Wednesday, December 7, 2011


When I went about making the pie you see above, I had no intention of sharing it here, I just wanted a belated Thanksgiving fix. The recipe is widely modified by a hilarious blog that I adore, Bonappetempt, so this is, ahem, what can barely be called a good-will attempt at a Bonappetempt. Can it still be a good will attempt if I followed almost none of the instructions? Even if it turned out fabulous? Let's just say the inspiration was there, oh-so-inspired by Bonappetempt's attempt. Alrighty?

So, let's see. All I can say is that although I would definitely consider myself a fan of pumpkin pie, it's not the type of thing that I'm compelled to make for myself- or to offer to guests- the rest of the year. The pumpkin pie you see above, however, I plan on making the next chance I get. Why is that, you ask? What makes this pumpkin pie different than all other pumpkin pies (you would ask if you're Jewish)? (Unfortunately, the picture doesn't do the pie justice as it was taken 2 days into its short life-- as I said, I wasn't planning on sharing this; the meringue has started to become less creamy and more egg white-structure-y, and the crust has absorbed a lot of moisture from the filling.)
Now, I would bet that the original recipe makes a damn fine pumpkin pie, and the original has a certain majesty about it that mine certainly lacks. The base is Martha Stewart's pate brisee, which I had heard was perfect in every way but had never actually gotten around to making because I'm so reliant on this one, which is ridiculously easy and delicious. But man, Martha's is really perfect, and I think I just found my new go-to pie crust. As far as the filling, I made several changes (some intentional, some definitely accidental) that I do think contributed to the general specialness of the resultant pie. For starters, as far as I know canned pumpkin doesn't exist in Brazil, so roasting the pumpkin had to come first. But I didn't buy a big enough chunk of pumpkin, so after roasting it I ended up with way less than the recipe called for. I've also never seen evaporated milk here, so I thought I'd give heavy cream a go (it's never led me wrong before), and I had no intention on using up 11 eggs in a pie (the original recipe called for 3 whole eggs and 8 egg whites), so that got "rounded" to 3 whole eggs (I should work for the Treasury)-- 3 yolks for the filling, and 3 yolks for the meringue. And I replaced most of the white sugar with muscovado sugar because I am deeply in love with it these days, and omitted the ginger because I didn't have any. Phew. I sound like one of those people who decides to make ice cream and replaces the heavy cream with skim milk and the sugar with tabasco sauce.

But. Not entirely unsurprisingly given the added fat content, this was the creamiest, most delicate pumpkin pie I have ever eaten. It passed my local Brazilian-Colombian-German test with flying colors, rather critical I think given that pumpkin-based desserts are not something that have most non-Americans jumping for joy. Next time, I'm planning on making it in a tart pan and calling it-- wait for it-- a pumpkin meringue tart. Classy and continental, right? Riiiight. So, here we go-- an unsuccessful attempt at an attempt, which proved to be quite serendipitous indeed.

Pumpkin Meringue Pie
     adapted from Bon Appetempt and Martha Stewart

For the crust:
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4.5 oz. (1 stick + 1 Tbsp.) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 c. ice water

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt together. Toss the butter cubes into the mixture and use your fingers to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. I like to leave some larger pieces of butter, I just pinch them between my fingers to flatten them out a bit. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the ice water evenly over the mixture, and stir with a fork to evenly distribute the moisture. The mixture should hold together when pressed between 2 fingers (dough should not be wet or sticky). If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix well with a fork. Gather the dough up unto a disk, wrap in plastic, and let rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Roll out the crust on a well-floured board, then fit it into your 9-10 in. pie/tart pan; trim/crimp the edges as desired (make sure you roll the dough out big enough before placing it into the pan-- stretching the dough to fit in the pan will just cause it to bounce back in the oven). Now, Martha says to blind-bake this with beans, but I just baked mine without anything on top (and I forgot to prick the dough, oops), and though mine shrunk a bit I can't say it bothered me. It's up to you. Bake just until the edges start to turn golden, 10-15 min. Let cool.

For the filling:
3 yolks
10 oz. pumpkin puree
7 oz. heavy cream
1/3 c. plus 2 Tbsp. muscovado sugar 
3 Tbsp. white sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
rounded 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
scant 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Lower the oven temperature to 325F. In a food processor or in a bowl with a whisk, mix all the ingredients together until completely smooth. Pour mixture into cooled shell. Bake until set but still slightly wobbly in the center, 40-45 min. Let cool on a rack, then cover loosely and let chill in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. Make the meringue just before serving.

For the meringue:
3 egg whites, room temperature
small pinch of salt
3/4 c. sugar

In a large heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg whites with the pinch of salt just to break them up. Over a simmering pot of water, whisk the sugar with egg whites until completely dissolved, 2-3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pot of water and continue to beat the egg whites until they have formed stiff, glossy peaks. (I did this by hand, and I do not recommend it. Oh my god, I'm still recovering.) Dollop the meringue over the pie and spread it decoratively. Brown the meringue with a kitchen torch or in a very hot oven for a couple of minutes (I blasted mine in the oven preheated as high as possible and it worked just fine). This pie keeps in the fridge for several days, but the crust begins to get soggy after the first day (see pic above).

Pie de Zapallo con Merengue

Para la masa:
1 1/4 tazas de harina (tipo 000)
1/2 cucharada de azúcar
1/2 cucharita de sal

130 g. (4.5 oz.) de mantequilla sin sal, muy fria y cortada en cubitos chiquitos
1/4 taza de agua muy fria

En un bol grande, mezcla la harina, azúcar y sal. Echale la mantequilla y utiliza los dedos para combinar la harina con la mantequilla hasta que parezca harina gruesa. A mi me gusta dejar algunos pedazos grandes de mantequilla; los apreto con los dedos para que estén mas delgados y los mezclo con la harina. Salpica la mezcla con 3 cucharadas de agua, entonces revuelve con un tenedor. La masa debería quedarse pegada a si misma al aplastarla entre los dedos (no quieres que la masa esté pegajosa o mojada). Si la masa está muy seca de a poquitos agregale más agua y mezcla bien. Junta toda la masa y las migas juntas y forma un disco. Envuelvelo en plástico y dejalo a reposar en la nevera por 1 hora.
Precalienta el horno a 190ºC. Estirar la masa y colocala en un molde de 23-25 cm. Chuzala con un tenedor por todas partes. Hornea durante 10-15 minutos, hasta que esté doradita por los bordes. Dejala enfriar.

Para el relleno:
3 yemas
280 g. (10 oz.) de pure de zapallo (hornealo, después vuelvelo un puré totalmente suave)
200 g. (7 oz.) de crema de leche
1/3 taza más 2 cucharadas de azúcar moscovado (o azúcar morena)
3 cucharadas de azúcar blanca
2 cucharitas de maizena (almidon de maiz)
1/4 cucharita de sal (llenita)
1/2 cucharita de canela
nuez moscada

Baja la temperature del horno a 160C. En una procesadora o licuadora, o en un bol con cuchara, bate todos los ingredientes hasta que la mezca esté totalmente suave y sin grumos. Echale a la masa ya fria y horneala durante 40-45 minutos, hasta que esté estable pero todavía tiembla un poco en el medio. Dejala enfriar y después metela a la nevera a enfriar bien un par de horas o por la noche. Haz el merengue cuando estés para servir el pie.

Para el merengue:
3 claras
pizquita de sal
3/4 taza de azúcar blanca

En un bol resistente al calor, bate las claras con la pizquita de sal para romperlas un poco. Sobre una olla con agua hirviendo, bate las claras con el azúcar hasta que todo el azúcar esté disuelto. Quita el bol de la olla y bate las claras hasta punto de nieve. Colocala sobre el pie ya frio y broncea el merengue metiendo el pie al horno ya muy caliente.

1 comment:

  1. this sounds awesome!! Love that I had anything to do with it at all!!