I recently inherited a pie dish.
Well, actually, I suppose strictly speaking that isn't true: I rescued it from the box of stuff that Mr. Other P's mum was sorting to give away to the charity shop last time we were at her house; nobody had to die for me to get my hands on it. I don't want to be accused of sensationalising the facts here, you do see.
You'll probably never find anybody who loves pie more than me (though I think that conveys quite the wrong impression about what I look like...), and although I have made pies before, I have never done so in a proper dish. So getting one, was, for me at least, quite exciting.
But it did bring with it a big question. What would the first pie I made in it be?
Let me tell you: I was determined it would not be a sweet pie. I know you won't believe me, but it's the truth. Every fibre of my being wanted it to be savoury. I even had it nailed down to two choices (which, for those who are interested, were a sausagemeat pie with a herbed crust, or a puff-pastry pie made using the leftovers from a roast chicken, bound in a creamy and well seasoned béchamel as the filling). But needs must, dear reader, and my pie-related daydreaming proved to be time wasted.
The fact was, we needed another dessert to cater for Christmas pudding haters at our Un-Christmas Christmas earlier this month. (That's the one you have with friends at a time that's convenient for everyone to attend, for anybody who isn't familiar with the term).
My love for all things pumpkin has been well documented elsewhere, so I know you won't need further explanation of how and why we arrived at the decision to make pumpkin pie and ice cream that second dessert. However, I had never made a pumpkin pie and in fact, don't even remember having eaten one in my life before now either, except for a one-off occasion when we were little, and it was hideous. (Sorry Mum, but it really was.)
Anyway, time not being on my side (though when is it ever?), I decided to just follow the recipe for 'Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie' printed on the tin of pumpkin I had. I was dubious about it, I must say - I always think that nobody ever follows these kinds of recipes, and that they are just made up by a team of people who need to find something to fill space on packaging. So I was unsurprised to find that the recipe made more than enough filling for my pie, despite using the right size dish and everything. Fail? Well, not quite.
You would have to be a very negative person - yes, more so even than me - to be unhappy about having too much pumpkin pie filling on your hands. I think it may be one of the most delicious liquids known to man. And as it happened, I had extra pastry on my hands too (making mince pies you see - when you buy a house with an oven as big as the one that the previous owner left in our kitchen, you never switch it on to cook just one thing at a time) .
And happy day! This chance occurrence led to these...
...Pumpkin Mini-Pies! Are they not quite possibly the best thing you've seen in 2009? (And just in the nick of time too!)
You should also know that we still had filling left even after making 18 mini-pies, as well as the full sizer. We just baked it alongside, in a little Pyrex dish, and had crustless pie with ice-cream as a cook's treat afterwards. Well, you always need one of those.
Pumpkin Pie (Libby's)
You will need:
250g shortcrust pastry (I made mine - you can use shop-bought if you don't mind wasting money on something that is simple, quick and easy to make)
425g can Libby's pumpkin
175g granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
250ml evaporated milk (or single cream)
- Line a 23cm pie plate with the shortcrust pastry and bake blind for 15 minutes in a 220°C oven. I don't really think you need do this, but it says to on the tin. I didn't bake blind for the mini-pies, and they were fine.
- Mix everything else together, and pour into the baked pastry case. Don't over fill! Bake at 180°C for 40 minutes or so, until it has set. It will still be a little moist though. Rejoice in the squishyness.
- Use the leftover pastry (you'll have some!) and filling (ditto) to make mini-pies, using a mini-muffin tray. They take about 25 minutes to cook.
- Cool slightly, and serve with ice-cream.