Pumpkin King Pumpkin Pie

Because making pie crust is freakin' HARD.
Because making pie crust is freakin’ HARD.

You’ve partied with Oogie Boogie Meringue Cookies. You’ve sipped tea and nibbled Nightmare Before Christmas Sugar Cookies with your pinky out. You guiltily crammed an entire Jack Skellington Whoopie Pie in your mouth (though you might have redeemed your social graces enough with this fandom tea, courtesy of CuppaGeek). You socialized with Sally’s Blueberry Scones.The time has finally come for Pumpkin King Pumpkin Pie.

So it has finally come down to this: Halloween Week. The final Nightmare Before Christmas tea party recipe. Today I present you with the king of all pies: Pumpkin King Pumpkin Pie! Did you think you would make it out of here without encountering pumpkin spice?! This recipe combines the ‘tried and true’ (my grandmother’s spicy pumpkin pie filling recipe) with the ‘fresh and innovative’ (a buttery, flaky pie crust recipe developed by a friend in culinary school). I must confess: This is the best pumpkin pie I have ever tasted. I do not say such things lightly. A couple of talking points before you read about me cursing at baking supplies:

First order of business: Have you voted for November’s Featured Recipe yet? You are eligible to vote once every 7 days and the poll will be running until November 1st at dawn. Make your vote count now.

Second order of business: This pie crust recipe was gifted to me by a good friend of mine, Luna. She’s absolutely fantastic and deserves full credit for getting me through this with minimal issues. She is also thus far the only person who will give me shit for weird culinary stuff I do and gives great feedback. Stay tuned for a quick interview with her. I promise it’s interesting and funny and she totally fits in here.

Ready? Let’s go.

Gamers, grab your mats:

PIE CRUST (makes two crusts):

Disclaimer: All of these ingredients must be AS COLD AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. I even put the butter, shortening, and vodka in the freezer for ~30 minutes before making.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vodka (I used Pinnacle Whipped (whipped cream flavored) Vodka. Why? I had it on hand and there was no way I was about to buy more vodka when we barely drink, period.)
Pie crust ingredients, minus the water.
Pie crust ingredients, minus the water.

SPICY PUMPKIN PIE FILLING (conveniently also makes two pies):

Another Disclaimer: This recipe makes one metric butt-ton of filling, and I’m even scaling it down. For the love of all that’s holy, make two 10″ pies.

  • 1 large can of unseasoned pumpkin
  • 1 `/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 can evaporated milk (Did you know you have to shake the can? Hilarity ensues.)
  • 2 cups milk

You will also need: Black decorating icing.

With special guest reflection in the refrigerator, Luna the dog.
With special guest reflection in the refrigerator, Luna the dog. +50 points if you can see the black dog on the black refrigerator. I know I can.

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl:

Oh, the joy of taking pictures of all white ingredients. >_> Yes, I jest.
Oh, the joy of taking pictures of all white ingredients. >_> Yes, I jest.

Rub in butter and shortening cubes quickly, with as little contact as possible. Make sure the fat doesn’t start softening. The end result should look like coarse cornmeal.

Butter cubes and... chopped shredded looking shortening? The stuff I used couldn't exactly be cut into cubes...
Butter cubes and… chopped shredded looking shortening? The stuff I used couldn’t exactly be cut into cubes…

If the mixture is lumpy, try rubbing the stuff between your palms gently and quickly. This should really only be a last-resort thing.

This is one of those 'trust me' kind of things.
This is one of those ‘trust me’ kind of things.

Mix water and vodka.

This stuff smells great and doubles as a great mixer with peach schnapps. But that's another story.
This stuff smells great and doubles as a great mixer with peach schnapps. But that’s another story.

Sprinkle water/vodka mixture over sand/whatever mixture slowly with a spoon.

The part when I thought things would really work out. You know what that means in my kitchen.
The part when I thought things would really work out. You know what that means in my kitchen.

Stir/fold mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon. It should form a dough that sticks together in one piece.

That came together rather quickly, actually.
That came together rather quickly, actually.

Divide dough into two balls and flatten into disks. Wrap in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for at least two hours. If you’re an overachiever, overnight is fine too.

My dough got pretty sticky at this point so I just whacked it into shape with my wooden spoon. If you managed to achieve this, add a little flour at the rolling stage.
My dough got pretty sticky at this point so I just whacked it into shape with my wooden spoon. If you managed to achieve this, add a little flour at the rolling stage.

When you’re ready to bake, dust work surface and dough lightly with flour.

Really, I should have used more flour.
Really, I should have used more flour.

Roll dough out as thick or thin as needed. You can pick up the dough by wrapping the dough around your rolling pin and slowly unrolling over your pan.

It's a problem if some jackass sets the thermostat to 75 degrees and your dough sticks to the table in retaliation.
It’s a problem if some jackass sets the thermostat to 75 degrees and your dough sticks to the table in retaliation.

Bonus stage: Shriek and curse wildly as your rolling pin unrolls the dough in midair and you catch the dough haphazardly over one arm. Shit.

Gently press down the dough to fit according to your pan. Cut off the edges by pressing dough against the edges of the pan.

Luna: Or just slam your chopping board on the thing.

Me: …Sounds like someone got angry once.

Luna: I wasn’t angry, just stressed out. 😄

No, wait! Stop! You're about to mess it all up!
No, wait! Stop! You’re about to mess it all up!

Now you can shape the pie edge however you want by pinching with your hands. I made the mistake of cutting the crust too close and it kinda shrunk into the pan. Dammit. I’ll do better with the next one, I promise. Poke holes in the base with a fork. I forgot this part but got lucky. Basic reading skills = 0, apparently. Double dammit.

Cut a piece of foil or parchment according to the base of your crust and place it on top. Fill the top with a handful or two of rice or dried beans.

NOTE: The dough should be ice cold before putting it in the oven or it will puff up. I tossed mine in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to be safe.

This looks like way too much in the picture.
This looks like way too much in the picture.

Bake crust at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove parchment and rice/filler and bake for an additional 5 minutes. The base should be dry and yellow-ey and the edges should be light brown.

Yeah. Look who messed up the edges. That's right. Me.
Yeah. Look who messed up the edges. That’s right. Me.

Right, filling time. Crank your oven up to 450 degrees F. Combine all dry ingredients in one medium bowl and beat eggs in another bowl.

Oh, the glory of spices and seasonings. Yessssss.
Oh, the glory of spices and seasonings. Yessssss.
I SAID, BASK IN THE GLORY.
I SAID, BASK IN THE GLORY.

In a gigantic bowl (preferably one that has a lid if you’re only making one pie at a time) combine pumpkin and evaporated milk:

This is the Doom Bowl.
This is the Doom Bowl.

Whisk eggs in until just combined:

Before whisking.
Before whisking.

Next dump in your dry ingredients and whisk well.

Burst of pumpkin-y orange color in 3... 2...
Burst of pumpkin-y orange color in 3… 2…

Pour in milk and stir/whisk/whatever until fully combined.

The original recipe calls for evaporated milk plus FOUR cups of milk. I was advised to reduce this to 2 1/2 cups. Use 2 cups. It will still be so much filling.
The original recipe calls for evaporated milk plus FOUR cups of milk. I was advised to reduce this to 2 1/2 cups. Use 2 cups. It will still be so much filling.

Pour filling into pie crust. Also, there’s this thing where you shouldn’t consume raw eggs. Well. Honey badger didn’t give a shit and sipped two spoonfuls of delightful filling from the bowl anyway. Honey badger regrets nothing.

I don't care about the crust; I am not backing down from this!
I don’t care about the crust; I am not backing down from this!

Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees F. After 15 minutes set oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Do not stick face in oven to sniff the wonderful smells coming out of the oven. You’ll probably burn your face and that’s kinda weird.

Pie! It's not ugly; it's rustic. Eff you.
Pie! It’s not ugly; it’s rustic. Eff you.

What’s with the dark edges, you may ask. Well, if we’re being transparent… I might have baked the pie crust ~5-7 minutes too long in the beginning stage (long story), and the crust shrinking into the pan (again, my fault) caused the filling touching the pan to get dark. I’m not going to say burnt because, really, it’s not. There’s this saying in baking:

“There’s no such thing as an ugly dessert, only rustic.”

LOVE MY STUPID, RUSTIC PIE.

When the pie cools, slap Jack’s face on it. I would recommend doing this about an hour before you plan on serving. Using black decorating icing with a #5 tip, do something like this:

Google
Google “Jack Skellington Face”. You’ll find plenty of reference material.

Fill in the eyes (it involves a bit of ‘scribbling’ with a toothpick), then make the stitches on the mouth. Switch to a large star tip and pipe star icing dots around the border. If you have white decorating icing or whipped cream you can accent the pie with that, too. You’re done!

Hey, did you know you can use retro-looking dish towels as staging? The More You Know!
Hey, did you know you can use retro-looking dish towels as staging? The More You Know!
There is a subliminal message hidden here. +100 points if you find it.
There is a subliminal message hidden here. +100 points if you find it.

Do you hate yourself for making the whole thing from scratch? Cut yourself a generous slice of pie and take a bite. Go on, I’ll wait.

Good, isn’t it? Best you’ve ever had, I’ll bet. There’s a reason for that…


The Mastermind Behind the Crust

Meet Luna! Not to be confused with my dog, but you'd be surprised how often that happens over Facebook.
Meet Luna! Not to be confused with my dog, but you’d be surprised how often that happens over Facebook.

SuS: Welcome to Skill Up Skillet! Tell the internet a little bit about yourself.

Luna: I’m Luna, Malaysian. Culinarian in training? I don’t know how to describe myself, not exactly a chef, not exactly a Food & Beverage manager either.

 SuS: How did we meet?

Luna: We met way way back when I was still a runt. We were fans of a website called MINDistortion, which had a lot of Flash animation and art. We met on his forum, along with others.

SuS:  Poor Manny (the site creator, Manuel Fallmann). Do you have a favorite video game? A favorite food?

Luna: I love games but I prefer watching other people play games than playing them myself. I don’t really have a favourite game and I love all food.

SuS: What do you want to get out of your culinary training?

Luna: I honestly don’t know. I’m at that point where I’m trying to make a decision on what to focus on. I major more on the management of food service… Restaurants, hotels, mass production, stuff like that. Hell, I can even work in a lab or hospital. The epitome of a Jack of all trades. If I lived any nearer I’d be your blog partner by now…


Hopefully I haven’t let Luna down too badly. And hopefully you enjoyed this post! What was your favorite Nightmare Before Christmas themed recipe?

Coming Up Next: Mississippi Quantum Pie from Fallout. Come see me at the Bridgewater Falls (Fairfield, OH) Gamestop for the midnight release of Fallout 4!

Cheers,

Leisel

Remember, cooking IRL doesn’t have to be a Feat of Strength!

Entry for #WeeklyChallenge for #FoodBloggers

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