I went on vacation and ate a lot and then came home and made Pumpkin Custard Pie that is so easy all of you should make one, too.

*taps the mic* this thing on?

I’m not going to make any excuses for my absence. i’ve been busy, and on holiday in Scotland. it was super duper amazing and i ate a lot of things that were very delicious…

such as this:

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and also, this (p.s. smoked haddock is delicious but it is very similar to asparagus in that your pee the next day will smell vaguely of smoked haddock.) :image

and various things such as this for dessert:

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i have lots of observations about eating out in Glasgow, and Glasgow in general, that i’m not sure i can articulate just yet. i think maybe some people still have the impression that all food in the UK is either fish and chips or boiled things. that is sooooo not the case. i had some sincerely gorgeous meals there— things i’d never had before, and things i’d definitely had before but they were prepared so simply and perfectly at these restaurants in Glasgow that it was like i’d never had them before. 

also, it was very affordable to go out and have a nice meal there. three course meals that would have cost me, at the low end, around 60 bucks here at home were typically less than £20 there (about $32; $40 with a glass of wine).  granted, i was on vacation and back in the real world i still wouldn’t be taking myself out to $40 meals every night, but i went there planning to check out lots of restaurants and i was able to eat out a lot more than i thought i could because of how (in comparison) inexpensive it was. 

at some point, hopefully soon, i’ll be able to put into words how i felt/feel about my trip, but for now i’ll just say that it was kinda magical and very hard to come home.

but now, i’m back at home, and it’s starting to be that time of year when i want to have something happening in my kitchen nearly all the time. i’ve volunteered to make all the sides for a friend’s thanksgiving dinner just because the idea of spending all day cooking sounds about as close to perfect as you can get.

i kicked off this flurry of culinary activity with something simple, but rather iconic of this time of year— the pumpkin pie. this was actually a pumpkin custard pie, which came from this recipe over at allrecipes.com. you should bookmark that recipe, because it was so easy, and if you follow the recipe, plus the author’s instructions to chill your pie crust until just before you pop the pie into the oven, you will have a delicious, creamy, crowd pleasing pumpkin pie. i made one to take to work today, and everyone who had a piece absolutely loved it. this will be my go to pumpkin pie recipe from here on out.

this might be a no brainer for other people, but it was a bit of a revelation for me to cook the pumpkin puree before adding the rest of the ingredients. you know how when you open a can of pumpkin it really doesn’t smell like much? in this recipe, you cook the pumpkin in a pot for about 10 minutes on medium heat, and within just a few minutes all those natural sugars start caramelizing and it really starts to smell all pumpkiny and wonderful. i believe it made for a much clearer pumpkin flavour in the final product.

the only substitutions i made (purely because i was just working with what i already had rather than making a special trip to the store) were to use a can of evaporated milk instead of the heavy cream, and to replace the ground ginger with the same amount of nutmeg. i will absolutely be trying the recipe as written, because i believe very strongly in really rich, creamy custards and the heavy cream would certainly make this into that, and i definitely prefer ginger to nutmeg almost every time. 

i used one of those pre-made roll-out crusts because i have zero counter space on which to roll out dough. i did get the shiny, smooth finish and creamy texture on the pie that comes from chilling the dough, but i feel like the crust was a little thin at the edges and was slightly darker than i really like. i have a pie shield, though, and i feel like using that next time will keep the crust from going too far in that direction.

i’ll repeat this— BOOKMARK THAT RECIPE! when you absolutely can’t think of what to bring to a holiday party, i promise this pie, humble though it may seem, will be one of the most popular items on the dessert table.

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