It was rough last year not having pumpkin pie. I was in the midst of discovering I’d likely been sick because of a gluten intolerance (correct = dang!), and had to live without it. This year I decided to live big and make my first pie ever, and a pumpkin one at that. I wanted a serious pumpkin pie, but with a totally rockin’ pie crust that didn’t even attempt to be a flaky regular one. I love the crust from Hugo’s, and set out to duplicate it.
A quick Google search landed me at Gluten Free Goddess, Karina’s excellent web site featuring some great gluten free recipes (great in that they do not try to recreate glutenous counterparts but reinvent them entirely. Try the Vegetarian Garden Loaf and be stunned, shocked and amazed. This is now my mother-in-law’s go-to recipe, and everyone loves it — meat eaters, vegetarian, etc.). Hugo’s pumpkin pie has a ridiculously good crust with pecans, coconut, and cinnamon. Karina had already worked on imitating the crust, so I tried hers. Not exact, but perfectly fab the first time out, and absurdly easy to make.
The pie was not absurdly easy, but the promise of one shined like a beacon. Which is a good thing, because this bad boy proved a bit of work. For the pie, I wanted the real thing: a custard pie made with eggs, cream and milk but flavored with pumpkin. I turned to the most reliable source for this sort of recipe, America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. The recipe calls for uniting a simmered pumpkin mix with a pre-baked crust. The flavor was perfect, but after blasting the pumpkin mixture in the Cuisinart then simmering it, the recipe called for whipping eggs in the food processor before adding the mixture slowly back into the Cuisinart for another round.
While this might have been an attempt not to soil every appliance in the kitchen, this method resulted eggs that were overbeaten (5 seconds, that’s all it took!) and the end mixture both overflowed the machine (a mess) and created a foamy pie that tasted great but was more like a pudding. Overbeaten eggs won’t help a pie set (they usually give structure). I highly recommend testing recipes before taking them anywhere for this sort of reason. And of course, I was combining two recipes…
For the final round, I used the Cuisinart for the crust and the initial pumpkin mixture, but after simmering the mixture I added it to the slightly warmed bowl of my stand mixer containing my wire-whipped eggs. (I warmed the bowl by adding warm water, letting it sit for a moment, then adding room-temp eggs). The pie came out perfect and despite the extra bowl, created much less mess.
Also, because pumpkin pie batter is so thin, it’s easier to fill the pan or pie half way, then once it’s on the oven rack, add the rest of the batter. I have a
Kaiser LaForme springform (best pan, no leaks) but not overflowing the mix while pushing the damned thing into the oven was a challenge both times I made it.
This was a serious treat, especially after I whipped the remaining cream to put over the top (a little sugar, a little vanilla, a few minutes with the stand mixer, Voila!).
Forgot to show a slice with whipped cream. That’s because we were too busy eating it!