Thursday, October 10, 2013

Drunken Pumpkin Pie.

Figuring out where to start, turns out, wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be.
Start with pie!
Every thing's better with pie. Awkward parties you were invited to by your old friend from high school, filled with people who haven't seen you in 7 years who expect a very quick yet surprisingly detailed description of "what you've been up to": better when someone brings out a pie. A hard 12+ hour day at work and someone "accidentally" makes an extra pie (yes that happens when you work in a bakery): instantly excitable. So what am I trying to say here? Eat pie, sometimes too much, mostly whenever offered. Sorry Michael Pollen, but you and I both know that when it comes to pie, these eating rules rarely apply.
October means chilly weather, spices like cinnamon and clove, and gourds. Let's do everyone a favor and combine the best of the season by making some drunken pumpkin pie! Bourbon, for the chill in the air, cinnamon and clove for zest, and pumpkin...well for the pie. Great! I'll shut up now and get to that pie.
Everyone who knows and loves pie, knows that it all starts with the perfect crust. The flaky pastry is a fairly easy concept, chilled butter and flour mixed with ice water until it's a dough. Getting it right (and pretty), isn't something everyone can get on the first try though. So try, try again! After all, that means you'd be making more pie. Mmmm.

Pie Crust
Enough for 1 pie crust

1 1/4 c. All Purpose Flour
1 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 stick frozen butter cut in cubes, and 1/4 c. frozen vegetable shortening cut into cubes. 
3 tbs ice water with 1/2 tsp vanilla (more if needed)

Here's what I love about this whole homemade crust business. It's so much cheaper and more customizable if you make your own. It takes all of 4 minutes to make and about an hour to chill. I added brown sugar and cinnamon to this pumpkin pie, but in a cherry pie maybe I'd use almond, and in a quiche maybe I'd add pepper!
Let's do this thing!

Add all of the ingredients, minus the water, in the bowl of your trusty food processor.
Like that! 
Now give it a few whirls until the butter is about the size of small peas.
Now pop that lid back on and we'll start slowly pouring in the vanilla ice water. It will become a dough very quickly, but don't add too much if it doesn't look like it's coming together right away. Give it a few more pulses and it will all combine into a large ball of pie crust!  

You don't want to add any more water now, because that baby's perfect. Lightly flour a work surface and shape the dough into a 1'' disk. Here's the hardest part. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling. 
Don't you dare skip this part. Resting and chilling the dough will allow the butter and shortening to re-solidify, which is a pretty important part of flaky pastry. When the butter hits the heat of the oven, it will steam and create air, which creates fluff. Which is tasty. 
Alas, it's been an hour and we're so ready for pie. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Roll out your pie dough until it's about 14 inches. When you get out your 9 inch pie dish, I'll tell you the easiest way to transfer that dough to the pan. Ready? Put your rolling pin on the very bottom of your 14 inch pie circle. Start rolling up the dough around the rolling pin. You're a natural! Now that you have a pretty solid pie dough burrito, pick it up and place the overlapping piece on the edge of the pan. Now we unroll. See?! I know, you'll thank me later. Fit the dough to the pan, cut off the excess, and prick the bottom with a fork. This will allow the steam to escape and keep the bottom of the crust nice and flat. 
Bake the pie crust unfilled for about 15 minutes. Hold onto those scraps by the way. Keep them in the fridge. I'll explain in a minute. 

That's my baking partner, Frida. Say hello!
Now that you've met Frida, we can make the filling. 

Bourbon Maple Pumpkin Pie
15 oz. Canned Pumpkin
1 c. Heavy Cream 
1/4 c. Whole Milk
2 Eggs
1 c. Dark Brown Sugar 
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Clove
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Grated Fresh Ginger
1/4 c. Real Maple Syrup
3 tbs. Bourbon
This part is so easy. Put the pumpkin in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, mix together the cream, milk, eggs, maple syrup, and bourbon. Add the cream mixture into the pumpkin. Add remaining spices and sugar, and whisk until combined! Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie shell. Now let's get our Martha Stewart on. I made little acorns to decorate the edges of my pie! Right?! Do you need to do this? Well no. I guess not. But you eat with your eyes first, and these look pretty cute. 
Let's bake this bad boy.
Bye-Bye, Pie.
Bake in the middle of the oven for about 40-45 minutes. It'll be done when the center of the pie giggles just slightly when moved. Cool completely before eating. I know. More waiting, what am I trying to do to you?
By the by, I added a pan underneath the baking pie. This was just for spill-insurance. It didn't spill though.
I served this with molasses whipped cream, which is essentially heavy cream,  powdered sugar, and vanilla whipped together with a touch of molasses folded in. I really just wanted an excuse to post a picture of my beautiful copper mixing bowl. You understand. 

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