Autumn’s Harvest in a Pie Crust
Come autumn, nothing inspires the home baker more than a round, bright orange pumpkin waiting to be turned into a pie. Easier said than done. Preparing a pumpkin is long, hard work and though the result is incomparable, you may not have the time or patience.
Canned pumpkin is the obvious alternative. No worries…few people can tell the difference between a pie made from fresh pumpkin or canned. Not so, however, with a pie crust. Like breadmaking, there is an art to pie crust making and what’s more, many a pie baker prides herself in using “Grandma’s recipe” passed down through the generations. Like Grandma, however, never forget the secret ingredient—L O V E.
This recipe is from Julia Child, America’s most famous home chef, cooking teacher, author, and culinary television personality who did not even know how to chop an onion until she was in her 50s and became consumed with cooking. Her debut book—and still, one of the best-selling and greatest of all cookbooks, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, written with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle—launched her career, and two years later, the first of her long-running television programs, The French Chef. Julia Child was known for her humor, honesty, and determination that cooking can be both delicious and fun. Here she uses store-bought pie shells and canned pumpkin puree. Bon Appetit!
- 2 unbaked 9-inch pie shells
- 4 eggs
- 2 (15 oz) cans pumpkin puree
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 3 tablespoons bourbon or dark rum, optional
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3 teaspoons ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup milk, plus more as needed
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and position the rack in the center of the oven.
- Separate the eggs and set them aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, 2 cups of sugars, 1 teaspoon of salt, molasses, bourbon, or rum (if using), cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, egg yolks, cream, and milk until smooth. If the mixture is too stiff, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time, until it resembles a soft puree.
- In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add a pinch of salt, then gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, beating until shiny peaks form.
- Add a fourth of the whites to the pumpkin mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the rest of the whites.
- Spoon filling into shells, filling just below the rim of the pan. Bake until the crust starts to turn golden, 10-15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 375°F and bake until a tester inserted into the filling 2-inches from the crust comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. If the crust starts to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.
- Turn oven off but leave door ajar and let pies sit as the oven cools, 20-30 minutes. (This helps the filling from becoming watery.) Serve warm or chilled. Enjoy!
Note: Can wrap pies tightly in plastic wrap and chill for up to two days.