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Monday, November 29, 2010

Pumpkin Pie with Nutmeg Infused Crème Fraîche

It's that time of year again.  Actually, the height of the pumpkin season has probably come and gone but here are a few of the recipes I tried this year.  All in all they were very well received with a big honorable mention going to the Pumpkin Soufflé.  My daughters asked me to make it over and over again which was a pleasure because it is so simple.

Here is the classic pumpkin pie.  Dot the infused crème fraîche on the filling and then drag a toothpick through it to create a heart shape before baking.  You can do better than this one by making the dots more regular in shape and following a pattern.  

Also, try to use a pie dish with a removable base so that you can easily remove the whole pie to put on a stand - this looks very nice and is easier to cut.

You will need: for an 11'' (28 cm) pie plate with removable base

For the infused crème fraîche:
  • 1/2 (120 ml) cup of crème fraîche, or heavy cream
  • 1 (15g) tblsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
    1. Heat the crème fraîche, sugar and nutmeg gently on low heat for about 5 minutes;
    2. Place in fridge to cool until ready to use.

    For the pastry (pâte sablée sucrée - French sweet tart crust):
    • 1 3/4 cup (250 g) of white all purpose flour
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 cup of butter (125g) at room temperature
    • 1 pinch of salt
    • 1/4 cup of sugar
    • pinch of powdered vanilla if you have it (don't worry if you don't)
    1. Place the flour, salt, sugar and powdered vanilla in a large bowl and mix;
    2. Add the butter in small pieces and use your fingers to blend into the flour.  Lift the mixture in between your finger and then rub together as if you were trying to warm your hands.  This is called "sabler''.  It will add air and lightness to your crust;
    3. Add the egg and mix together with a fork; 
    4. Mix just until dough comes together.  Knead it once or twice only.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 1/2 hour (dough must always rest to relax the gluten and make it easier to work with);
    5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and fit into your pie plate. This dough is crumbly so you can press it directly into the pie plate with your fingers.  Refrigerate until you are ready to use. 
    6. Refrigerating any crust before baking will prevent it from shrinking too much during baking.

    For the Pumpkin Pie:
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
    • 2 cups (425 g) of pumpkin purée
    • 1/4 cup (50 g) of white sugar
    • 1/2 cup (110 g)  of light brown sugar
    • 1 tsp each of ginger, nutmeg and ground cloves 
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
    1. Heat oven to 350°F (170°C);
    2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and add the cream.  Blend well and add the pumpkin purée, the sugars, spices and salt.  Blend well and put into your refrigerated dough;
    3. If you have a squeeze bottle, place the nutmeg crème fraîche in it and use to dot the top of the pie.  You can also make a spiral.  Drag a toothpick through the crème fraîche to make a nice design on the pie; 
    4. Bake for about 1/2 hour or until centre of pie is firm.
    5. You can whip the remaining nutmeg crème fraîche to serve with the pie or decorate the plate.  Think about a line of cinnamon on which you have placed dots of crème fraîche beside the slice of pie.  Or a dollop of whipped crème fraîche with a piece of candied ginger cut in very small pieces on top and a dusting of cinnamon .

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