Monday, November 24, 2014

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

I used to be so afraid of pies.  Not eating them, of course.  Who doesn’t love pie?  But making them—that was another story! 

What if I add too much water to the dough, and the crust is tough? What if I don’t add enough water, and it crumbles? What if I over-knead the dough, and it’s tough?  How much am I supposed to knead it?  I want to use butter, but everyone says pie dough made with butter isn’t as flaky…

It was enough to almost make me give up.  Almost.   

But then I realized…It’s just pie.  And so I got in the kitchen, and I practiced.  I made pies, and I got better. That’s really the only way to learn.  I used to be a bad pie maker, and now…I’m not. That feels like an accomplishment! 

Here are a few thoughts and tips about this recipe, and pie in general...

This pie is made with a whole wheat crust, which gives a boost of fiber to your dessert.  Besides the fiber, the whole wheat flour gives the crust a nutty, richer flavor.  If you use your favorite pie dough recipe instead of this one, just know that whole wheat flour will absorb more water than white flour.  Just keep adding the water until the dough sticks together.    

Use butter.  Or coconut oil, if you need a vegan pie.  But shortening has hydrogenated oil, which is just bad news for your heart.  And butter makes a great-tasting pie crust.  Grate your butter to make it very quick and easy to work into the flour.

I played with the milk to egg ration for this pie, creating a rich-tasting custard, but without the heavy whipping cream or evaporated milk found in most recipes. 

Bourbon! No explanation necessary.  Except, yum.

I reduced the total amount of sugar from most pumpkin pie recipes, keeping it just sweet enough to still feel like dessert.  I also used coconut sugar (also called coconut palm sugar) to sweeten this pie, but you could substitute equal amounts of brown sugar for the coconut sugar.  While no sugar should be considered a health food, coconut sugar does have some appealing properties for when sugar is appropriate.  Coconut sugar is relatively unprocessed, and it contains trace amounts of nutrients like zinc and iron, and inulin, a kind of fiber and prebiotic.  Some studies suggest coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index, which means it raises your blood sugar more slowly.  It also has a great molasses flavor. 

Lastly, pumpkin!  McKenzie has already been extolling the virtues of pumpkin here and here

I hope you enjoy a slice of this pie, savoring every single bite, with someone you love!

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

Makes 2 pies

2 pre-baked whole wheat pie crusts, see instructions below
2 - 15 ounce cans pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
6 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup bourbon
1 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, whole eggs, egg yolks, milk and bourbon.  Whisk well to combine.  In another bowl, whisk together the sugar and all of the spices.  Sift the sugar into the pumpkin mix to eliminate any lumps.  

Divide the mixture between the two pie crusts.  Bake the pie until just set, about 1 hour.  It will still be slightly wobbly in the middle, but it will set as it cools.  Let the pie cool on a wire rack.  It will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Whole Wheat Pastry Dough

Makes dough for 2 single-crust pies

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, very cold
2/3 cup - 1 cup ice water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Grate the butter on a box grater or cut the butter into very small pieces and add to the flour, tossing to coat all the pieces in flour.  Using a pastry cutter, a fork or your fingertips, quickly work the butter into the flour mixture until most of the butter pieces are the size of peas or smaller.  This is very fast if you grate the butter.

Add the water, starting with 2/3 cup and adding more only if needed.  Whole wheat flour can vary in how much water it absolves.  The dough is ready when you pinch in together and it holds.  It will still seem shaggy.  Turn the dough out onto a pastry cloth or parchment paper and gently push it together until it holds in a ball.  Take the dough and turn it over on itself (knead) just a few times.  Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to rest for at least half an hour and up to 5 days. 

Pre-bake the pie crust before making the pumpkin pie.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out the pie dough and line two pie pans with the dough.  Crimp the edges.  Place a piece of parchment paper over the pie dough.  Fill the center of the pie pan with pie weights or dried beans.  Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the dough is dry but still pale in color.  Remove from the oven and let cool while you make the filling.

1 comment:

  1. Pastry dough is soooo hard for me, probably why I rarely to never make pies... love the idea of grating the butter though!