Pumpkin pie - Two delicious recipes on how to make a traditional pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie is a hugely popular dessert that is traditionally served all over north America and Canada for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is generally eaten throughout the winter and autumnal months and also makes a big appearance around the time of Halloween.

The pumpkin belongs to the same family as the melon, watermelon, cucumber, courgette, squash and marrow and is rich in iron, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc. It also contains high levels of vitamins A and E, which are regarded as antioxidants as they neutralise free radicals in the body and protect against cancer.
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This nutritious vegetable is widely used in cooking in the U.S. and in the Caribbean, and is also popular in some parts of Europe and in Australia. However, for some reason the British did not take to the pumpkin and it rarely appears in British recipes.

Native Americans introduced the pumpkin to early European settlers during the 17th century. The pumpkin was extremely versatile to them and they baked, boiled, fried, dried, roasted the pumpkin on an open fire and even cut the vegetable into strips and made mats from them. Who says you can't do anything with vegetables!

Today, pumpkin pie consists of an unbaked shortcrust pastry base that is filled with a sweet, spicy and creamy pumpkin purée or custard, which is then baked in the oven until the filling has set and the crust has browned - delicious! The pie is then allowed to cool before serving with whipped cream or a large dollop of ice cream.

Prior to making the pumpkin filling, the pumpkin must be cooked. This can be done by cutting the vegetable into pieces and either steaming or boiling for 15 - 20 minutes until soft enough to mash or by roasting in a hot oven for 30 minutes.

Also note that the pumpkin is naturally sweet and therefore you do not need to use a lot of sugar in your recipe, and for those following a low-fat diet, the cream can be substituted for milk or soya milk.

Below are two recipes for pumpkin pie that we think you will enjoy making and eating.

Easy pumpkin pie recipe

This recipe for pumpkin pie includes chopped pecans which are sprinkled over the pastry base before adding the filling.

Ingredients
  • 250g (9oz) of puréed pumpkin
  • 450ml (16fl oz) of single cream
  • 115g (4oz) of Muscavado sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp of ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp of ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • 1/8 tsp of grated nutmeg
  • shortcrust pastry to line a 9in pie tin
Method
  1. Roll out the pastry and line a tin with it. Excess pastry can be used to make shapes and decorate the edge of the case.
  2. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the bottom of the bottom of the case.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, cream, sugar, eggs, spices and salt.
  4. Pour this mixture into the pastry case and bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes at a temperature of 220°C (425°F).
  5. After 10 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) and bake for a further 45 minutes until the filling has set.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool before serving large slices with whipped, clotted, runny or squirty cream or ice cream.
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Creamy pumpkin pie recipe

This recipe turns out a deliciously creamy and rich pie, which is great served with any form of cold cream.

Ingredients
  • 1½lb of pumpkin
  • 225ml (8fl oz) of single cream
  • 55g (2oz) of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 55g (2oz) of light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp of ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp of ground ginger
  • ½ tsp of ground cloves
  • ½ tsp of ground mace
  • ½ tsp of sea salt
  • shortcrust pastry to line a 9in (23cm) pie tin
Method
  1. Cut the pumpkin into pieces and remove the outer skin and the seeds.
  2. Arrange on a baking tray and roast in a hot oven for 30 minutes.
  3. Place the pumpkin into a blender and process for a few seconds.
  4. Add the cream.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then add the 2 eggs, continuing to whisk as you do so.
  6. Pour this mixture into the pumpkin purée and add the spices, salt and vanilla. Mix all the ingredients together.
  7. Arrange the pastry in the pie tin and pour in the pumpkin filling, making an even layer.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven (180°C / 350°F) for approximately an hour, until the pastry has browned.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow the pie to cool on a wire rack.
  10. Serve cold from the fridge, at room temperature or heated slightly.
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