When I read about Deeba’s Praline Pumpkin Pie over on Twitter a few weeks ago I just had to make it myself. The recipe originally comes from the book Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations; but as per usual I’ve made a few changes along the way.
Pumpkin pie is a traditional North American sweet dessert, a tradition during the fall and early winter especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The pumpkin is a symbol of harvest time and featured also at Halloween.
Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, presently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863. It did not become a federal holiday until 1941. Thanksgiving was historically a religious observation to give thanks to God, but is now primarily identified as a secular holiday
Now here’s the confession I made this at Halloween but have been so busy I forgot to post about it, still pumpkin pie is suitable enough for Thanksgiving so happy writing really, but, you’ll notice the Halloween pumpkin in the photos too
I have been wanting to make a pumpkin pie for ages now but something in the back of my mind kept telling me it was a bad idea; pumpkin in a sweet pie? Oh no surely that couldn’t be a good idea. The poor pumpkin has always had a rather bumpy ride of it this side of the pond — there was quite a debate about it in The Times in 1932, triggered by a letter from a gentleman who spoke of the prodigious growth of his pumpkin vine, but who added: “Whether it is a food worth eating remains to be seen.”
The purchase of two large squash boxes from Riverford gave me the excuse to ‘research’ I needed; sure even if it went disastrously wrong the wasting of one pumpkin wouldn’t be such a culinary crime if a dozen more were lurking and waiting patiently in line for use.
Like Deeba I struggle to be able to purchase tins of pumpkin puree so this recipe called for some inventive measures. Deeba went down the route of roasting a fresh pumpkin and then scraping out and mashing the flesh; I chose to peel and dice the pumpkin and then simmer it in the cream and spices before whizzing it to a smooth puree in the blender — not only did this give me a lovely flavoured pie filling but the aroma filled the house with seasonal joy.
The texture of pumpkin pie is somewhat akin to an egg custard tart. It is altogether spicier and richer though.
I didn’t have any rum to hand so used Pedro Ximenez sherry instead which worked well giving just the faintest back-note of fruitiness.
Next time I’ll skip the addition of the nuts, they really didn’t add anything much for me, much better to just have the creamy, sweet, spiced pumpkin than the pecans too. The praline topping? Oh my goodness, that stays, it’s utterly beautiful; giving a rich caramel tang to the underbelly of the pie filling.
If you’ve been having doubts about pumpkin pie, take it from me making one is worth the risk and much more besides — this recipe is a treat indeed.