It seems kind of funny this year that I will not be cooking a Thanksgiving Feast for a bazillion other people to eat. For the past 7 years I worked as a private Chef for an American family here in the UK, and as you can imagine, Thanksgiving Dinner was one of the highlights of the year!
I spent days and days every year just getting ready for it . . . there would be the turkey to order from the butcher's and sometimes two . . . the purchasing of all the vegetables and fixings . . . the baking of pies and cakes.
It was a very festive time and quite exciting . . . even if it was a lot of work. It was quite satisfying to see the dinner guests enjoying the fruits of my labours . . . the many hours on my feet executing and delivering the perfect bountiful feast . . .
But this year . . . there is none of that. I get to relax . . . put my feet up . . . watch some telly . . . and think about the many things that I am thankful for . . . like a loving husband and a cute lil pup . . .
Family and friends . . . the blessing of living in a country where I am free and safe to live and worship as I wish to do so . . . and for tasty foods like pumpkin pie. When I was a kid I hated pumpkin pie . . . or at least I thought I did . . .
But then again . . . I never had this one. I think I would have loved it had I done . . .
This is fabulously delicious . . . all autumnal and gently flavoured with spices and sweet maple . . .
in a crisp buttery crust and topped with maple sweetened whipped cream . . .
Now this . . . this is a pie to be thankful for!
*Maple Pumpkin Pie*
Makes one 9 inch pie
A delicious pumpkin pie with true Maple Flavour. I like to garnish with some pastry leaves that I cut out with cookie cutters and shape over little balls of foil to look like they are falling. You can use purchases shortcrust pastry if you wish, but the crust for this is quite simple and easy to make.
5 1/2 ounces of plain flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
5 TBS cold vegetable shortening (such as Trex, or Crisco) cut into small bits
2 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into bits (1/4 cup)
4 to 5 TBS ice water
For the filling:
1 tin (15 ounces) plain pumpkin puree
(or make your own)
3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
2 ounces soft light brown sugar (1/4 cup, packed)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp fine seasalt
10 fluid ounces single cream (1 1/4 cups half and half)
2 fluid ounces maple syrup (1/4 cup)
2 large free range eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp Maple Extract (if you can't get this use Vanilla)
250ml double cream (1 cup)
2 fluid ounces maple syrup (1/4 cup)
First make the pastry. Whisk the flour and salt together in a bowl. Drop in the cold shortening and butter. Rub in with your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly, leaving some pieces of fat pea sized. Chill for half an hour. Drizzle the cold water over the mixture, 1 TBS at a time, mixing in until the flour is moistened and the pastry clears the side of the bowl. Shape into a disk, wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour.
At the end of the hour, remove from the fridge and allow to soften at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Roll out on a floured board to a circle large enough to line a 9 inch deep pie dish, with some overhang for trimming. Transfer to the pie dish and ease it in. Trim off the edge and flute. Chill while you make the filling. (save scraps to make leaves if desired.)
Whisk the pumpkin puree, white and brown sugars, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt together in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, cookiing and stirring, until the pumpkin mixture is thick and hot. Remove from the hob and whisk in the cream and the maple syrup. Whisk in the eggs until blended and then add the flavouring.
Put the prepared pie shell on a baking tray. Pour in the filling. Bake in the lower third of the oven until the fillingis puffed and a metal knife inserted near the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool for at least one hour.
TO make the pastry leaves (if using) roll out the pastry and cut into leaves, using a knife to make the lines in the leaves. Use small wads of foil to drap the leaves over to simulate falling leaves. Bake for 15 minutes in the upper third of the oven. Let cool.
To make the Maple cream, whip the double cream until it forms soft folds. Continue to whip a bit longer, drizzling in the maple syrup until the cream is softly to moderately whipped.
Garnish the top of the cooled pie with the pastry leaves and serve, cut into wedges, along with the Maple cream to dollop on top. Best eaten on the day. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.