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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Cafe Pasqual's Pumpkin Pie... sort of


Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite foods in the world, especially cold for breakfast.  It is not uncommon for me to consume a whole pie by myself in two days.  For this reason, though, I tend to cut back on the sugar and the cream -- when you're putting away that much pie, you need to take it easy.

My all time favorite pumpkin pie was from New Frontiers, a small, organic grocery store.  When they were purchased by Whole Foods, we were told WF would keep the old recipes.  And they did, for a while.  But when I went the next Thanksgiving to get a slice of this seasonal pie, it wasn't available.  And now, I guess, that recipe is lost forever.

My second favorite pumpkin pie is from Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but a slice of that will set you back $12.


The two are very similar in that they are very dense and not very sweet.  I've always wondered how they get that dense texture.  I thought perhaps the pumpkin puree was cooked down a bit.  Cafe Pasqual's has a cookbook out, and they have a recipe for pumpkin pie in it, so I gave it a try. 

This is good, but it's not what they serve in the restaurant.  For one, it's considerably more sweet.  And there was a lot of liquid in it -- not that dense, thick texture I love.  I guess they're not giving away their secrets.

Here's what I used:

1 prebaked whole wheat pie crust , fitted into a 9.5-inch* pie dish (recipe below)
4 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree, 100% pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4  teaspoon ground clove
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 scant teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2  teaspoon fine sea salt
1 scant teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

Prebake the pie crust and cool crust completely. While crust is cooling, preheat oven to 400 degrees and begin to prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a wire whisk.  Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine.  Next mix in the maple syrup and molasses, followed by the sour cream, spices, salt, vanilla extract and finally the heavy cream, mixing with a whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour mixture into baked pie shell crust and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 45-50 minutes, until center is almost set and a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  If the crust edges are browning too quickly, fit a ring of foil around the rim. Let pie cool completely on a rack before serving.   Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream



Whole Wheat Pie Crust (for 1 crust pie)

1¼ cup whole wheat flour (use pastry flour if desired)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2 cubes
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into roughly 1/2-inch cubes
3-4 tablespoons ice water
1 egg
1 tablespoon of water

In large bowl, mix flour, sugar and salt.  Add cold butter and shortening cubes to flour mixture and, with a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut in fat until mixture forms clumps about the size of tiny peas (clumps will be uneven.)  Quickly sprinkle ice water 1 tablespoon at a time over all of the flour mixture, tossing lightly with a spoon until you can form the dough into a ball.  (Don’t overwork dough.)  Flatten the ball into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest refrigerated for an hour or longer. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Take the pie disk out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften a bit.  Roll into a 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick.  Fit dough into the bottom of the pie dish and dedecoratively crimp edges.  Line the shell with a piece of crumpled parchment paper or foil, then fill the pie shell with a layer of dried beans or other pie weights. Bake for about 15 minutes or just until crust starts to brown. While crust is baking, in small bowl whisk together the egg and tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Remove crust from the oven, take pie weights out and brush the egg wash mixture all over crust (this will seal the crust preventing wet filling from making it soggy.)  Bake for another 8-10 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

*The mix fit perfectly in a 9.5-inch pie pan that was 1.5 inches deep.



Conclusion:  This was a little too sweet for my taste, but it's fine if you're having just one piece for dessert.  The sweetness was very tolerable, not candy-like -- I suppose because it came from the maple syrup.  It also had a strong ginger taste, which at first I thought was too strong, but the next day thought it was okay.  I would, however, like to try it again with the Libby's (my third favorite pie) spice mix and perhaps only 2 teaspoons of ginger.

Recipe:   David's Perfect Pumpkin Pie via Cooking with Cafe Pasqual's: Recipes from Santa Fe's Renowned Corner Cafe with reference to these adaptions by Jessica Collins.

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