Scrupuli

blunt essays with sharp points

This season’s pie recipe

by Scrvpvlvs
Nov 22, 2012 12:55 AM–… and I complain about my crust.

I have never gotten the hang of pie crust. I feel I should almost say, I cannot.

Two pumpkin pies are in the oven, baking. Roasting the pumpkin: successful. Adding cream, sugar, and spices: easy peasy.

Turning flour and shortening into pie crust without misjudging the amount needed and making a hopeless, crumbly mess of it: failure.

In past years, I used the Better Homes & Gardens crust. This year at A’s suggestion I tried the Crisco crust and was painstakingly careful about keeping the dough cold until ready to roll. It still fell apart.

My solution, sticking the bits of crust together to make a jigsaw piecrust in the pie pan, is reasonably satisfactory. People love the pie and are polite and say nothing about the frankencrust. I would just like the satisfaction of making a good crust sometimes.

This year’s recipe is a repeat of two years ago:

Roasted pumpkin (for pie)

Ingredients: 1 small (6–8” diameter) pumpkin, heavy for its size

Cut the pumpkin in half at its middle with the knife. Pull out the seeds with pursed fingers and thumb and save the seeds in the small bowl. Scrape out and discard the slimy, fibrous strands which held the seeds. Place halves cut side down on a baking pan. Put in a 375 °F oven to roast.

The pumpkin is ready to remove when fragrant pumpkin juice is bubbling in the baking pan and a fork or toothpick goes in easily and comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool enough to handle. Scoop the meat of the pumpkin out of the rind and into a mixing bowl. Discard the rind.

Toasted pumpkin seeds

This can be started as soon as the pumpkin is in the oven.

Ingredients: 1 T olive oil 1 T sugar 1 t cinnamon ½ t paprika ½ t coriander seeds from 1 small pumpkin

Line a baking pan with parchment. Combine oil, sugar, and spices, and pour in the center of the parchment. Pour the seeds over the mixture. Fold with a spoon until the mixture has evenly coated the seeds. Spread the seeds out over the parchment. Put in a 375 °F oven to roast.

The seeds are ready to remove when they have begun to darken. Allow to cool a little before eating … if you can wait.

Pie crust … arggh …

Ingredients (for two pies): 2 C flour 1 tsp salt ¾ C shortening 4–8 tbsp ice cold water

(This was not quite enough for two pies.)

Blend flour and salt. Cut cubed chilled shortening into flour mixture into pea sized pieces. Sprinkle half the water over mixture; mix with a fork. Add more water by the tbsp, mixing until dough holds together. Divide into two equal parts. Flatten into 1/2 inch thick round disks. Wrap in plastic, refrigerate 30 minutes.

For each pie: lightly flour surface, put cold disk on surface. Flour rolling pin, roll into circle 2" wider than pie plate. Ease onto pie plate and trim evenly. Curse.

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients: 1 ½ C cream 6 eggs ¾ C sugar 1 ½ t ground cinnamon 1 ½ t ground ginger ¾ t salt ¾ t ground cloves ½ t ground nutmeg

(This year, my pumpkin was big enough that I doubled the ingredients and ended up with enough filling for three pies.)

Mash and mix thoroughly together the ingredients with the pumpkin meat in the mixing bowl.

Pour the filling into the crust, leaving at least ¼ inch for expansion. Put in the oven to bake for 45–60 minutes depending on the size of pie. The pie is ready to remove when the crust and filling have browned, the filling has swelled up, and a fork or toothpick comes out of the filling clean. Remove the pie and let it cool.

Extra crust dough can be scattered with sugar and cinnamon and baked in the oven to a light brown.

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