Sunday, November 13, 2011

Real Estate Lady Pumpkin Pie: Part 2 of the Pumpkin Pie Matchup!

Here’s the second part of Pumpkin Pie Matchup, where the second contender to compete against the Alton Brown pumpkin pie appears! Both go in… to your stomachs!

I guess matchup isn’t really fair the right descriptor here. It’s not like I combed through thousands of recipes to decide which two I’d compare. But “ill informed comparison of pumpkin pies” doesn’t quite have the right ring to it, so there you go. Now the confessions are done, on to the main event.

But, why “Real Estate Lady” pumpkin pie? This recipe turned up on the doorstep quite literally, attached to a sugar pumpkin by one of our friendly neighborhood real estate agents informing us of what the values of our homes were. Such a bold marketing plan with foresight surely belonged to a person whose tongue was able to discern the best pumpkin pie recipe within my zip code!  Upon doing some further research on the web, it turns out that the recipe is really just a modified Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe, substituting Libby’s canned pumpkin with freshly pureed pumpkin (handily supplied by the friendly local real estate agent, in case you forgot.)

Whatever the reason, the arbitrariness with which this recipe came to me warrants it a spot in this two part challenge.

First off, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Not having pumpkin pie spice on hand, I fashioned my own according to this recipe. 

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4 tablespoons of cinnamon, 4 teaspoons nutmeg, 4 teaspoons of ground ginger and 3 teaspoons of allspice together make a good amount of pumpkin pie spice, of which you will only need a small amount (2.25 teaspoons.)

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On to the filling. It consists of pumpkin puree, kosher salt, a bit of all purpose flour, evaporated milk, brown sugar, eggs and the spice.

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Ah, I made my own crust too. That’s for another post. If not, a standard canister or pie pan of unbaked crust I am sure will be fine.

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First crack two eggs into a large mixing bowl.

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Mix after each addition of the following: brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt and flour.

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Then add the pumpkin puree.

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Once that is fully mixed, add the evaporated milk and stir until consistent.

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Roll out or otherwise prepare your crust.

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Perhaps my crust was too thick, or my pie dish too shallow, so with the excess I poured it into an oven safe bowl. Not sure they make em like that anymore. If you happen to make a barista like horseshoe design, marvel at it briefly and preserve on digital media. Wrap a small piece of foil around the edge of your crust to prevent burning. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 350, and continue to bake for an additional 40-50 minutes, or until a knife in the center comes out clean.

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The bowl of pumpkin pie filling actually turned out pretty well. The badly placed foil did a bit of a number on the attractiveness of the pie however. And  a practical lesson from me; if you spilled some filling onto the baking tray… you might want to wipe it up to reduce amount of cleaning time required later. Let cool for a few hours or refrigerate and enjoy a day or two later.

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Now onto the comparison! Both pies were refrigerated for a day.

The Real Estate pie cut very neatly and came out well, physically speaking. And it looks like a pumpkin pie in all aspects.

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Alton Brown’s a bit more ragged. And a much different color than the other one.

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Both pies were sampled with and without vanilla ice cream by a panel of three relatively unbiased judges. Sorry, no whipped cream, very sorry.

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The results were different than I expected, with a two to one opinion, advantage to Alton Brown’s pumpkin pie, but the judges leaning towards that recipe saying it was only a slight preference.

Given the non traditional crust and heavy use of nutmeg instead of the more “traditional” pumpkin pie spice, I expected the Alton Brown pie to actually be at a disadvantage, but it seems that the gingersnap based crust was actually a really big hit. I believe that perhaps the ginger flavor and nutmeg flavor offset each other to approximate the pumpkin pie spice in a different way. The other pie was good as well and perhaps there was some error in my usage of a home made crust and its thickness. I feel like the crust could have benefited from some slight prebaking, even if the recipe didn’t call for that. That said, both good pies.

Here’s to having a good autumn!

 Real Estate Lady Pumpkin Pie Recipe:

1 cup light brown sugar
2 and 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (see above)
1 tablespoon of all purpose flour
2 large eggs
15 ounces of pumpkin pie puree
Evaporated Milk (12 ounce can)
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Beat eggs, and mix after each addition of the following ingredients: brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, flour, pumpkin puree.  Then carefully stir in the evaporated milk.

Pour into pie crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes then lower temperature to 350 degrees F; bake  40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Cool for two hours, then serve or refrigerate.

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