, this is nearly -- but not quite -- impossible.)
This is optional, but highly recommended, because your crust can burn before your filling is baked. You know how when you’re out in the sun without sunscreen, and your nose burns first? If this pie were your face, the crust would be your nose. Don’t burn your nose.
6. Bake 15 minutes.
7. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 45 minutes. Remove from oven.
Look at the gorgeous color on that non-burnt crust!
8. Let cool for at least a few hours before serving. Slice and serve with whipped cream. Even if it's frozen.