This is my cookcabulary



Pumpkin Pie Oh My!

Last week Sam needed a pumpkin pie for the pie pitch in at his work.  I feel like every other week that boy needs something for work.  Every month they do a pitch-in to celebrate birthdays but it really feels like he always needs something, and last-minute.  And of course, I would never allow him to go to the store and just pick something up – I need to make it.  Those boys in his department need some good ‘ol home baking in their bellies.  It’s only right! Ha.

Ok, so pumpkin pie.  Let me start with this story.

I had decided the night before that since one Libby’s pumpkin mix was enough to make two pies, I would make one pie for Sam, and lots of mini pumpkin pies for work – to then give to a client.  On the way home form work, I go to the store and get a couple key items I need to make the pies and purchase a cute little mini muffin pan at Home Good.  (such a great stop for cheap items, I love it!!) Well, I get home from all of this and I realize, by reading the label, I don’t have enough evaporated milk.  So,  like the awesome husband he is, I sent Sam to the store (I had already gone, so he was willing to go).  And, at this point, I wanted a back-up pumpkin can so as to have stock, so I told him to grab another Libby’s can. 

He returns and as I start to line up all my ingredients, as I usually do, I read the label on the can of Libby’s he bought to make sure I have everything.  And I am immediately confused.  This can called for almost half the evaporated milk as the other can did.  Weird I thought.  I look at both the Libby’s cans closer and realize Sam accidently got the “Easy” recipe.  All the spices are already added in for you.   Which, is so not what I wanted.  I would’ve just made a pie from a box (if that were possible) if that were the case.  Call me a from-scratch-snob, but there is no joy in cooking or baking for me if most of the work is done for you when I actually WANT to do the work.  I’m weird, I really enjoy the tough labor of it all.

At this point, I still don’t have enough evaporated milk to make both Sam’s pie and the mini pies … and 3 trips to the grocery store is just annoying.  So, here comes the mom call – I always call mom when I get confused (which is often, ha!).  We agree that I have enough ingredients to make one pie, so a half recipe – but I had promised my boss I would bring mini pies for her. So, we decided to just use regular milk.  I ended up being maybe a 1/3 cup short on evaporated milk, so the different was regular milk.  And … I don’t think it made too much of a difference in the end.

SOOOOO … long introduction, but these pies are truly made with love! I was up late drizzling chocolate on the mini’s!

Ok, first we start with our crust.  Sam loves Pamela’s Bread mix, and it just so happens they have a crust recipe that we had used before that we liked! So, for the crust – gluten-free ….

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Easy Pie Crust (I used a half recipe since I only wanted one pie)

1 bag Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix (do not use the yeast packet)
2 sticks (16 TBSP) unsalted butter, chilled
7 to 8 TBSP ice cold water

Yield: two, 9-inch pie crusts

In bowl, cut butter and shortening into Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix with two knives until small pea sized pieces form.

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Why am I using two different knives, I have absolutely NO idea! I think I was cutting the cold butter with the steak knife. Oh well.

Slowly add water until dough comes together, not sticky. Add 1 teaspoon additional water if dough is too dry. Hint: Use ice cubes to chill water.  I used my skull and cross-bones ice cubes that my lovely friend bought me on my birthday!

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This is how the dough should look, not sticky but not dry.  As you are mixing the water in, you will start to feel the dough come together in a ball and shy away from sticking to the outer edges of your bowl.  This is how you know it has enough moisture.

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Do not over handle dough either, we’ve had this discussion before remember? Roll out half the dough (or in this case all of it, since I did half a recipe) between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Peel off top paper and invert into a lightly greased pie dish. Peel off second sheet and fix crust edge. Bake unfilled crust in a 350° oven on bottom rack for 35 to 40 minutes. Or, bake filled with your favorite filling by following pie recipe directions. Dough can be frozen for later use, wrap in plastic and freeze. But make sure it is completely thawed.  Before I rolled out my dough, I stuck it in the freezer to chill out for a bit.  The butter had become room temperature at this point and this can just cause a sticky greasy mess! 

For the filling, just follow the recipe on the back of Libby’s Pumpkin mix! Here is a picture of it in case you are curious, and the infamous evaporated milk!

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and, here are my dry ingredients.  The perfect blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves – and of course sugar!

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Mix this with your pumpkin and evaporated milk, and you’ve got your filling!

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Pour this into your pie crust, bake, and voila! For some reason, I stopped taking pictures at this point until I made the mini’s.  But – check on your pie at the minimum time allotted on the recipe.  Use a bitter knife and insert it directly into the middle of the pie, if it comes out clean – its finished! However, if the pie still looks jigg-ly, like jello, it’s not done.  Give it a few more minutes, and check again with the knife.

Now on to the minis.  In the essence of time, and length of this blog. I will give you the condensed version.

I used this dough from the food network:

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

 1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (I didnt have this, so I used allllll butter baby!!)

5 tablespoons ice water, or as needed

And I tried Bakerella’s recipe for the filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

And here are pics of me in the process of it all! We begin with the pie crust (so it can chill in the freezer while I make the filling)

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Now for the filling! :)
 

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Now we get the dough from the freezer and roll it out – make sure to sprinkle that counter AND roller!  No need for wax paper this time, your counter works fine.

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Then find something small enough to cut out the perfect little circles.  Were using a mini muffin pan, so just look around the kitchen.  I ended up using the cap from my little hand help food-processor thingy. A cup would work perfect, but all of mine were too small.  Then, just drop them into the mini-muffin pan just like you would a pie pan.  Had I though about it, I would have smoothed the edges down – but it was nearing midnight and details like that were not important at the time.  However, looking at the pictures now, and how they turned out – I would recommend it.  Feel free to add little pieces for pumpkin stems!

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I then spooned in the filling and baked them for about 7-10 minutes.  While the last batch is baking, you can melt some chocolate to drizzle on top.  I am LOVING this melting chocolate thing, I might be obsessed.

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They are so cute and tiny! The perfect bite size treat!

You can drizzle chocolate on them all, or leave some plain.

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And there we have it – total pumpkin overload.

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