I do not know why but I have long held a desire to spend autumn in New England. The colors, flavors and lifestyle portrayed in movies may have had something to do with it! Now that it is coming in to fall, those movies are coming to life all around me. I am finally experiencing the stunning light and vibrancy that seems to have crept up on us all overnight!
With the advent of fall comes a penchant for comfort. Wrapping myself in a scarf, all I can think of is bowls of soup, warming stews and cozy fires that are to come. In America, it seems the number one flavor that defines autumn is pumpkin. While I have no interest in having it in my coffee, I can get on board with pumpkin in curry, stews and desserts.
My mum and husband arrived back from the supermarket yesterday with a very large pumpkin. I know they intended for me to carve it up but I could not resist roasting it! Some of the puree has gone straight into the freezer but I had to make a pumpkin pie! It is the quintessential American fall dessert.
Making Pumpkin Puree:
I have found canned pumpkin in supermarkets in Ireland or the UK but you can roast your own. Simple cut in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh then roast at 180C for approx 1 hour. Scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor.
- 350g shortcrust pastry (I make my own but shop bought is fine!)
- 600g pumpkin puree
- 70g caster sugar
- 70g soft brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 175ml condensed milk (freeze the rest for your next pie!)
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 8-10 gratings of fresh nutmeg
- Heat oven to 180C/350F
- Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and line a 9in/22cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Pop in the fridge for 20mins to chill.
- Line the pastry with baking paper/ parchment and fill with baking beans (I simply use dried beans).
- Bake for 20 mins. Check the base to see if it is dry to the touch and starting to brown. If it is nearly cooked, remove the baking beans and brush the base with a bit of beaten egg which helps prevent a soggy bottom!
- Return to the oven for 5-10 mins until base is nicely browned.
- While the pastry is cooking, place the pumpkin puree into the bowl of a food mixer. Add the sugars, eggs, condensed milk and spices and mix with a paddle attachment until evenly combined.
- When the tart shell is cooked, turn the oven up to 200C/400F. Gently fill the tart shell with the pumpkin mixture and return to the oven.
- Bake for 10 mins then reduce the oven temperature to 160C/325F. Return to the oven for 30-40 mins, until the centre of the pie is just set.
- Serve with a generous serving of pouring cream.