Our Fall Pumpkin Festival is on October 14th this year. In honor of the versatile orange vegetable, we bring you a lovely local story as well as expert pie advice.
As part of Hillsdale’s 6th Annual Pumpkin Festival, the HGS Home Chef sponsored a pie bake-off! A dozen entries were received, and expertly judged by Louise Roback (Home Chef in-house chef, pastry maven and Guest Chef at our market) and David Wurth (Chef Owner, CrossRoads Food Shop).
Chef Louise offers you some excellent advice for achieving your best pumpkin pie:
“I recommend to folks a recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum in her Pie & Pastry Bible since she is the queen of pies and baking.
This year I adapted Rose’s technique of adding a layer of ground gingersnaps and toasted pecans to the bottom of the pie, layered in above the crust and below the custard filling. This both adds a flavor element and helps somewhat in keeping a flaky bottom crust. Not necessary; more like gilding the lily. But I encourage everyone to make their own pie crust which is always going to taste better than store bought! Recipes in Rose Levy Beranbaum Pie book and other good baking books.
I prefer to cook my own pumpkin rather than buy a can. I choose a “pie pumpkin” or “cheese pumpkin” (some like Hubbard squash), cutting a pie pumpkin in quarters (and a cheese into similar size wedges), brushing the cut edges lightly with oil and baking with cut edges down on a metal baking dish at 400 degrees for about 45-55 minutes until totally yielding and soft when poked with a fork. (Turn over after 30 minutes to the other oiled side/edge.)
Let cool, scoop out seeds & their attached webbed flesh, then scoop out solid pumpkin flesh to use for your pie. I then purée the pumpkin in a food processor for almost five minutes until completely puréed. At that point, you can weigh out the amount needed for pies, muffins, cake, etc, and freeze in labeled containers to use later.
For pumpkin pie spices, there’s probably a lot of variation based on personal preference. I prefer to skip cloves entirely because I think cloves are too dark/strong-flavored and overpower the other flavors. I like: ground ginger, good cinnamon, freshly-grated nutmeg, and a pinch of allspice.
We carry spices, pie cookbooks (many!), and baking equipment at HGS Home Chef. I am happy to talk at length with all who come to the store and want to talk baking! I hope that’s helpful, and best wishes for a successful pumpkin day!”
2635 Route 23, Hillsdale, NY 12529
518 325 7000