Pumpkin Custard Pie

Next week is Thanksgiving (for us here in Canada) and while my family and I don't usually get too into celebrating this holiday, I know that some people go nuts for it, like I go nuts for Christmas. And while holidays are not usually the time to stray away from the classics, I think this pie is a great alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie!

Don't go thinking this is some sort of wild and crazy take on a pumpkin pie, though. This tastes almost exactly like a pumpkin pie, but the texture is creamier, smoother, and not so stodgy and dense. That's my problem with pumpkin pies. The amount of pumpkin purée versus everything else is just too high, so the filling is basically just pumpkin purée. I love custards (as evidenced by the crazy amount of custards I have on this blog, in one form or another), so to make a pumpkin custard pie was just a no-brainer. The flavour isn't reduced or "watered down" by the custard, but you now have a silky smooth texture.

For any long term fans of this blog (are there any, apart from my Mom and Dad?), you will recognize this pie from two years ago. I won't even link back to it because the photos are just awful and I'd rather not have people going into my way way back archives and discovering how bad this blog used to be. But in any case, this is the first repeat recipe I've had but I can't help it! This pie is just too good and I will choose it over a traditional pumpkin pie always. It needs to be seen! 

So for all my fellow Canadians, I hope you have your menus planned out for next week and you have a wonderful holiday weekend with your family! For all my American readers, save this one for, what, November? Is that when yours is? It's close to Christmas I think. Anyways, save it for then. Or just make it now, I won't judge.

Pumpkin Custard Pie

Pie Dough

175 g pastry flour
50 g all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
113 g unsalted butter, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, freezer cold
57 g ice-cold water
1 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Pumpkin Creme Anglaise Filling

1 Sugar Pie pumpkin, about 2 1/4 pounds
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
400 g pumpkin puree

165 g whole milk
115 g heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground/fresh grated ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
134 g packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Maple Molasses Roasted Pecans
Recipe from Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
8 ounces (225 g) pecan halves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Caramelized Hazelnuts

375 g hazelnuts
140 g granulated sugar
45 g water

Cinnamon and Vanilla Chantilly

200 g heavy cream
20 g icing sugar
2 g vanilla paste
1/8th teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the pie crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in an electric mixer. Add the cold butter and shortening and mix on low speed until the mixture look shaggy and the pieces of butter are slightly smaller than peas. Stop the mixer and check the size of the butter, sifting through the mixture with your hands. If you find bigger chunks, smear them between your fingers.

Put the ice-cold water and vinegar into a measuring cup and stir to combine. Add the water-vinegar  to the flour-fat mixture on low speed and mix briefly with a few rotations of the paddle, but do not let the dough come together.

Turn off the mixture and scrape the sides and bottom of the mixer to make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients. Squeeze a small amount of dough in your hand. The dough should come together in a clump. If it’s too dry, add a little more water a few teaspoons at a time. 

Remove the dough from the mixer, shape into a flat circle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8th inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie tin and gently press the dough into the sides of the pan. Trim the excess dough to a 3/4th to 1 inch overhang. Fold the overhand up and over towards the inside of the pan and use your hands to gently press on the dough all around the circumference to form a neat pastry rim about 1/2 inch thick. Create your desired border. Use the trimmed dough to create pastry leaves or whatever decoration you wish.

Chill the dough for 15 to 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the pastry-lined pie tin with a piece of parchment and fill it with dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake until the bottom of the dough is baked through but not browned, 55 to 60 minutes. 

Remove the pie shell from the oven and remove the parchment, beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake the shell for a further 15 minutes to create an even golden brown colour. Remove the pie shell from the oven and let cool completely.

For the filling, if you are roasting your own pumpkin (which I highly recommend), preheat your oven to 400 F. Use a large heavy knife to quarter the pumpkin, then scrape out and discard all the fibers and seeds. Cut the pumpkin quarters in half crosswise to yield 8 pieces of pumpkin. Put the pumpkin pieces in a baking dish and toss with oil and salt. Arrange the pieces rind sides down, cover the pan with foil, and use the tip of a knife to cut a few small steam vents in the foil. Put the pan in the oven and roast until the pumpkin feels quite tender when poked with the tip of a paring knife, about an hour. Remove the foil and continue to roast until the pumpkin is very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely. Use a paring knife to peel off and discard the skins. Put the pumpkin flesh in a container of a blender and puree until smooth. You should have about 400 g of pumpkin puree. Set aside.

Reduce the oven to 300 F.

Combine the milk and cream in a heavy saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and place the scrapings and pod in the milk. In a separate bowl, add the yolks, spices, salt, and brown sugar. Whisk until slightly paler in color. Put the saucepan over medium heat and bring just to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the lid from the saucepan and bring back to just a boil. Add a ladle of the hot milk mixture to the yolks, whisking vigorously. Add the warmed yolk mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately pour the creme anglaise through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl.

Pour the creme anglaise into the blender (that still has the pumpkin puree in it). Add the whole eggs and the vanilla extract. Blend on high speed for 1 full minute. Turn off the blender and use a spatula to scrape down the sides and the bottom to make sure everything is mixed enough. Blend for a few more seconds if necessary.

Leave the pumpkin custard in the blender and allow the mixture to rest and allow any bubbles to rise to the top, about 15 minutes. Use a small ladle to skim off and discard any bubbles.

Pour the pumpkin filling into the pastry shell and transfer it to the oven. Bake until the custard and set, about 1 hour. When the pie is done, the custard should jiggle just slightly in the center when you shake the pan gently.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.

While the pie is cooling, make the pecans. Increase the oven temperature to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment sprayed with vegetable oil spray or use a silicon baking mat.

Combine the honey, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla extract, and salt in a bowl. Add the pecans and toss to combine well. Spread the pecans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring the nuts with a rubber spatula halfway through the baking time. Remove the pecans from the oven and pour them into the bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then spread the pecans on a clean baking sheet lined with parchment to cool.

For the caramelized hazelnuts, preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the hazelnut on a parchment lined sheet pan and roast until golden brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. The hazelnuts need to be warm and de-skinned when they are added to the caramel.

While the hazelnuts are roasting, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and place over low heat to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to high and cook the syrup to 116 C. Add the warm hazelnuts now and stir to coat them evenly. 

If you wish to have some candied hazelnuts, remove some when they are white and sandy-looking in the pot, before they start to caramelize. Continue cooking the hazelnuts and syrup until they are a deep amber colour and no sandy white bits remain. Spread onto a silpat lined baking sheet to cool completely. Roughly chop around 150 g of hazelnuts into pieces the size of sunflower seeds. Reserve in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

For the cinnamon and vanilla chantilly, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Whip until stiff peaks form, then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small circular tip. Pipe your desired design onto the completely cooled pie, then add some hazelnuts, pecans, and any pastry leaves or decorations you may have made.

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