Her First Pumpkin Pie
She had never tasted pumpkin pie in more than half a century in this world. I felt compelled to correct that situation.
There are many things that I have not done in my life. Some just never gotten to, some deliberately overlooked, some avoided with great relish. I cannot however imagine never having had the taste of a lovely pumpkin pie. For her, the opportunity just never seemed to have been there at the right time. In fact, her mother had always told her that she didn’t like pumpkin.
I went to the store to pick up a few things for dinner and saw a small pumpkin just right for a fresh fall pie. In the basket it went, along with the other things on my mental list.
Back at home, the small, dark orange squash sat on the counter for a few days as I pondered just what to do with it this time. One afternoon, I decided it was time make that pie.
A small knife took out the stem and a much larger one helped me cut the pumpkin in half so I could scoop out the seeds and stringy insides. I separated the seeds and set them aside to toast later. Although I had usually steamed the pumpkin for pie, baking was the choice this time. Cut side down, into the oven it went. After 45 minutes or so, the skin had wrinkled and darkened. A fork poked easily through the formerly tough skin. After some time cooling on the counter, I peeled off the skin and grated some fresh ginger into the meat and blended with a stick mixer until fairly smooth.
It had been some time since I had made a pumpkin pie so I referred to a recipe found online. I think it was this one: https://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/homemadepumpkinpie.php Hmm, brown sugar-check, cinnamon-check, ginger ground-I have fresh, clove-whole not ground, all spice-none, eggs-check, evaporated milk-1 can of sweetened but recipe called for more, heavy cream to extend the evaporated milk-check. I think this will all just do.
I made a batch of pastry dough and set it in the fridge to firm up as I made dinner. After dinner I washed the pile of dishes and assorted pots and pans to make room so the dough could be rolled out. I mixed the dry ingredients of the pie and the wet in another bowl. I have whole cloves so I use a mortar and pestle to prepare the spice for the pie.
Oh no, the recipe calls for 3 cups of pumpkin “glop” and I only have 2. Luckily for me, I have a sweet potato handy so I cut it up and boil it to get just the 1 cup I need to make my pie. Mix the eggs, evaporated milk and cream with my sweet potato/pumpkin meat and roll out my crust. Into the pie pan it goes. A bit small, I do not have enough room on my board for a bigger crust but it will also just have to do.
Preparation complete, I pour the filling into the pie shell and slide it into the hot oven. It bakes for fifteen minutes at four hundred and twenty and then down to three hundred and fifty degrees for another 45 minutes to an hour until done. After the 45 minutes is up, I check the center of the pie with a butter knife that comes out almost clean. Back in for another 5 minutes and out on the rack to cool. It is hard to just look at that pie sitting there, all alone, and not cut it immediately. My mouth salivates at the smell filling the house. Cinnamon and clove fumes waft through the air, intoxicating almost. I want to eat this pie!
I manage to hold off for about 30 minutes and can wait no more. I make the first cut. The custard seems to have set and the crust is holding. Another cut, and yet another as I get two slices ready for the plates. Carefully I try to get the first slice out of the pie pan without breaking the crust. I hope the pie is firm and baked enough to hold together in a wonderful tight wedge of deliciousness.
Success, the slice holds together nicely and sits pretty on the plate. I present my love (alas, we later parted) with my love on a plate, her first pumpkin pie. I watch her face as she takes the first bite, waiting for that first reaction. The sounds that she makes let me know, it is good, really good. Pie