Really—if you want the single most perfect food—I think pumpkin pie is it. Eggs for protein, milk for dairy, pumpkin for vegetable, and sugar for dessert. What more do we need? A meal in a slice.
Eating pumpkin pie leftovers for lunch the day after Thanksgiving, and I mean ONLY pumpkin pie for lunch, we dubbed it the perfect food.
It’s too bad pumpkin pie is mentally reserved for Thanksgiving. I say I’ll make it at other times, but then I forget.
Pumpkin pie is a big hit with my family; I do make an exceptionally good one, if I do say so myself.
Here are my secrets:
Secret #1—Double the spices, and make the ginger a generous double portion. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, but easy on the nutmeg (it’s gritty).
Secret #2—Add an extra egg, which makes three eggs per pie. Ellie, an American neighbor when I lived in England, gave me this tip. Pumpkin pie is, after all, a custard pie, so why not load it up with eggs to make sure it sets nicely.
Secret #3— Use only the best shortening for the pie crust. (My husband says, “Use lard.”) And don’t overwork the crust; it gets tough. But then, your mother probably told you about pie crusts.
Aside from forgetting the sugar one year, which you read about last week, here’s my most memorable pumpkin pie memory.
Living in England as a twenty-something, I at least had enough sense not to run up the American flag on the Fourth of July, unlike the Americans across the street—but I did invite my English neighbors over for Thanksgiving dinner. They were very gracious and indulged me.
Sally, however, wasn’t known for her tact. When I proudly brought out my beautiful pumpkin pies over which I had slaved—making the puree from scratch, since there was no canned puree to be had—Sally screwed up her face and said, “Squash pie? That’s not a dessert.”
I wanted to laugh—and upend the pie on her head for a hat.