Sunday, 25 November 2012

Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving is done and gone. I missed it. I was busy. But the weekend came and I was craving some kitchen time. So I loaded up a bunch of Food Wishes videos for inspiration. Hey presto, Pumpkin Pie.

This recipe is a combination of Chef John's recipe, the recipe on the side of the Libby's pumpkin can, and something of my own creation. The big difference is that I substituted a mixture of coconut cream and coconut milk for the condensed/evaporated milk called for in the other recipes. A happy accident really - I forgot to buy any - but it really seems to work. The pie is still creamy and smooth and there's no heavy coconut taste noticeable because the spiced pumpkin flavour is so strong. I also reduced the amount of sugar and added honey instead because I usually find American recipes a little sweet for my palate. And it really was a success. One of those 'I can't eat less than 2 slices' kind of success.

Now listen. This is my first pie. Of any kind. So I'm feeling a little smug right now. More than a little. But please, indulge me. Making a homemade pie feels like some kind of milestone for me. Like I became a proper grown up. Like I said, please indulge me.

So here's the blow by blow...

For the crust:

I used Chef John's recipe for an easy homemade pie crust. I did it in two batches because my food processor is a tiny compact.

12 oz plain flour
200g butter (ice cold from the freezer)
1/2 tsp salt
7 tbsp ice water
1 tbsp white vinegar

NB. It's really important to use ice cold butter straight from the freezer. 

Combine the water and vinegar in a small bowl. In a food processor, pulse together the cold butter, flour and salt until you get something that looks like crumbs. Add half of the water/vinegar mixture and pulse again to get a courser crumb texture. Finally add the rest of the water and pulse until it is just starting to clump together. See in the photo below, my mixture was still pretty crumb-like but when I pressed a handful together it formed a dough. This is perfect. 

Dump onto a floured surface and form it roughly into a ball. Do this quickly and don't be tempted to knead it! Cut the dough in half. Flatten each half into a disk, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 30 mins. I rested mine for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180 C (mine is an excitable fan oven so I set to 160) and grease a 9 inch pie dish or baking pan. I didn't have a pie dish so used a shallow cake tin and it worked great.

When it's rested, roll out one disk on a well floured surface. The other half you can freeze for a future pie - it will last up to three months. If you've rested the dough for as long as I did (2 hours) the rolling might take a while as the dough will be quite firm. Persist, flouring lightly to stop it from sticking, until you have a circle that will fill your dish/tin. Don't worry about cracks or craggy edges, it all gets turned into the rim of the pie.

To get your crust into the tin, roll it on to your rolling pin then roll it out over your pan. Gently work the dough into the tin, using a ball of well floured dough to press into the edges. 

Squash the excess dough together to form the rim and crimp with your fingers. Prick the base and sides of your crust with a fork to prevent it puffing up in the oven. Beat an egg in a small bowl (you can use the one from the pie filling) and brush the rim thoroughly. Line with crumpled baking parchment and fill with baking beads (I used rice) and blind bake for 8 minutes. Remove the beads/rice and bake for another 8 minutes or until it's lightly browned. While it's baking you can get your filling ready...

For the filling:

400g can of pumpkin
160ml can coconut cream
6 tbsp coconut milk (use the cream from the top, not the water)
4 oz sugar
4 tbsp honey
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

In a large bowl combine the pumpkin, coconut cream, coconut milk, sugar, honey, egg (you can use the one that you used to egg wash the crust) and egg yolks, spices and salt. Mix together really well - the mixture needs to be really smooth. Pour into the blind-baked pie crust and bake at 180C (160C for hyperactive fan ovens) for 45-50 minutes.

To test if it's done, insert a knife a few inches from the crust and check if it comes out clean. The very middle may still have a wobble but that's okay. Allow it to cool completely in the tin before serving.

It had more cracks than I would have wanted but for a first attempt I was very very happy. It was delicious and the texture was almost perfect. Soft, velvety and not too sweet. There was no coconut flavour that I could make out, it just tasted creamy and beautifully spiced.

And it didn't last long...


  1. Wow! Very detailed instructional pics. I like that

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  3. thanks for share.