And here it begins. It is the day before Thanksgiving and as always, this entails a lot of cooking. On the agenda for today are: pumpkin pie, cranberry relish, angel biscuits (to be frozen), and a gluten-free cake (as it is also my grandmother’s 70th birthday tomorrow). The really amazing mashed potatoes are tomorrow, along with the mint peas, baking the rolls, making brussels sprout salad, and deviled eggs. To give you an idea of the size of this feast, this is just our family’s contribution. There will be 19 of us at my grandmother’s house tomorrow. I am VERY excited.
Now you may ask, why are you doing this? The answer is simple: all of these things are quite necessary for it to really seem like Thanksgiving. For this reason, almost all recipes should follow for a few days.
At the moment though, I have cooked nothing, though plan to do pumpkin pie soon. We are getting a good bit of snow up here in Maine and I do not have much sugar, we left our pie plate at church, and we need a few more eggs, so I’m waiting. Soon enough, there will be pie. Soon enough.
….And now I have made the pie, the flourless chocolate cake, frozen the biscuits, and made ALL of the relish (an amount that surpasses even the greatest imagination). But the pie is today. I shall tell you about that first.
So, I made this Silky Pumpkin Pie recipe from Cook’s Illustrated last year and I loved it, everyone loed it, in fact. You must cook down the pumpkin first, in order to concentrate the flavor, and, well, it just helps. I can’t remember the exact effects because I didn’t actually use the original recipe from the magazine which has the full explanation, but got it off Smitten Kitchen. Yes, I somehow or other lost the November/December 2008 issue. I THINK I might have sent it to my grandmother to use, but I’m not so sure.
The pie looks great, no cracks, and smells divine. This is because of the cooking method, which ensures zero curdling. What I would like to mention is that though the pie may seem very jiggly by the end of the cooking time, it does cook with residual heat. You should still cook it for longer than the time specified though, or at least I found that necessary. It might be because I didn’t use the candied yams, but I’m not sure.
Now the one thing I changed from last year was I actually pressed the filling through a strainer. I didn’t think it would change much last year, but it turns out there is quite a bit that can be removed. So, do also follow this piece of advice.
Last but not least, I didn’t use candied yams, and I didn’t last year, because we just can’t get them here. Instead I added another cup of pumpkin to replace amount of yams I would have needed. It seems to have worked, we’ll see by tomorrow!
Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie with Gluten-Free Gingersnap Crust
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen who adpated it from Cook’s Illustrated, November & December 2008
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk (Like SK, I just used 2 cups half and half)
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can (I think an extra cup pumpkin works fine instead)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon table salt
1 bag Pamela’s gluten-free gingersnaps
3 tablespoons butter (melted)
Crust: Crush gingersnaps until fine. Mix with melted butter and press into 9-inch pie plate with the bottom of a ramekin. Cook at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes.
Filling: Whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams (or more pumpkin), sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams (or not) against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove pan from heat. Whisk in cream mixture slowly, until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Re-whisk mixture and transfer to warm pre-baked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees. Continue baking until edges are set (instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175 degrees), about 35 minutes longer (this is a good time if using all pumpkin at least). Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. (The pie finishes cooking with residual heat; to ensure the filling sets, cool it at room temperature and not in the refrigerator.)