I love the World Food aisle at Tesco – it is quite the treasure trove for a nutritionist and recipe developer. It is often there that I find my most unusual ingredients such as chickpea flour and coconut oil for example, but also bigger bags of ground almond and rice flour, for my gluten-free baking, much cheaper than anything I would find at the baking aisle. The same goes for bags of nuts, herbs and spices (again, much cheaper than buying those little glass jars.)
Mainly, the food you can find in the World Food section tends to be Asian or Indian, but from time to time, the shop must receive a different kind of stock and all of a sudden, you get the pleasant surprise of finding a few shelves of Caribbean foodstuff. The potential for foodie discoveries is never-ending! J
So, imagine my excitement (and my son’s) when we found a few shelves of American products on Friday. I shall not tell a lie, most of the stuff was incredibly unhealthy or ridiculously expensive (£7 for a box of Lucky Charms cereals?! I still haven’t recovered from that one) and I still can’t get the image of marshmallows bigger and thicker than hockey pucks out of my mind.
However, I could not resist buying a couple of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. I discovered them when I went to Chicago 22 years ago during a student exchange (no, I did not wince with pain as I typed 22! J) When I was staying in Chicago, my lovely host family gave me a pretty basket full of chocolate goodies for Easter; amongst said goodies were Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and they were oh so delicious! It was actually in Chicago that I discovered peanut butter full-stop, and to this day, I still enjoy a peanut butter and jam sandwich from time to time J
But the one thing I was most excited to find in that little US corner of the World Food section was pumpkin puree in a tin. I
love adore(!) pumpkin and always feel sad that you can only find it in the shops around Halloween time. Which means that I buy about three of them in one go before they disappear from the shops, and we end up eating all things pumpkin for a week or so… We have nicknamed this time of year “Pumpkin Madness Week.”
At the sight of pumpkin puree, the words “pumpkin pie” came to my mind immediately and, of course, I could not resist buying a tin. I’m actually thinking of going back to Tesco to see if they have any tins left and make a little stock of them for the next few months. And, if a few Reese’s Peanut Butter cups find their way in my shopping basket at the same time… Well, I shan’t feel too bad about it J
Please note: you do not have to use tinned pumpkin puree for this recipe; you can as easily make your own pumpkin puree. Dice your pumpkin and steam it until it is fork-tender; then, puree it in your food processor or using an immersion blender. However, this results in a very watery puree, which would make it very difficult for your pumpkin filling to set. I would recommend squeezing the excess water out of the pumpkin puree by placing it in a clean kitchen towel and simply wringing the water out. Once you end up with a “drier” puree, you are ready to use it for this recipe.
Sweet pastry dough
(for the basic sweet pastry dough recipe, please follow this link to my previous blog on this topic:
2 large eggs
150g golden caster sugar
½ tsp sea salt
1.5tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground clove
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
250ml evaporated milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
425g pumpkin puree
Preheat your oven at 200C/180C fan.
On a well-floured surface, roll out the pastry dough and line a pie dish (the deeper it is, the better.) Pop the pie dish back into the fridge to chill the dough whilst you prepare the pumpkin filling.
In large mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, salt, spices and pumpkin puree using a hand whisk (but do not beat too much air into the mixture; you do not want it to rise.)
Then, blind bake your pastry dough. In order to do this, first take the pie dish out of the fridge and dock the dough (poke little holes all over the surface of the dough with a fork; this allows the steam to escape and stops your dough from rising.) Then, cover the dough with one layer of baking parchment and one layer of foil (be careful to properly cover the edge of your dough to protect it from the heat; this is a sugary pastry dough and it therefore has a higher tendency to burn.) Fill the lined pastry case with baking beans (ceramic or otherwise; their weight will further prevent your dough from rising) and bake your pastry shell for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, take your pastry shell out of the oven and turn your oven down to 170C/150C fan. Remove the baking beans, foil and baking parchment. Pour your pumpkin mixture in the pastry shell and place back in the oven. Bake for a further 35-40 minutes until the pumpkin mixture is set (a cake tester inserted in the centre should come out clean.)
If the edge of your pastry starts to burn during baking, protect it with a double layer of foil, being careful for the foil not to touch the surface of the pumpkin mixture.
Once baked, leave your pumpkin pie to cool for at least 20-30 minutes before you try to slice it (otherwise it will fall apart.) It can then be served with a garnish of toasted pumpkin seeds, or even a generous dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.