Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

Pie throwdown and more November 24, 2013

Filed under: Baking,Kids,knitting — bonniep @ 10:42 pm

Baby C turned 11 months old today, but more importantly I made pie and people came over to eat it. Over the past however many years, I have been on a quest to find the best pumpkins for making pumpkin pie. Sugar pie pumpkins are the ones most often seen in stores—they look like little jack o lantern type pumpkins. I discovered Long Island cheese pumpkins at a local specialty market (Central Market, which is Whole Foods-esque) a few years ago—they are wide, flat, and peachy colored with almost neon orange flesh. And last year we tried Winter Luxury pie pumpkins from a local pumpkin patch/corn maze—they look like regular pumpkins covered in a beige lace and are fairly yellow of flesh. But never have we tried all of them at the same time.

So today I cooked five pies, using exactly the same recipe for each (a hybrid of three recipes I found online) and frozen crusts (Marie Callendar, I am not crazy enough to make that much crust. Also, not good enough at making crust). One pie used Libby’s solid pack pumpkin (which I understand is a special hybrid unique to the Libby’s company but similar to butternut squash), and three more used the various pumpkins mentioned above. Earlier in the week I had roasted each one, pureed the flesh, and left it to drain in a cheesecloth lined strainer. The fifth pie was a combination of all the leftover fillings from the first four pies.

I ran into a few issues trying to cook multiple pies at once which could account for some differences in looks. In general the self-roasted pumpkin pies cook longer, probably due to extra moisture in the pumpkin. I wouldn’t say that the spice mix I used was that great—a little bland. And I realized far too late that I had forgotten to include salt in all the pies, which could have made a huge difference.

Anyway, five pies made and labeled A – E, we had about 30 people over to the house to taste test and vote on the pies. Voting was taken fairly seriously and many made the effort to sample all five pies. Votes were 1-5 for taste, texture, looks, and overall and were tallied by software engineer and finance guests. Sadly, G did not save the file with the final results and I am a bit too tired to recompile them all now. Might redo the work later though.

 

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A=Libby’s solid pack pumpkin, B=sugar pie pumpkin, C=hybrid (a little of each), D=long island cheese pumpkin, E=winter luxury pie pumpkin

As one who spends hours many years roasting and pureeing pumpkins I was quite prejudiced against the Libby’s and going into it would have said the Luxury Pie pumpkin would be the best. However I feared that the familiar taste of the Libby’s would garner many votes. Without the scores in front of me I can’t report exacts, but the overall winner was C, the pie made with a combination of the leftover fillings from the other four pies. I guess the whole is better than the sum of its parts? A, the canned pumpkin and D the long island cheese pumpkin were close. The solid loser was B, the sugar pie pumpkin. No need to buy those anymore (actually I had given up on those a while back but for completeness felt it necessary to include it here!) I will say that every pie had some folks that loved it and some that hated it (OK, noone fully loved B).

So, that was fun. I still need to decide what to make for Thanksgiving dinner—to be honest, I have about six pies worth of frozen puree left to work through!

 

Speaking of pumpkins…I found the photos that I had been looking for of big C behind the pumpkin wheelbarrow.

078pumpkincarvingplus 164

The more things change…

And little C turned 11 months old today, but I haven’t done the formal photos yet (see: pie baking). You can tell she is quite upset.

018037007023

So, hopefully more soon! (New knit hat, and lots of other knitting and sewing happening here…)

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