Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog, or web site.
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I love my mom and respect her cooking ability. In fact, she is the standard by which I measure how good a cook I am. However, there is one culinary creations upon which she and I will never agree and get into a knockdown, drag out, no holds barred cook off every year. I am, of course, talking about who makes the best pumpkin pie.
I am of the “it must be made from FRESH pumpkin” school where as she lives in the “only from a can” universe. Needless to say, every year it’s about getting the most votes to be crowned queen of the pumpkin pie universe.
Obviously, the first step is to get the pumpkin ready. For the “fresh” pumpkin there are several ways to prepare you pumpkin for pie-dom
Preheat oven to 425. Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds (cook separately) and then cut the pumpkin in half. Place pumpkin halves face down on a cookie sheet with sides. Bake until you can pierce the skin with a fork (about 45 minutes to an hour). Remove the pumpkin form the oven, let cool for 30 minutes then peel the skin from the flesh and place it in a colander. Push a little; let the liquid drain for ½ hour. It’s ready to go. Puree at this point in a food processor.
You will need to cook the pumpkin in batches. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds (cook them separately). Cut the pumpkin into large chunks, leaving skin on. Place half or a third of the pumpkin chunks in a shallow, microwave dish and add about 1/3 cup of water and then cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Remember; don’t try to cook it all at once. Cook on high for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pieces are tender (soft to the touch). BE CAREFUL when you uncover the pumpkin. The steam from the covered cooked pumpkin can burn. Let drain in colander (push down a little to get the liquid out) and let cool before you puree
Cut pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and cook them separately. Cut pumpkin into chunks, don’t peel. Place the pieces in a large steamer basket or colander placed in a large cooking, with water on the bottom. Steam for 20 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft to the touch. Let drain in colander (push down a little to get the liquid out) and let cool before you puree
Canned Pumpkin Prep:
Open the can.
Obviously the fresh prep takes a little more time but for me the flavor is soooo much better and it’s worth the effort. My mom says the canned stuff is much a smoother milder flavor. Yes, both taste great but, in my humble opinion which isn’t so humble, everyone should try the made from fresh pie at least once. I say, once you do, you’ll never go back to the canned stuff (I have my fingers in my ears so I can’t hear my mom contradicting me.)
Whichever way you decide to go the following recipes run the gamut from the classic Libby’s recipe to several that are really out there (but delicious) the crusts that you use are up to you but if you’re in a time crunch the frozen or refrigerator ones are just fine.
Pumpkin Notes; Do not confuse canned pumpkin pie filling with canned pumpkin. The pie filling has all kinds of other “stuff” in it. You want the canned pumpkin. You should also know that cooked fresh pumpkin has higher moisture content than canned pumpkin. So it’s best not to substitute canned pumpkin in recipes calling for fresh pumpkin unless you adjust the other liquid ingredients.
CLASSIC PUMPKIN PIE (dairy)
1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust 3/4 cup white sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 2 eggs 1 (15 ounce) can 100% Pure Pumpkin 1 (12 fluid ounce) can Evaporated Milk
Preheat oven to 425.Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.) Serves 8
Modified from Libby’s ® and Allrecipes.com
SOUR CREAM PUMPKIN PIE (dairy)
1/2 pkg. (15 oz.) ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (1 crust) 2 cups mashed cooked fresh pumpkin 8 oz. sour cream 1/2 cup whipping cream 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 eggs 2 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 450. Line a 9 inch pie pan with the pie crust. Poke the bottom and side of crust with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Reduce the oven to 350. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the pumpkin, sour cream, whipping cream, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and pumpkin pie spice. Mix to combine. Pour the filling into the crust. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until the filling puffs around edge and center is almost set. Cool on wire rack for about 15 minutes then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve cold and keep refrigerated. Serves 8.
Modified from epicurious.com
PUMPKIN PIE WITH BROWN SUGAR WALNUT TOPPING (dairy or pareve)
1/2 cup walnut pieces 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon Pinch of sea salt
1 12-inch round Pie Crust
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar 2 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1 cup canned pure pumpkin 1 cup heavy whipping cream or non dairy substitute
For topping: Combine all ingredients. Using on/ off turns, blend to fine crumbs. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
For crust: Position oven rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Transfer crust to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold edges under and crimp decoratively. Freeze crust 20 minutes.
Line crust with nonstick foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust is set, about 20 minutes. Gently remove foil and beans. Return crust to oven and bake until partially cooked and golden brown around edges, pressing down on crust with back of spoon if bubbles form, about 15 minutes. Cool crust on rack. Maintain oven temperature.
For filling: Whisk brown sugar, eggs, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in medium bowl. Add pumpkin and cream and whisk until well blended and smooth.
Pour filling into crust. Bake pie until filling is firm, covering crust with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle topping evenly over top of pie. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F; continue to bake pie until filling is set and slightly puffed in center, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Tent with foil and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.
Bon Appétit November 2009 Carolyn Beth Well
GINGER MAPLE PUMPKIN PIE (dairy or pareve)
4 to 6 gingersnaps 1/4 cup pecan halves 1 prepared 9-inch pie crust 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin 1/3 cup light brown sugar 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (don’t use the fake stuff it’s icky) 2 teaspoons ginger 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup milk non dairy substitute 2/3 cup whipping cream or non dairy substitute 3 eggs 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 375. In the bowl of a food processor combine the gingersnaps and pecans and pulse until combined and finely ground. Sprinkle the crumbs over the bottom of the pie crust; pressing them into the dough to coat the entire bottom and going about 1/2 inches up the sides. Pre-bake pie crust, about 6-8 minutes; removes from oven and cool.
Meanwhile, in a small heavy saucepan, stir together the pumpkin, brown sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a sputtering simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes or until thick and shiny. Transfer mixture to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process for 1 minute. With the motor on, add the milk and whipping cream, processing until incorporated. Scrape sides of the work bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, processing just to incorporate, about 5 seconds after each addition; add vanilla along with the last egg.
Pour mixture into pie shell; set it directly on the lowest shelf of the oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. If crust appears to be darkening too much on the bottom, raise pie to the next rack. After 30 minutes, protect edges with foil ring if needed. Remove from oven and place pie on rack to cool.
From my files, source unknown
TURTLE PUMPKIN PIE (dairy)
1/ 2 cup caramel ice cream topping (divided) 6 oz graham cracker crust 2 cup chopped pecans 2-4 oz instant vanilla pudding 1 cup milk (cold) 1 cup canned pumpkin 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 3 to 4 cups whipped topping
Pour 1/4 cup of the caramel topping into the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the pecans over the topping and set it aside. In a large bowl combine the pudding mix, milk, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and mix until blended. Stir in a whisk until blended.
Fold in 1 1/2 cups whipped topping. Mix to combine. Spoon the filling into the prepared crust and refrigerated for at least 2 hours. Top the pie with the remaining caramel topping and nuts, Serves 8.
From my files, source unknown Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen