Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pumpkin Pie (Recipe Review)

I know it's a little late to be posting this since holidays have long past. But with all the craziness of the holidays, I haven't had time to do this post. But this was definitely one that I had wanted to blog about.

I've never been a huge fan of pumpkin pie. So why would I definitely want to blog about it? Granted that I've always had the premade frozen crust with the filling made from the gloppy, orange mass from a can. They were decent, especially with a mound of whipped cream on them but it wasn't a necessity for me at Thanksgiving, unlike the Mister.

I've been so uninspired by pumpkin pies of the past that I've relegated making of these pies to my MIL. But with my heightened enthusiasm this past Thanksgiving, I decided to try Cook's Illustrated "best" pumpkin pie. What hooked me was their dissatisfaction of the run-of-the-mill pies (exactly how I felt) and how they used candied yams from a can to make the best pie ever. Sounded very promising.

Due to copyright issues, I'm only going to review the recipe. If you're still intrigued to try it after reading this, send me an email and I'll share it with you. Let me warn you though, this recipe requires the cooked mixture to be strained through a fine-mesh strainer and it was a major pain in the ass. But this pie knocked my socks, I mean slippas off! No kidding. It was so good I didn't need any whipped cream on it. The pie crust was fantastic, once I figure out that the amount of water/vodka had to be adjusted (not mentioned in the recipe) to get the perfect consistency and to churn out a perfect crust. Yes, I would put myself through straining hell again to have this pie.

What made the difference was that the recipe uses 1 15-oz drained candied yams in conjunction with 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree. And the mixture was precooked before baking. Lots of steps. Oh, and did I mention it was a pain in the ass to make? I did? Hmmm....

The biggest problem with the recipe was straining the cooked mixture which did not want to go through the fine-mesh strainer without a considerable amount of force from me and my spatula. I even tried to puree it in a food processor, hoping it would help. Alas, it did not. After 20 minutes of working the mixture and my forearm burning from the workout, finally done. I don't recommend skipping this part because straining is a key component of this recipe. It is what provides the silky and smooth characteristics that makes this pie so wonderful. Otherwise, it would be, well, like any other run-of-the-mill pies. Can't forgo the straining, painful as it is.

The other thing is that when baking, the filling looked to be undercooked, maybe too soft. You can see in the picture above where I kept testing the top of the pie. But I did pull out the pie according to the recipe and after cooling, the filling firmed up, although still very soft and unlike other conventional pies. But that was the beauty of this pie. The silky texture that melted in your mouth along with the buttery flavor of the perfect flaky tender crust. The precooking brought out all the flavors of the yams and pumpkin and fills your senses with aromatic nutmeg and whatnots. It was beyond words for me and the family. Indeed my toes were wiggling with every bite.

My MIL said (several times) it was the best pumpkin pie she's ever had but she would never (emphasizing the never) go through the trouble to make this pie. I don't blame her and perhaps she would think I'm crazy to ever make this pie again. But then she doesn't spend her free time blogging about food either. No, we're 2 different creatures and in some deep not-so obscure subdural way, it gives me comfort knowing the Mister didn't marry a girl just like Mom.

No comments: