Week 7: it might be square but it’s still a pumpkin pie

Last weekend I escaped the city and went up north to a friend’s cottage. I had my first feelings of fall nostalgia, so I decided to nurture them with a pumpkin pie. Wanting to keep things simple (no pie crust fuss + no big mess = more time for reading under a blanket in front of the fire), I decided to go with a no-bake pumpkin filling courtesy of Martha.

I was not happy that the “easy” graham crust was actually super annoying. For whatever reason it wouldn’t seem to stick to anything but my fingers and there was nowhere near enough of it (plus I was using a smaller pan than the suggested size so technically I should have had more than I wanted). After a whole lot of finickity pressing and caressing and a little cursing, I had a crust. A thin crust. I recommend making more crust mix than is suggested below. It ain’t enough folks, I’m telling you. The filling was as easy as promised. I like my pumpkin pie a little more assertively spiced, so I upped the spices a little and I think I could have added more. The texture of the filling is lovely and silky and rich – and it’s deep, which makes for a more decadent experience than I’ve had with pumpkin pie in the past. I wanted to take a picture of the whole thing in all of its rebellious squareness smothered in whipped cream, but then I wouldn’t have been able to bring home the leftovers afterwards. I discovered later that this pie doesn’t keep very well. The crust gets soggy and uninteresting and then what with all of the filling, you just feel like you’re eating a slice of pumpkin pudding.

Crust (remember this doesn’t make enough, so just play with it)
16 graham crackers
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Filling
1 tbsp unflavoured gelatin powder
1/4 cup ice water
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg
3/4 tsp coarse salt
29 oz can pumpkin puree
12 oz can evaporated milk

Topping
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
freshly grated nutmeg

1. Crust: Preheat the oven to 350º. Process the dry ingredients for the crust and then add the butter, mixing to combine. Press it into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch square tray. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Bake until the crust is deep golden, about 15 minutes, and let cool completely.

2. Filling: Sprinkle the gelatin over the ice water and let it stand for 5 minutes. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, spices, and salt until smooth over medium speed. Add the pumpkin and beat. Bring the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the softened gelatin and stir until it is dissolved. Pour the milk mixture into the pumpkin mixture and whisk until it is completely smooth. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and chill until it is set, about 4 hours.

3. Topping: Whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Dollop on top of the pie and grate nutmeg over.

No pie music this week. Imagine instead the sound of crickets and woodpeckers.

Blue ribbon for creamiest pudding-like pumpkin filling

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