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Jeff Houck

The Tampa Tribune’s food writer since 2005, Jeff Houck covers the way people live through their food. He also hosts the Table Conversations food podcast and believes that everything crunchy is good.

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Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten’s Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Recipe [More Food Should Have Rum In It]

Posted Nov 21, 2012 by Jeff Houck

Updated Nov 21, 2012 at 07:14 AM

Ultimate Pumpkin Pie


I have a theory.

When you eat something so delicious that you ask the cook to give you a copy of the recipe, you’re not really requesting directions on how to make food. You’re really asking for how you can make someone else as happy as you are in the easiest possible way.

Like I said, it’s just a theory.

It’s one of the reasons I enjoy Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa” cookbooks and TV shows. Her food not only impresses with its elegant simplicity, she makes sure her recipes are easy to accomplish, no matter the level of cooking expertise.

I also like that Garten keeps trying new ways to make old standards. In her new book, “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof,” (Clarkson Potter, $35), she takes on the classic holiday dessert, the pumpkin pie.

“Pumpkin pie can be boring and dense, so I set out to make a better pumpkin pie,” she writes. “Dark rum and grated orange zest are my secret ingredients.”

See what I mean? Small things make a big difference.

As long as you’re putting rum in the pie, you might as well put in some homemade rum whipped cream. That helps a bunch. Heck, rum whipped cream makes just about everything taste better. (Hello, coffee? I’m looking at you.)

You don’t have to make your own pie crust, but once you become comfortable with the technique, the flavor and texture difference between homemade and store-bought crust is amazing.

Garten’s tips: First, the butter, shortening, and water need to be ice cold. (When you roll out the dough, you want to see bits of butter throughout.) Second, let the dough relax in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. Third, don’t stretch the dough at all when you ease it into the pan.

* * * * * * *

Ultimate Pumpkin Pie with Rum Whipped Cream

Ina GartenSource: “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof”

Serves 8 to 10

1 unbaked Perfect Pie Crust (recipe follows)

Dried beans, for blind baking

For the filling:

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (not pie filling)

½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup heavy cream

½ cup whole milk

2 tablespoons dark rum, such as Mount Gay

Rum Whipped Cream (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Line an 11-inch pie pan with the unbaked pie crust and place it on a sheet pan. Line the crust with parchment paper. Fill the paper three-quarters full with the beans and bake the crust for 15 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Remove the beans and paper (save the beans for another time), prick the crust all over with the tines of a fork, and bake for another 5 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, orange zest, eggs, cream, milk, and rum. Pour the filling into the baked pie shell.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the filling is just set in the middle and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely. Serve with the rum whipped cream.

* * *

Rum Whipped Cream

A dollop of mascarpone or crème fraîche in whipped cream stabilizes it so you can make it in advance and store it in the fridge without it separating.

Source: “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof”

Serves 8 to 10

1 cup cold heavy cream

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon mascarpone or crème fraîche

1 tablespoon good dark rum, such as Mount Gay

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sugar, mascarpone, rum and vanilla and beat on medium-high until it forms soft peaks. Serve with the pumpkin pie.

Note: If you overwhip the cream and it looks curdled, just add a little more cream and whip it until it forms soft peaks.

* * *

Perfect Pie Crust

Source: “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof”

Makes two (9- to 11-inch) crusts

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) very cold unsalted butter

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/5 cup very cold vegetable shortening, such as Crisco

½ cup ice water

Cut the butter in ½-inch dice and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out onto a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle at least 1 inch larger than the pie pan, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough so it doesn’t stick to the board. (You should see bits of butter in the dough.) Fold the dough in half, ease it into the pie pan without stretching at all, and unfold to fit the pan. With a small sharp paring knife, cut the dough 1 inch larger around than the pan. Fold the edge under and crimp the edge with either your fingers or the tines of a fork.

Note: I store the shortening in the refrigerator so it’s always cold. You can store the prepared pie crust in the fridge for up to a day.

 

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