My first Thanksgiving with my partner's family. Off to Ellensburg, Washington with my pumpkin pie, cauliflower and brussel sprouts in tow.
This year the next generation is in charge of the cooking – a flurry of emails were shared and Lamar and I volunteered to bring vegetables, wine, and I am throwing in a pie for good measure. Not just any pie, but a gluten-free pie crust, dairy-free Chai Pumpkin Pie.
This is a photo of a Flying Apron Bakery Gluten Free Pie Crust. I cheated this year to make the pie gluten-free – I bought a crust from people who succeed at pretty gluten free crusts. Perhaps it was performance anxiety but I just couldn't bear to bring a large group of people my version of a gluten free crust. This is not what Julia would do – but today I wanted a tasty easy on the eye pie crust.
The pie I call Chai Pumpkin Pie was so aptly named by my extended family member Monty a Thanksgiving or two ago. It is very heavy on the spice and takes on a deep brown color from the molasses.
I always start with a little sugar pie pumpkin – I find one average sized little orange pumpkin makes about three pies. This year's pumpkin was my October table decoration but was promoted for Thanksgiving to the regal circular office of pie filling.
Making all parts of a pie from scratch was not something that I learned from family tradition. My grandmother did teach me how to make pie crust using lard – which works wonderfully – but is not a standard option without a source of lard.
Pumpkin filling always came from a can if not from the local pie shop. Pie crusts came from the local grocer's freezer. My first venture into real cooking was to start baking, maybe as some quiet flour rebellion. My mother questioned why I would go through all the trouble – but for me it is and has always been the process. Explaining my guilt over today's purchased crust – small specialty bakery or not – the effort is the offering and the result is secondary.
pumpkin pie offering
filled with Charlie Brown dreams
great pumpkin inside October stores
decorates our hearth
summer to fall
round full orange body
to dark flesh filling
completing an offering
Chai Pumpkin Pie
1 sugar pie pumpkin (larger than smaller) – makes about 4 cups
1 cup soy milk creamer (almond or hemp milk – do not use rice milk)
1 cup honey
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp rum or whisky
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tsp ground ginger
1/2 Tsp cloves
1 Tsp nutmeg
1/2 Tsp sea salt
Step 1: Bake the pumpkin
Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and innards. Place the gutted pumpkin in a baking pan with 1/4 inch of water in the bottem interior side down. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees or until you can easily scoop the pumpkin pulp out of the skin.
Step 2: Mix the filling
In a metal mixing bowl stir the pumpkin pulp with a fork until it is relatively smooth (you can also use a food processor). Stir in the spices first – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves – followed by the liquid ingredients – eggs, rum or whisky, vanilla, soy milk and honey. Stir everything until it is blended and smooth (again this could all be done in a food processor if you do not enjoy stirring).
Step 3: Prepare the crust
If you purchased a pie crust follow the instructions on the crust regarding prebaking before pouring in filling. If you make your own, choose the crust recipe of your liking roll-out and place in at least two pie pans. Brush the crust in egg and bake at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes.
Step 4: Pour and bake
When the crust is ready pour your pie filling into them making sure not to overfill. If you have less than a 12-inch pie tin you will have filling left over to make a third pie at a later time if you so desire. Bake the pies at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350 degress and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes.
You will know the pie is done when its center is set and no longer has any jiggle to it if you push on the pie gently. The larger the pie the longer it will need to cook.
Let chill and enjoy with friends and family.