Pumpkin Pie



Here in Italy everyone is already thinking about Christmas, which every year, without fail, feels wrong to me -- after all, in my American mind, we celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, and THEN Christmas, right?! I always tend to miss Thanksgiving when I'm here in Rome -- it's been 5 or so years since I've been home for one in the States -- so I wanted to share a few of the recipes that I've put on my menu for the Thanksgiving dinner I am hosting this year, just to keep in the spirit of things. Which brings us to today's post! 

It may seem odd that the first recipe I'm sharing on here for Thanksgiving jumps right to dessert, but for me, Thanksgiving is more about the pie -- apple! pumpkin! pecan! -- than it is about the main course (turkey? turkey who?!) Indeed, you simply cannot have Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie.

I admit I was a bit nervous before serving this to the group of Italians I had to dinner. Many Italians I've met don't like cinnamon, and most are skeptical upon hearing that we put pumpkin in a dessert -- after all, pumpkin is a vegetable, an ingredient more at home tucked into ravioli than mixed with sugar and spices and poured in to a pie crust. I am happy to report however that the Italians who tried this pie absolutely loved it -- really, fell in to one of those happy food silences that lasts a minute or two as everyone enjoys their food -- which is what every cook likes to hear. Indeed, this dessert is pure pie bliss, one of my very favorite desserts I make. The filling is full of Fall spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, and dense and rich with an amazingly smooth texture (thank you very much, heavy cream!) This pie is perfect with a dollop of whipped cream and is the ideal ending to your Thanksgiving meal, though I do think that pumpkin pie is something that should be made year round, not just once a year. 

Added bonus: this pie is a cinch to make, just whisk everything together into a bowl and you're done, no chopping or beating needed, no lattice crust, no crumble or glaze or frosting in sight. Lastly, I apologize for the slightly plain photo, but everyone gobbled this pie up before I could take any really decent photos as planned! Just more evidence that you should make this right away -- enjoy everyone!

PUMPKIN PIE

Ingredients:
2 cups canned pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg, beaten together
2 1/4 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 uncooked pie crust 

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Whisk together the heavy cream and pumpkin. Whisk in the sugars and then the eggs. Mix in the salt and spices. Note that the spices I put in are just suggestions to start with -- you can add more if you'd like (this is what I usually do). Whisk everything together until well mixed.

Place the pie crust into a lightly greased 9 inch pie pan. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Bake at a high temperature of 425°F for 15 minutes. Then after 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 350°F. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes more, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (About half way through the bake time, you may want to put foil around the edges of the crust to keep it from getting too browned.)

Cool the pumpkin pie completely and then refrigerate until cold (I like to make mine the night before serving as it gives the spices time to develop and tastes even better the next day). Serve with freshly whipped cream. Serves 8-10.




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