I don’t really have a sweet tooth and I haven’t had much of an opinion about the pumpkin either. So it must have been quite a strange coincidence that among a plethora of dessert options I picked up the pumpkin pie at a recent office lunch, let alone the fact that I picked up a dessert in the first place. I have heard a lot about the pumpkin pie and its rich and old tradition and history though that did not have any bearing on my decision. Anyways surprise surprise: I really liked it. It had a very unique and distinct taste that kindled my senses.
Now this led to 2 things: I wanted to know more about its history and I wanted to make it on my own. The first one was quite easy. I was able to dig up quite a few articles that provided lots of information about its origins and its entry into popular American culture. So here’s a concerted effort to succinctly present (not bore) you with a brief peek into the life and times of Mr. Pumpkin Pie.
The Pumpkin Pie Culture: The pumpkin has been native to the continent of
North America for a long long time.
Northeastern Native American tribes grew squash and pumpkins and roasted or
boiled them for eating. Historians think that the early American settlers from
Europe (in southern New England) were not very impressed by the Indians’ squash
and/or pumpkins until they had to survive their first harsh winter when about
half of the settlers died from scurvy and exposure. The Native Americans
brought pumpkins as gifts to the first settlers, and taught them the many uses
for the pumpkin. This is what developed into pumpkin pie about 50 years after
the first Thanksgiving in .
And since then the pumpkin and pumpkin pie have been an integral part of
Thanksgiving, Haloween and Christmas in America . America
Now to the not so easy part! I love cooking and have made many Indian sweets as well before but haven’t done much of baking. (Cakes, pies, cookies etc...) Reason being I have had the company of some wonderful friends who make excellently delicious cakes; so I never ventured into that zone. But nevertheless, making pumpkin pie turned out to be an exciting and delicious affair. So before you start cursing me I will give you my methodology (note that there is nothing really original here as you can find this recipe with slight variations in many places in the web). But I am trying to give you one of the easier ways to do it.
v 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed or 2 cups of pumpkin pulp puree from a sugar pumpkin
v 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
v 1/2 cup brown sugar
v 1/4 teaspoon salt
v 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
v 1/2 cup half-and-half
v 1/4 cup melted butter
v 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
v 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
v 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
v 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
v 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
v 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
v 1 piece pre-made pie dough
v Whipped cream, for topping
v Ready made Pie crust
The pie shell (or crust) is a very important part and adds a lot to the taste. You can either make it from scratch or get a ready-made one. I went for the easier option. If you are perfectionist, you can go for the other option too.
ü Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
ü Take the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat it well (a hand mixer would come in handy).
ü Now add the pumpkin and beat them nicely together until they mix well.
ü Now mix the sugars, salt and spices and continue the beating.
ü Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, melted butter and the vanilla extract and beat well for one last time.
ü Now pour the filling into the ready-made (or self made) pie crust and bake it in the oven for about 50-60 minutes until the center is set.
That is it. Your delicious pumpkin pie should be ready and hopefully edible. Help yourself (and others) generously. The whipped cream goes well with it too.
See you next time. Pie Pie!!