Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Pumpkin pie

Store bought pie shells or even just frozen pastry is fairly hard to come by in India. That doesn't stop one from making the occasional pie at home with pastry made at home. This is a savoury pumpkin pie.. a quiche if you will. It can by all means be converted into a sweet pie by just adding sugar and the adjusting the spices. Spices that go with a sweet pumpkin pie are cinnamon and maybe some nutmeg.

Pumpkin pie with a quirky crust

Ingredients for filling:
- 400 gm yellow pumpkin (whole piece)
- 60 gm grated cheese of your choice (cheddar is fine)
- 50ml milk
- 1 egg or 1 Tbsp plain white flour (optional)
- Lemon basil
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Black pepper
- Salt

Ingredients for the shell:
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1/4 cup millet
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1Tbsp Tbsp olive oil
- 40gms chilled butter
- Salt
- Dry rosemary

The making of the shell and the filling go in tandem. Follow through in order to not have to wait between steps.

Begin with the filling. Cut the piece of yellow pumpkin in two and with the skin on pop them in a pressure cooker. Cook for about 3-4 whistles. Open once the pressure is off and let cool.

Meanwhile roast the flax seeds and the millet in a wok with 1 Tbsp of olive oil until they just begin to pop about in the wok and let them cool. Be careful not to burn them. That could make the entire shell taste burnt.

Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scoop out the cooked flesh into a bowl. You will find this easy as the skin being tougher would hold the softer flesh intact. Mash the pumpkin flesh into as smooth a puree  as you like. We like it a bit chunky and a even otherwise a blender/hand whisk is really not required.

The millet and flax must be cool enough to run in the blender. Blend into a fine powder. In a bowl mix this powder, the whole wheat flour salt and rosemary. Add the chill butter and break into pieces with your fingers. Rub the butter into the dry mixture until the result resembles wet sand i.e. it should be friable yet hold shape when pressed together. Also add one ice cube into the mixture and repeat the rubbing in process like with the butter. Spread this mixture evenly on the bottom and up the sides of a pie dish and press to make it firm. Then put the pie dish into your deep freezer. It would like like this before going in.

The shell ready to be frozen!
The pumpkin mash would have completely cooled by now. Add all the remaining ingredients for the filling except the lemon basil and also reserve about a third of the cheese. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Take out the pie shell from the freezer which would be rather firm now from the butter solidifying. Pour in the filling and spread evenly with a spoon or a offset spatula. Cover the top with the reserved cheese. Use more cheese if not covered and bake for about 40 mins.

The pie ready to be baked

Snip the lemon basil into shreds and spread on the hot pie as soon as taken out from the oven. Serve warm.

The pumpkin pie is served

- The pie shell described here is a very crumbly one. If you don't like it so crumbly step up the ice water, a tablespoon at a time and knead into a dough then press into the pan.
- The egg/flour is for binding. I actually did not use it. But if you are entertaining, its better to use it as it would give a clean cut.

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