I hope everyone had a good Christmas! I picked up “Holes” by Sachar to add to my YA reading list. Between YA books, I have been reading “How to Read Literature Like a Professor” by Thomas Foster. Boy, where was THAT book when I needed it ten years ago? It sums up pretty much every literary analysis ever written. Well, not all of them, but many of the huge literary themes and references: quests, blindness/seeing, scars, sickness, life/death, season/weather, etc. The only downfall is that it does not go into poetry and that is because he doesn’t see poetry analysis of much general use beyond the iambic pentameter thanks to good ol’ Shakespeare. Many of the practice tests I have taken use poetry analysis. But, I agree with Foster. Beyond the iambic pentameter, knowing a poem is in anapestic tetrameter is not generally useful. Unless you major in English or something. And who would do something stupid like that? Oh wait….. Well, I minored in it anyway.
On with the recipe: I brought pumpkin pie again to Christmas because Costco for the second year in a row has failed to fill its bakery with the basic pumpkin pie on Christmas Eve. I’ve given up on them – but not the best pumpkin pie recipe! I thought last year’s recipe was pretty good. I think this one is better and my husband agrees. This one is smooth, rich and creamy. The spices can be added heavily or lightly, depending on your tastes. I like to go on the heavy side. Due to having lots of leftover graham crackers, I used a graham cracker crust. This was a great alternative to the traditional shell. I bet gingersnaps would have been exceptional. King Arthur Flour has this recipe with the most 5 stars and I would have to agree!
Recipe Science Note. The directions say to add the eggs last. This is to avoid cracks in the pumpkin pie. Many pies have cracks in the middle because the pumpkin mixture wasn’t allowed to rest and absorb all the liquid. If the eggs are added too early, the acidity of the pumpkin and brown sugar may partially cook and coagulate the eggs.
Smooth and Creamy Pumpkin Pie
yield 8-10 servings
1 and 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
6 Tb. butter, melted and slightly warm
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
or use a 9″ single pie crust
2 Tb. flour
1/4 to 1 and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (I used 1 tsp.)
1 pinch to 1/8 tsp. cloves (I used 1 dash)
1/8 tsp. to 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (I used 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg)
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional, but tasty)
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used light)
1 and 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (1 can)
2 Tb. light corn syrup
1 and 1/2 cups or 12 oz. can evaporated milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
For the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything in a large bowl until it is like sand, or pulse in the food processor.
2. Press the crust into the 9″ pie plate. Use your fingers and the bottom of the glass to get it even.
3. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the filling:
1. In a big bowl, mix up all the flour, spices and salt.
2. Whisk in the sugar and pumpkin.
3. Whisk in the syrup and milk. Now, let this sit for a good 30-60 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the fridge. This makes the flavors meld and taste REALLY good.
4. *Preheat oven to 450 degrees!* Now mix in the 2 eggs really well. Pour into the pie shell. I did have a little pie filling leftover. Even some of it came over the shell, but it shrank back and it ended up great anyway.
5. Bake your pie on the bottom rack for 15 minutes. (If it is too nerve racking to transfer the pie up and down, just skip to the reduced temperature of 350 degrees and increase your bake time. I believe this extra temperature step keeps the crust from being underdone and soggy though.)
6. Now, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and place the pie in the middle of the oven. Bake 35-45 minutes. Mine was perfect after 40 minutes.
7. Remove and let cool.
“I’m partying at the Pi Day Pie Party at Crazy for Crust today. Come party with us!”
Close up of crust:
Recipe for filling from King Arthur Flour