Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Has Arrived?

Many of you know I love, love, love fall...pumpkins, apples, changing leaves, pie and did I mention PIE? The first week of fall was about 100 million degrees. Not the typical weather one may have in mind for the first day of fall. We are talking Nor-Cal, so you never know. My kids didn't care about the sweltering heat and thoughts of cool swimming pools. They wanted pie, pumpkin pie to be specific. So to begin the fall season, like always, being pregnant (coincidentally again) in 100 degree weather, I made two pumpkin pies. My kitchen was hot as I par-baked my buttery crusts, but who cares? We would have pie for dinner...I mean dessert. As I whipped together my favorite Martha Stewart recipe, with my own twist, the kids quietly studied at the table (well not that quietly as they wanted pie). As the pies baked, we painted watercolors of a pumpkin patch and am quite impressed with their works of art. After church that evening, we raced home to whip up real whipped cream to dollop on our pie...a little heavy cream, some vanilla, powdered sugar...lick the beaters. You know the kind usually made just on Thanksgiving Day? As we ate our pie, we opened the back door to let the cool air filter in, to get the full fall experience. Too bad it was still close to 90 degrees!

So...I added my leaf decorations on the rim of the pie. Well only half of the pie as I didn't make an extra crust for all my pretty, sugar coated leaves. Didn't want the extra fat so close to the holiday season!

You can't tell but Big Sissa added her own Jack-O-Lantern touches to her pumpkins.

Bro had to add his own touches too. Some green vines on the ground for future pumpkins.

I am quite impressed with B's painting. Art is usually not his thing and the majority of the time he was sweating from coming in and out of the backyard on this hot fall day.

Here is the pumpkin pie recipe from Martha Stewart...
Makes two 10-inch pies

1 sugar pumpkin (about 4 pounds), halved, or 3 cups solid-pack canned pumpkin (not pumpkin-pie filling)

1 1/2 recipes Pate Brisee, divide dough into 3 disks

All-purpose flour, for dusting

7 large eggs

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar ( I use dark)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (2 t. for me)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups evaporated milk (for those of you who want creamy pie, you can exchange the evaporated milk for cream but it is not a 1:1 ratio...I'll practice and get back to you)

Whipped cream, for serving


1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If using fresh pumpkin, roast it, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet until soft, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely. (Roasted pumpkin can be refrigerated, in an airtight container, overnight.) Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

2.Reserve 1 disk of dough for making leaf decorations. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out remaining disks into 14-inch rounds. Fit rounds into two 10-inch pie plates; trim edges, leaving 1/2-inch overhangs. Fold edges under, and press to seal. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

3.Roll out reserved disk to a 1/8-inch thickness. Transfer to a baking sheet, and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Using a small (about 1 inch) leaf-shape cookie cutter or a paring knife, cut leaves from dough. Freeze until cold, about 15 minutes.

4.Brush edges of pie shells with a damp pastry brush; arrange leaves around edges, pressing to adhere. Whisk 1 egg and cream in a small bowl. Brush leaves with egg wash. Cut 2 large circles of parchment; fit into pie shells, extending above edges. Fill with pie weights or dried beans.

5.Bake pie shells 15 minutes. Remove weights and parchment; bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Cool completely on wire racks.

6.If using fresh pumpkin, discard seeds. Scoop out flesh, using a large spoon, into a food processor. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Measure out 3 cups, and transfer pumpkin to a large bowl (reserve any remaining for another use; if using canned pumpkin, add that to the bowl instead). Add brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, remaining 6 eggs, and evaporated milk; whisk until combined.

7.Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Place pie shells on rimmed baking sheets. Divide pumpkin mixture evenly between shells. Bake until all but centers are set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let pies cool completely on wire racks. Cut into wedges, and serve with whipped cream.

.Pate Brisee (That's crust for the non-French Speakers)

Makes enough for 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust pies

If you are wanting to decorate the entire rim of your pie crust, you will need to make 1 1/2 batches of pate brisee
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 T sugar for crust (this is my own addition)

1/3 c. course sugar for decorating the leaves around the pie

1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup ice water


1.Pulse flour and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter, cut into small pieces, and pulse until mixture forms coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds.

2.With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream until dough just holds together without being wet or sticky, no longer than 30 seconds.

3.Divide dough in half; flatten and shape into disks, and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Dough can be frozen up to 1 month; thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.



  1. Great artwork!! Did your kids whip those out of their brains or did they have a template to follow? If there are instructions, please share :)
    I also LOVE fall! We are gluten free right now (I feel 100% better w/out wheat and I'm doing a little "test" to see if any of the kiddos are sensitive) so making pumpkin pie is so easy right now - no crust!! It's not as pretty and I do miss the crust a little, but it still gives us that wonderful pumpkin satisfaction :):):)
    Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  2. Have you made your own GF Crust? Bob's Red Mill has some great flour blends for different baking needs. The kids and I just painted step by step, starting with the horizon and shading the sky and ground. After that dried, we added the pumpkin patch details.