Max has been asking me to make a real homemade pumpkin pie since August. He saw an early season pumpkin and it has been on his mind ever since. So, today was the day!
Max came home from school and after I finally stopped giving him the last annoying mothering question to him on how his day went, I surprised him with a question that perked his interest, “hey Max, ya know what would be a perfect thing for us to do right now?” Max immediately looked at me wide-eyed and said, “make a pumpkin pie?!?” Right on brother, today’s the day! Rudy Raccoon was sleeping and this couldn’t be more of a perfect time for just Max & Mommy.
Max loves to cook and bake. He is really good at it too. He has an incredible sense of what ingredients are used in a dish. I’m impressed by this. When we are cooking together we have great conversation. I love his ideas on what flavors would go together on not.
He just had his birthday. For his school treat he wanted homemade cinnamon rolls. So, that’s what I did! I asked Max to remind me again how many we’re in his class and it was 33.
Yikes, that’s a lot of dough I thought to myself. I really wanted to talk him out of it after he said 33. I thought to myself, why couldn’t he just want some homemade cookies or fruit? Then I reminded myself I tried fruit one year for his b-day at school and it was a flop! (Healthy school code, sigh…blah, blah, blah.) I tried to make it fun by putting the fruit on a kabob skewer and some vanilla yogurt in a dixie cup for dipping. Half of the kids looked at me like I was an alien making them eat alien food. They were holding the skewer up above their sweet little alien heads twisting the kabob around like they were looking at a food they have never seen before, and poking it like it might come alive and bite their finger off!! Kids were crowding around me saying, “I only want the grapes….I’m allergic to strawberries…..I’m allergic to pineapple….what’s that white stuff?….Can I just have the stick?” I then told Max’s first grade teacher, “I will never do this again.”
Max had that look. The look that makes your heart break. I was watching Max go desk to desk passing them out and I could see his birthday excitement leave his face every time a kid would say to him “he don’t want one” I wanna tooooo….whoa, whoa, whoa, I better just shut off the mother bear in me. Yikes!
Seriously, I just wanted to take this snack back to the alien space craft and run up to the local Market and get every kids favorite treat….Softloft cookie. So, heck yah I’ll make you cinnamon rolls Max! Shoot you want Baked Alaska you got it kid! So, what did I do? I made him the best darn cinnamon rolls momma can make. I used the recipe from Zingermans of course. (They’re called Sinful Cinnamon Rolls at the bake shop. Delish! and the dough is very versatile. I seriously should be a spokesman for Zingermans!) My aunt Ann took a class there and shared the recipe with me.
Well, I didn’t only make 33, I made 60. Yup, total over kill. But, to have Max walk around that school passing around his mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls with a proud look like “he’s the stuff” priceless.
Ok, on to the pie…I figured if Max & I were going to make a homemade pumpkin pie from a pumpkin, I better make my own crust too. The real deal!
I use my food processor when I make piecrust. My mom does her’s all by hand. And I tell you what, Nellies piecrust NO ONE can beat! No, matter what I do or how many times I try I just can’t get her piecrust technique down. Grrrr! Oh well, she can’t ever figure out how to make no-bake cookies!
Pulse together the butter, crisco and salt until it resembles a coarse meal. I like the combo of the butter and crisco. The butter gives that nice buttery taste and the crisco makes your crust nice and flaky
Add the ice cold water and vinegar & pulse about 5 more times. Gentle knead just until it all comes together. (Why vinegar? It’s quite commonly used in pie crusts…without effecting the flavor it will help make a crust more flaky no matter how much the dough is worked. It helps relax the gluten formation. Some also use lemon juice–it’s the acid in them that does the work.)
Real Homemade Pumpkin Pie
*Filling makes one 9inch pie
1 sugar pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1. Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with lightly oiled aluminum foil. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the flesh is tender when poked with a fork. Cool until just warm. Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peel. Either mash, or puree in small batches in a blender. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C.)
2. In a large bowl, slightly beat eggs. Add brown sugar, vanilla, salt, 2 cups of the pumpkin puree, all spices, and evaporated milk. Stir well after each addition.
3. Pour mixture into the unbaked pastry shell. If it looks like the crust is getting too brown, place a strip of aluminum foil around the edge of the crust.
4. Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool pie, and refrigerate overnight for best flavor. Garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy!
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup Crisco (vegetable Shortening)
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 whole Egg
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt
In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, (or food processor) gradually work the butter & Crisco into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top and on your rolling pin) If the dough is sticking to the countertop use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.
Roll the dough over the rolling in and transfer to the pie dish. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge. Make whatever crimping design you desire!
*This recipe makes 2 shells. 2 bottom crust for two separate pies or 1 top and bottom for one single whole pie.