To take my mind off my many health woes, I spent this afternoon making a pumpkin pie from scratch. And I mean SCRATCH. Scritchety-scratch. This was my first time making pumpkin pie, so I was going into this thing blind. And, since canned pumpkin and pre-made pie crusts don’t exist in this country, I was forced to get sort of Helga Homemaker and make everything myself. And it went pretty well, until I dropped the pie. But we’ll get to that in a sec.
The first hurdle I faced was figuring out how I was going to get pureed pumpkin. A survey of local grocery stores and markets turned up nada on the canned pumpkin front. This meant I would have to buy raw pumpkin and puree it myself. Getting the pumpkin was not a problem: I found raw, cubed pumpkin at my local fruit/veg market. But to puree it, I needed a food processor or a blender. I had brought my amazing, blocky Cuisinart food processor from home, but it turns out that it requires 650 watts of power to run (this is a lot) and the largest step-down transformer we could find in Joburg only went up to 100 watts. Ruh-roh. So, I was forced to buy the cheapest immersion blender I could find, instead. While I was at it, I also bought a rolling pin and a pie tin. Since I had already bought the other ingredients for the pie, I was set.
Next, I set about making the pumpkin puree-able. Going off of this recipe, I popped my cubed raw pumpkin into the oven at 200 C for 45 minutes… but afterwards, the pumpkin was still pretty hard. I ended up leaving it in the oven for almost 90 minutes, until it was soft enough to smash with a fork.
While the pumpkin was cooking, I made my pie crust following this recipe (from a South African!), which turned out to be shockingly easy. I felt so proud of myself, rolling the dough out with my new rolling pin. I wanted someone to observe me doing this and say, “wow, look at you, rolling that dough like a pro!” but no one was there, and actually, I look terrible, so it’s probably best no one witnessed any of this process.
When the pumpkin was finally cooked, I used my new immersion blender to puree it into velvety, orange goodness.
Then I added in the spices, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract, and poured that bowl of deliciousness into the pie shell, which I had flattened, more or less, onto the pie tin.
Then I popped that baby into the oven at 170-200 C for about 45 minutes. There was some mid-baking temperature adjustment because our oven is kinda wack. I tested the pie’s doneness with a fork and when it was firm but moist, I slowly, painstakingly withdrew it from the oven, an oven mitt on one hand and a towel in the other. I was inching it out of the oven when something – I’m still not sure what, but maybe a pie-stress-induced-seizure? – happened, and I dropped the pie.
It landed on the open oven door, praise Jesus (seriously) and did not flip over, but the side of it got kind of squashed. Al was sitting out in the other room watching a show called “Space Mysteries” and eating gummies when he heard me scream in agony. I then threw a really predictable type-A hissy fit about ruining my perfect pie. Al tried to convince me it looked more “homemade” this way, and I appreciated the effort, but no. It looked SO BEAUTIFUL before and now it’s ruined. RUINED, I tell you. No one will love you now, pie!
But I did taste a little bit of the filling that fell out, and daaaaaaang. It was good. So it may not look perfect, but I’m hoping people will enjoy it tomorrow. Inner beauty and all that.
Until then, happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a joyous, turkey and stuffing filled day of family, friends, and food coma.