Pumpkin season is here! I’ve baked my first pumpkin pie of the year with kabocha squash last week. I love using kabocha squashes (AKA Japanese pumpkins or Mami squashes) in my baking and treats because of their fluffy texture and natural sweetness. My favorite kind of pie crust is the flaky one and I am sharing with you an all-butter pie crust recipe that doesn’t make use of any vegetable shortening for the flaky texture.
For a crisp, buttery and flaky pie crust, I have the following tricks:
1. Use ice cold butter pieces and water. Flaky pie crust is created by cutting the butter pieces into the flour. When baked, these butter pieces melt, leaving behind an empty hole in the hardened crust which leads to the characteristic of a flaky pie crust. This cannot be achieved when your butter or dough is too soft and cannot hold its shape.
2. Add just enough amount of water. Moisture content of different brands of flour may vary. Add water little by little and stop once a dough can be formed. Your dough will fall apart if there is not enough water. And adding too much water will make your dough sticky and shrink after baking.
3. Chill the dough before rolling and baking in order to keep the butter pieces in its shape.
4. Add warm pie filling to the hot pre-baked pie crust to keep the pie crust crisp . This will drastically shorten the baking time and will prevent the pie crust from turning soggy.
Okay enough writing…so here’s how I make my pie~
Pumpkin Pie 南瓜批
Makes a 7 to 8 inch pie
For the Pie Crust
135 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/3 tsp salt
100 g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
2 to 3 Tbsp cold water
For the Pie Filling
2 large eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
120 g whipping cream
1 to 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (or to taste)
1 to 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar (or to taste)
300 g pumpkin puree (I used kabocha squash, see how to make roasted pumpkin puree here)
Notes: The eggs I use are about 50 g each without shells.
南瓜泥 300克 (EC用日本南瓜，烤南瓜泥做法可到這裡)
For the Pie Filling 南瓜餡
Lightly whisk eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the spices, sugars, salt and whipping cream until well combined, straining mixture to get rid of any lumps if necessary. Stir in pumpkin puree and mix until smooth.
Transfer mixture to a saucepan. Over medium-low heat and with constant stirring (to prevent the eggs from scrambling), cook mixture until it reaches 150°F/65°C on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from heat and keep warm until ready to use.
For the Pie Crust 批皮
Cut butter into pieces then place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes until firm. Keep water in the fridge until ready to use.
Combine and sift flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir with a whisk until thoroughly combined. Add in the frozen butter pieces. With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix on slow speed until the butter mixture is pea-sized (you may use a food processor or two knives to cut butter pieces into the flour, or simply rub everything together with your fingertips). If the weather is too warm and butter is becoming soft, place mixing bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes before the next step..
Add cold water to the butter-flour mixture gradually. Keep mixing on the lowest speed and stop adding water when several large clumps have formed. Scrape mixture onto the work surface then press with both hands to form a dough. Add about half a teaspoonful of water and mix again if the dough is crumbly and falls apart. Flatten the dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic food wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove dough from fridge. On a floured work surface, roll dough in a circle about 1/8 thick. Line the pie pan with dough and use your fingers to tuck the dough and fill the crevices. Remove any overhanging dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Prick the pie shell with a fork then line with aluminum foil. Fill foil with pie weights then blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. I usually start cooking my pie filling when the crust is being baked the second time.
Remove crust from the oven and cool for a few minutes on a wire rack. Fill hot crust with warm pie filling then smooth top with an offset spatula. Return pie to the oven and bake at 350ºF/180ºC until the filling sets, about 15 minutes in my oven. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of pie should register 175ºF/80ºC.
Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool.
Pie crust recipe adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking.
I used my leftover dough and filling to make these bite-sized pumpkin pies. I added Halloween decorations on top. The decorations were made with modeling chocolate.
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