From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Some foods are so closely associated with the holidays that it seems crass to overlook them. Every time I try to retire one of our holiday pies, the ghosts of Thanksgiving past come back to haunt me. Mincemeat gained a permanent place at our table because it was Grandpa Andy's favorite, and despite the fact that no one eats it, everyone insists we have one for the holiday. I go through the same dance with pumpkin pie. It has never been anyone's favorite, but it's so much a part of Thanksgiving tradition that it, too, always appears on our table. I do have a confession to make. I play with pumpkin pie, as a matter of fact I shamelessly play with pumpkin pie, and every year I give a new recipe a try. This year I came across a version that uses hot caramel syrup to sweeten the pumpkin custard. Given my track record and the fact the recipe came from Food and Wine magazine, there was no question as to what this year's version of the pie would be. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised with the results. This pie is less spicy than most, but what could be bland pumpkin comes alive with notes of butterscotch flavoring the custard. I think you'll like this and those of you who enjoy butterscotch might even love it. Be sure to use a large saucepan when making the syrup. It will foam and bubble furiously when cream is added to it and you are going to want a pan large enough to contain it and prevent burns. This pie is a bit more involved to make than most, but if you are looking for a modern take on an old favorite, you might want to give this one a try. Here is how the pie is made.
Caramel Pumpkin Pie...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Fine Cooking magazine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 (15-oz.) can pure pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 blind-baked pie shell
1) Position a rack in center of the oven, set a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2) Pour granulated sugar into a 3-quart, heavy-duty saucepan set over medium heat and sprinkle 2 tablespoons water over sugar. Stir occasionally or swirl pan to encourage sugar to melt. When sugar has melted, increase heat to medium high. Watch bubbling sugar syrup carefully and as edges turn golden, gently swirl pan (but do not stir the syrup directly) for even cooking. Continue to let syrup cook until it is a nice, rich caramel color (a pale gold syrup will not make a flavorful sauce base). Total cooking time is about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and carefully add cream and butter to the pan. Mixture will foam dramatically, but that is to be expected. Add brown sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
3) Whisk in pumpkin, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until smooth. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Pour filling into e pie shell, smooth top, and place pie on hot baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake until center of pie no longer wobbles when pan is nudged (a slight jiggle is okay), 25 to 30 minutes more. Transfer pie to a rack and let it cool completely before serving. Yield: 8 servings.
One Year Ago Today: Two Years Ago Today:Pasta with Leftover Turkey Bolognese Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls
Three Years Ago Today: Four Years Ago Today:Maple Mousse Cake with Candied Cranberries Quick and Creamy Pumpkin Pudding