What is a Thanksgiving feast without pumpkin pie? Although I recently made a similar pie for Jan’s new brother, there is always room for improvement. I found real pumpkin for this one and I decided to stir in the crystallized ginger, instead if just sprinkling it on top.
Karen agrees with us that pie crusts are not really necessary. If it tastes like pumpkin pie, does it really matter if it comes out in neat wedges or scoops? You are going to smother it in whipped cream and gobble it down in moments.
Today I was able to make this recipe with fresh sugar pie pumpkins. Jan read an article that said that what is sold—in America—as canned “pumpkin” puree is usually butternut squash. If you cut up the pumpkin yourself, you can be sure that it is, in fact, pumpkin. Besides, you then also get to roast and eat the seeds.
Sugar pie pumpkins have smoother skins and are smaller and sweeter than the gourd pumpkins you use to carve Jack-o-laterns. While many recipes call for boiling, microwaving, or steaming the pumpkin, The best way to pre-cook the pumpkin is roasting—the dry heat and charring gives the pumpkin flesh a deeper and more complex flavor.
To top my pie, I decided that just plain whip cream was not enough for a Thanksgiving feast. A bit of Grand Marnier would complement the hint of orange marmalade in the pie. A perfect ending for a fantastic feast.
Karl’s Pumpkin Pie with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream
1 large Sugar pie pumpkin (enough to make 2½-3½ cups pumpkin puree)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
⅓+ cup dark brown sugar
1 cup half and half cream, separate uses
½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger, ground
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. white pepper, ground
5 cloves, ground to a powder
2 tsp. lemon juice
⅓ cup crystallized ginger, finely diced
¼ cup Karl’s Micro Orange Marmalade
2 cups whipped cream
2 Tbs. Grand Marnier liquor
1. Quarter the pumpkin(s) and scrape out the seeds.
Tip: Use one large or two small sugar pie pumpkins. Reserve the seeds for roasting.
2. Cut the quarters in half at the equator.
Tip: The half moon shape of the quarters put the pointed tips of the squash too close to the broiling element. By cutting them in half, the pieces lie flatter.
3. Rub the cut edges and insides of the pumpkin with one teaspoon of brown sugar.
Tip: You are not trying to “sugar” the flesh, just to aid the browning Maillard reaction.
4. Lay the pieces of pumpkin, cut side up, on a lipped baking tray. Broil, 4 inches from the heat, for 30-40 minutes, until the flesh is starting to pick up some browning.
Tip: If the pieces start to burn—rather than char—turn them skin side up and continue broiling them until fully tender.
5. Let the pumpkin cool and then scrap the flesh away from the skin. Puree until smooth.
Tip: This puree may be fairly wet. This is not a problem.
Note: You can put the pieces on a standing blender, but this rather over purees them and removes all texture. I found a potato masher and a few turns of a handheld blender gives me the consistency I like.
6. Melt the butter, over a low heat, in a heavy skillet. Continue to cook, whisking occasionally, until it is nut brown.
Tip: Do not heat the butter over a medium-high heat or the solids will separate from the oils and your caramel will not form a sauce. For this dish it is not critical, a broken sauce will taste the same as a well done one when it is mixed into the pumpkin.
7. When the butter is dark, but not burned, quickly whisk in the brown sugar.
8. Bring mixture to a low simmer and cook until the mixture smells caramelized and starts to darken.
9. Remove the skillet from the heat and drizzle in one half cup of the cream. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Tip: It is important that you let the butter and sugar cool slightly before you add the cream in SLOWLY. Too hot and the butter will break and not form a butterscotch sauce.
10. Let the butterscotch cool for 10 minutes and then stir in the vanilla.
11. Preheat oven to 400° F and Pam a large baking casserole.
Note: You to not want to fill your casserole dish to the rim. You will have about 5-6 cups of pie filling. You want at least half an inch of free space around the edge of the casserole after it has been filled.
12. In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, the rest of the cream and salt together.
13. Blend in the pumpkin puree, the spices, and lemon juice until smooth.
14. Whisk in the crystallized ginger and marmalade.
Tip: If you do not have, Karl’s marmalade on hand, strain the orange peel chunks out of some commercial marmalade. If you wish, you may mince the chunks finely and add them to the pie as well.
15. Fold the butterscotch into the pie mixture.
16. Pour the mixture into the casserole.
17. Bake on center rack of the oven for 1¼-½ hour, until a toothpick, inserted into the center of the pie, comes out clean.
Tip: Rotate the casserole 180 degrees half way through the cooking time, so that the pie cooks evenly
18. Cool the pie on a wire rack.
19. Whip the cream to a soft peak and then whip in the liquor.
20. Serve the pie warm or cold with the whipped cream on the side.