I cooked a 9-dish feast, including Paris market carrots in garlic and honey (similar recipe as in my book Kid Chef), a shaved Brussels sprouts salad with hazelnuts and shaved Parm, and my favorite spatchcock turkey (a riff on this beauty). It took a huge amount of effort, all just to feed my husband and me (I was possessed, I'll admit, but it prepared me for this project a couple weeks ago). It was totally worth it.
We ate like royalty for the next week-and-a-half. Many sandwiches and soup were made from the glorious leftovers. :D
It was this pie however, that stopped us both in our tracks. Basically, HOLY SHIT.
I'd seen this recipe in Bon Appetit and was compelled to make it, and then made some tweaks 'cuz I can't leave anything without adding my two cents...
Brûléed spicy smoked pumpkin pie with chocolate crust, adapted from Bon Appetit
for the pastry
- generous ¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1¼ cups plus 1 tbsp AP flour, plus more for dusting
3½ tbsp organic cane sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp butter, cut into cubes and freezer-cold
2 tbsp coconut oil, cut into small pieces and freezer cold
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 egg, for wash
demerara sugar, for sprinkling
for the filling
AP flour, for dusting
3 pasture-raised eggs
2 cups pumpkin or kabocha squash, seeds discarded and cut into wedges
¼ cup sour cream or crème fraîche
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground allspice
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ tsp kosher salt
¾ cup grade B maple syrup
2 tbsp bourbon (I used Woodford - Bulleit is also good)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar, for sprinkling
pecan or apple wood chips, pre-soaked for a couple hours for smoking, liquid reserved
- To make the dough, pulse cocoa powder, sugar+salt, and 1¼ cups plus 1 tbsp flour in the bowl of a food processor to combine. Add butter+coconut oil and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size bits of butter and coconut oil remaining. Add egg yolk and pulse until just combined. Drizzle vinegar, combined with a couple tablespoons of ice water, through the feed tube and pulse until just combined. Squeeze a clump of dough between your fingers: it should hold together but not be wet.Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, flatten slightly, and cut into quarters. Stack pieces on top of one another, placing unincorporated crumbly pieces of dough between layers and press down to combine. Repeat process twice more (all pieces of dough should be incorporated at this point). Shape dough into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap in cellophane and chill at least 1 hour.Roast pumpkin wedges on a rimmed baking sheet, rubbed with a little good olive oil, for 20 minutes or until beginning to become tender when pierced with a knife - there should be a slight resistance. Lower heat to 250 degrees and transfer pumpkin wedges to a smoker (or to an aluminum roasting pan, set on a roasting rack to separate the wood from the pumpkin, and sealed securely with aluminum foil). Smoke pumpkin for 30-45 minutes over a single layer of wood chips, or until smoky to your liking. Check after 20 minutes to ensure wood is smoking but not igniting. Add reserved soaking liquid as needed to keep wood chips from catching fire.Let pumpkin cool fully, then scrape flesh from skin and mash with a fork until smooth. Alternatively, use a hand-held blender and purée. Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees.Separate 1/4 of the dough, and roll out the remainder on a lightly floured surface into a 12” round. Transfer to a 9” pie dish. Gently lift edges to allow dough to slump into the dish. Trim any overhang and add to the reserved dough. Separate reserved portion into 4 equal chunks and roll out into thinnish ropes, each about 12 inches long. Twist rope in pairs, then line the border, pressing lightly to affix. Lace ends together for a seamless effect. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour or in freezer 15 minutes.Line pastry with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is dry at the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove paper and weights and bake until surface of crust looks dry, about 7 minutes more. Brush bottom and sides of crust with 1 beaten egg and sprinkle twisted edge with sugar. Return to oven and bake until dry and set, about 3 minutes. (Brushing crust with egg and then baking prevents a soggy crust.)Whisk pumpkin purée, sour cream or crème fraîche, bourbon, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne, and eggs in a large bowl. Set aside.
Pour maple syrup in a small saucepan and bring syrup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrup has thickened and small puffs of steam release, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add cream in 3 additions, stirring with a silicone spatula after each addition until smooth. Gradually whisk hot maple cream into pumpkin mixture.
Place pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in filling. Bake pie, rotating halfway through, until set around edge and center jiggles just barely, about 50 minutes. Transfer pie dish to a wire rack and let it cool fully.
Just before serving, sprinkle pie with sugar. Use a kitchen torch, brûlée the sugar to melt and turn into a dark brown "glass" on the surface. I scorched mine in places and the results furthered the overall. A total delight.If you make the pie, please let me know. I was shocked to realize it's been a year since I made it and plan on remedying that error pronto!My dear parents arrive tomorrow for a week - to be spent largely in great conversation and similar eating. We will visit family together for Thanksgiving and eat their food, catch up on the year's stories, and return home more full than I prefer. But, there is humanity in connecting with food and folks not exactly like me - something we all could probably benefit from. Happy Thanksgiving!