12 October 2009

Tartine's Pumpkin Pie

Tartine's Pumpkin Pie (with title)
The food culture between countries sometimes differs at the most fundamental level: for instance, how you treat a fruit or vegetable. Here in the Philippines, just like in at least Brazil, avocados are treated as a dessert fruit. It bothers me (not genuine bother, more of an amused wonderment) that people have called it a vegetable when it is clearly botanically a fruit, but also that people are surprised when it's used for desserts. Here the addition of avocados to sandwiches and salads is a recent phenomenon, and still quite uncommon at that. Guacamole was more well-known, but people in the provinces would scoff at it. What truly bothers me is how clumsily avocados are used in desserts in the Western world, like recipes for ice cream that are essentially sweet frozen guacamole. Yuck. Avocados here are very simply enjoyed by scooping out the flesh and introducing a river of sweetened condensed milk into it.

On the other hand, we have a fruit like a pumpkin, which isn't widely cultivated here in the Philippines (though several other cultivars of the genus Cucurbita are) not being known for its dessert uses. The only application is for coloring and flavoring the middle (yellow) part of a sapin-sapin and even that has been largely abandoned, sadly. Apart from that, it's straight into soups and vegetable stews. So, ignoring the fact that we don't even have an Autumn season here, pumpkin pie and pumpkin cake (unfortunately) were not entities here until recently. Thanks to the internet, huh?

1 minute 42 seconds
by Michael Davies. Originally posted here. Like the video? It stars the magnificent Kate Isitt, one of my favorite English actresses.

So when my aunt bought a pumpkin pie from Costco (!), declaring it her husband's favorite (despite him not really liking dessert in general), I had to try. And I have to say... That obscenely large pie for only $6 or so was pretty good. Sue me, it was my first time.

I find myself having a lot of "first times" since I started on this food journey (I imagine Duncan's ear has fallen out when I get excited over rather ordinary things). I think loving food has made me a more adventurous person- more eager to try anything at least once. I hate not knowing exactly what something is like. And I'm glad- pumpkin pie is quite delicious! I hope you guys give the avocado and condensed milk a try, though :)

SWEEPSTAKES ALERT! Amazon is giving away a slew of prizes and week 2 is all about kitchen goodies. Unfortunately I'm not a US resident so I can't get any :( But it's really simple- just start or add to a wish list to enter! Go go go!

This recipe is again from one of my favorite cookbooks, Tartine. I recently reviewed it over at The Gastronomer's Bookshelf, finally!

Tartine's Pumpkin Pie (minis) adapted from Tartine
The book says you can adjust the sweetness to your liking as it has no bearing on the texture of the custard. I present it here with more than double the indicated amount of sweeteners, as I found the original 100g (1 cup dark brown sugar for one large pie) hardly sweet. The original recipe in a 9-inch pie pan calls for triple the amount of filling.

Flaky Tart Dough: Use the recipe and amount indicated here. Roll it out and cut rounds to fit into a 6-compartment muffin tin. Bake it at 190°C (375°F) for 15 minutes, then remove the weights and parchment and bake for 5 minutes longer. Set aside to cool.

  • 170g (2/3 cup) canned pumpkin puree (if using fresh pumpkin puree, hang it overnight in a cheesecloth bag to reduce the moisture.)
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk (use 3 large eggs and 1 egg yolk for a triple recipe/whole pie)
  • 80g (1/3 cup) heavy cream
  • 70g (1/3 cup lightly packed) dark brown sugar
  • 30g (1-1/2 tablespoons) maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • dash ground cloves
  • dash nutmeg, freshly grated
  • dash black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F). In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg and cream until smooth. Whisk in the sugar, maple syrup, spices and salt until smooth. Divide the mixture between the 6 mini pie shells and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the pie is set but the center jiggles slightly. Cool on a rack. I prefer the pie served cold with whipped cream on the side.

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