Monday, November 26, 2007

Pumpkin Pie

What says Thanksgiving more than pumpkin pie and family?

My boyfriend and I made two - one for his family dinner and one for mine.

I felt a little pressure. Aside from some turkey basting and other small tasks, I had never made a proper dish for Thanksgiving dinner. You know that phrase about "too many cooks in the kitchen?" I really took that to heart. My talents usually went to setting the table.

But here we were making pumpkin pies from scratch (with store-bought pie crust)! We used the two pie pumpkins from my November CSA delivery and followed the recipe in the Joy of Cooking.

We had made two trial pies a few weeks earlier. It's a good thing we practiced.

The very first pie turned out somewhat chunky. It was long after midnight before we could even taste it, thanks to a comedy of errors that included a rotten pumpkin and a late-night trip to the store to buy the forgotten pie crust (oops, my bad). By the time it was ready I took one bite (it did taste good) and promptly fell asleep.

My boyfriend made another one a few days later and adjusted the temperature and time for cooking the pumpkin (1 1/2 hours at 325 instead of 45 minutes at 400). That was the key to achieving the pureed consistency. The pie looked like it came right out of the can! (By the way: to cook the pumpkin, cut it lengthwise in half, scoop out the seeds and goopy stuff, and place the two halves down on an oiled baking sheet.)

So we easily knocked out two pies on the night before Thanksgiving, and I learned a good lesson: make a recipe at least once beforehand if a lot of people are going to taste the final result.

We had about 25 people between our two families, so I was nervous about what everyone would think.

On Thursday we went to his sister's house early to work on a 3,000-piece puzzle that we must finish by Christmas (but that's another story!). Because of the close timing of the two meals, we left shortly after her dinner began and heard the next day that the pie went over well.

When it came time to eat the pie at my sister's house, everyone gathered around the counter.

"It looks a little mushy," someone commented. Laughing nervously, I noted how the recipe called for the pie to "quiver" as a sign that it was done.

I watched as a piece was cut and scooped on a plate. Pumpkin spilled outside the crust.

But it still went over well, and I believed the compliments. This is family. So I'm sure if they didn't like it, I would hear about it!

My mom said she liked the flavor because it wasn't too pumpkin-y (we think that's because we didn't scoop out every last bit from each half).

Even my picky nephew ate some. And the dog loved it. She ate the last piece.

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