Practicing with Pumpkin


The final product

These days, marriage not only means a white gown and til-death-do-us-part vows, but a gift registry that is as long as Gone with the Wind is verbose (though lovely and a personal favorite).  I hesitated with creating our registry, leery of adding the soup ladles, mixing bowls and fine china to a list that would surely seal my fate as an incompetent wife who fails to deliver a nutritious and delicious home-cooked meal.  Without a barbeque, J is confined to Stauffer’s Pizza so I knew I was on-point if I didn’t want us to live off of take-out and microwave dinners.  So I resolve that practice makes perfect, and what better time to start practicing than the holidays, where food is abundant and if it’s not good, well there’s always other options. 

This past Thanksgiving, I practiced with my newly acquired, fresh-off-the registry Food Processor in an attempt to create a pie crust from scratch to deliver a beloved Thanksgiving classic, Pumpkin Pie, to my family and friends. I chose the dessert because I do love to bake; I have a serious sweet tooth and I enjoy experimenting with recipes to make them more healthful.   I will substitute applesauce for butter, low-fat for whole, and modify all-purpose flour recipes to include whole-wheat flour and flaxseed.  (You can actually substitute flaxseed for eggs in a recipe to make it vegan or just to get some more essential fatty acids in your diet.) I was also fiercely tempted by the Food Processor, a tool that frequents the Food Network on almost every show.  Overcome with holiday spirit and excitement for a 4-day weekend, I decided to give it a whirl. 

This recipe came from two sources, Taste of Home web site and RealSimple magazine.   I was introduced to Taste of Home’s delicious recipes thanks to a sister-in-law’s thoughtful magazine subscription for a Christmas gift last year.  While I attempted to make the crust in this recipe, I added too much water and over-mixed the batter in the food processor (pretty much cardinal sins in the world of baking) which made the dough extremely difficult to work with.  Luckily, I had stopped by my brother’s to pick up a rolling-pin the night of said-baking and his wife gave me a recipe from RealSimple magazine that included pictures which she promptly ripped out and said, “yeah, give it a try!”  I’m glad I stopped over; I promptly switched to this recipe after my first mishap and it ended up turning out great!  Perhaps a little small for the pie plate but delicious and still rave-worthy.  (I think I was too worried about over-mixing and wasting more ingredients that I missed some butter and flour around the edges of the mixing bowl.)  The pictures are great so I highly recommend using this recipe if you’re a pie crust and food processor newbie like myself.  Practice makes perfect!  

Pie Crust Recipe ( 

  •  1¼ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for rolling the dough
  • ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  1.  In a food processor, pulse the flour, butter, sugar, and salt until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size clumps of butter remaining.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the water. Pulse until the mixture holds together when squeezed but is still crumbly (add more water, a little at a time, as necessary). Avoid overprocessing, which will make the dough tough.
  3. Place the still crumbly mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape it into a 1-inch-thick disk, using the plastic wrap to help. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. (The dough can be frozen at this point for up to 2 months.)
  4. Place the disk of dough on a floured piece of parchment or wax paper. Using your knuckles, make indentations around the perimeter of the dough (this will help prevent cracking when you roll the dough out).
  5. With a floured rolling-pin, roll the dough into an 11-inch circle (work from the center outward, and use the parchment to rotate the dough). Flour the rolling-pin, parchment, and dough as necessary to prevent sticking.
  6. Loosen the dough from the parchment and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Fit the dough into the plate (avoid stretching). Trim the dough to a 1-inch overhang and tuck it under itself to create a thick rim.
  7. With the index finger of one hand, press the dough against the thumb and forefinger of the opposite hand; continue around the perimeter of the crust. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days before using.
  •  1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon each ground allspice, nutmeg
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup fat-free evaporated milk


  1.  In a large bowl, beat the egg, egg white, sugars, salt and spices until smooth. Beat in pumpkin. Gradually beat in milk.
  2. Pour into pastry shell. Bake at 375° for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers. 

Yield: 8 servings.  1 piece equals approximately 249 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 32 mg cholesterol, 295 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2-1/2 starch, 1 fat.

One response to “Practicing with Pumpkin

  1. Pingback: The Thing About Surplus: Easy Peanut Pesto | Cold Cereal & Toast

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