~ Recipe and story by Chef & Food Stylist, Molly Shuster. Photography by me.
Once a month this Upper East Side chef and food stylist Molly Shuster collaborates with an Upper West Side photographer Jamie Beck to bring our readers a homemade recipe using local farmer’s market seasonal ingredients, the kind of fundamentals our grandmothers lived by in the kitchen. We do hope you’ll stop by once a month and see what’s cooking!
Happy Kitchen & Happy Thanksgiving!
Love, Molly & Jamie
November~ Pumpkin Pie
From the Chef:
The first time I made a pie I was about three. It consisted of sand, leaves, twigs and a few of those little brown bugs that curl up into a ball when you touch them. My first edible pie came not too long after that. Out of the sandbox and in to the kitchen- my dad began teaching my brother and I how to make pies. I remember peeking up over the counter to watch my dad cut shortening in to flour, amazed as I watched the rough, lumpy dough transform into a smooth, thin crust. For us, seasons were marked with the change of filling: blueberry in the summer, apple in the fall and pumpkin in the winter. Now this pumpkin pie wasn’t your run-of-the-mill pie, but authentic pumpkin pie made with fresh pumpkin and a flakey, homemade crust. A perennial favorite and fixture at the Shuster family holiday table, this pie has stood the test of time. My role in the process may have changed over the years, but my appetite has remained steady. Along with my dad’s mushroom gravy, you can be sure this pie will be gracing our table this holiday season.
Now I know what you’re thinking, using fresh pumpkin sounds like a lot of work! But it actually requires very little effort. It is just a matter of roasting the pumpkin, pureeing the flesh and allowing the excess liquid to drain.
Growing up, we always made our pies with the standard jack-o-lantern pumpkins that flood the grocery stores and supermarkets during the fall season. However, with the rise of green markets heirloom varieties of winter squash have become widely available and many of these make for an even tastier pie. The Blue Hubbard, Blue Ballet and Pink Banana are just a few to look out for on your next trip to the farmer’s market (for more information check out Martha Stewart’s Glossary of Squashes and Gourds at www.marthastewart.com).
November’s Pumpkin Pie:
To Roast Pumpkin:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the pumpkin to get rid of any dirt or debris. Halve lengthwise and scoop out the seeds (which I highly recommend you save and roast). Place the pumpkin halves skin side up on a greased baking sheet place and roast in the oven for about 50 minutes, or until tender.
When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and discard the skins. Grab the pumpkin a handful at a time and squeeze to remove excess liquid. Place the flesh in a food processor or blender and process until completely smooth. Line a colander with paper towel. Pour the processed pumpkin in to the colander and place the colander in a large bowl. Let the pumpkin drain in the refrigerator overnight. (This may be done a couple of days in advance and freezes very well).
*All pumpkins and winter squash may be prepared in this manner, regardless of the variety. Depending on the size of the pumpkin, cooking times will vary.
** To roast pumpkin seeds, simply separate the seeds from the stringy flesh and spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Stir the seeds every 5 minutes to help them bake evenly.
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Combine the flour and salt in a food processor or mixer. Drop the shortening in to the flour, mixing until the shortening has been cut into 1/3 inch pieces. Add the butter and mix until the dough looks like coarse sand. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, mixing just until a ball of dough begins to form. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead briefly to create a smooth ball and shape into a flat disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator, at least 30 minutes or up to two days.
Once the dough has chilled, cut the disc in half and place the extra piece back in the refrigerator. Shape the dough into a smooth round and using a rolling pin, shape into a large, thin circle about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Gently lift the dough on to the rolling pin and carefully place the dough in a 9” glass or ceramic pie plate. Trim the edges to create an even crust. Prick the bottom of the pan with a fork.
Roll out the remaining piece of dough and using cookie cutters, cut the dough into decorative shapes. Gently place the cut-outs around the crust.
Cut a large piece of tin foil into a disc. Carefully place the tin foil on to the bottom of the pie crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Carefully, remove the tin foil and bake the crust for another 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack and let cool.
1.5 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/5 cups evaporated milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Pour the pumpkin mixture in to a prepared 9” glass or ceramic pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 300 degrees and bake for another 45-50 minutes. Place on a wire rack and let cool completely. Delicious with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
An ongoing collaboration, please do see more recipes from our series!