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Ultimate Pumpkin Pie with Rum Whipped Cream

The Challenge

This dessert actually takes care of two of our challenge recipes: Ultimate Pumpkin Pie and Ina's Perfect Pie Crust, both of which you can find here or on pages 241-244 of Foolproof.

Mary's Take:

Are y'all tired of our pumpkin recipes yet? [Lea: No, but ask me again in a week. It's like Christmas music. I love it love it love it until I can't stand it one. more. second.] We've done Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting [Lea: Yum!] and Carrot Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting [Lea: Also, yum (no exclamation point).]. Okay, the carrot cake isn't pumpkin, but all these desserts (which were strategically placed in our challenge schedule) feel like we're getting the most out of these fall flavors.

Every year, for, like, 20 years now, we have Baking Night on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We get together at our friend Heather's house (where she has some fabulous soup and appetizers for us) and we bake 2-3 pumpkin rolls and up to 4 pumpkin pies, depending on who needs what for Thanksgiving. Lea, our sister-in-law, Meaghan, and our friends Jennifer and Laura are typically in attendance, too. Here's how the night goes: Heather and I make all the desserts, Lea brings her computer as she invariably has work to do [Lea: Word. Also? Shut up.], and she, Meaghan, Jen, and Laura sit at the end of the island and drink wine [Lea: It's glorious.]. Which is fine, since Heather and I have the routine down now...mostly. We're still apt to screw up the recipes here or there.

And lest you think I'm exaggerating about how the night goes, here's Jen's FB post on our 2017 night:

We even FaceTime with my Texas girls, who have adopted the tradition. This year it'll probably be over Zoom. Or maybe, since we could be under quarantine again, we won't be getting together to bake. We'll all Zoom and bake from our own homes. 2020 sucks. [Lea: It really, really does.]

Anyway, we have always used the recipe for pumpkin pie from the back of the Libby's pumpkin can. It's straightforward, traditional, and what we're used to eating (which John just told me is what people want from their Thanksgiving meals). Ina has changed up the recipe so that it's lighter and has a little different flavor.

First task is to make the Perfect Pie Crust. It incorporates butter and shortening instead of just one or the other.

To get the flaky crust that makes this the Perfect Pie Crust, she stresses the importance of keeping the butter and shortening extra cold - like, cut it and put it back in the fridge for the 1.5 minutes it takes to get all the other ingredients into the food processor cold.

After whizzing the dough into a ball, it's placed in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. Rolling it was a dream. This dough is gorgeous! It feels great and rolls out smoothly and easily. I'm going to have to agree that it's the perfect pie crust.

I realized while making it that, even though I walk into Williams-Sonoma and tell the people that work there that I'm not looking for anything, that I HAVE everything, I do NOT have a deep-dish pie plate [Lea: I know what she's getting for Christmas!]. I have shallow ones, but not one deep enough for this amount of filling. I ended up using a tart pan instead.

Ina recommends using dried beans for the blind baking [Lea: And blind baking is...?] [Mary: It's pre-baking the crust a bit without filling so it's done when the filling is.], but, since I have pie weights, I just used those. [Lea: The hello are pie weights? These really exist in the world?!] [Mary: I told you I have everything...except an 11-inch pie plate, apparently.] [Lea: Not for long. Heh heh.]

I think I could use a second set of them to actually cover the bottom of the crust.

While that was baking, I made the filling, which includes the fun twist of orange zest and dark rum.

How many of you care which size eggs you're using in a recipe? [Lea: Guess.] I typically just have large eggs (because who needs 2 egg cartons in their fridge? Mine is too full of condiments to fit them, remember?) but this recipe calls for XL eggs. [Lea: Funny, we only have XL in our house.] I use this nifty little conversion chart for egg sizes when baking.

My crust shrank during its blind baking, so I was afraid it would spill over when I poured in the filling.

(The pouring went fine, it was during the transfer to the oven where I tipped the pan and over the crust edge it went.)

But it turned out (mostly) pretty anyway.

Okay, the third part of this recipe (are you still with me?) is the Rum Whipped Cream. Easy enough, Dump it all in the KitchenAid mixer bowl and whip until soft peaks form.

The good news about this whipped cream (besides the rum, of course) is that the crème fraîche keeps it stabilized, meaning that it will last in the fridge for a bit.

Lea's Take:

OK, I was all set to make this. I figured I'd do it on Saturday when I had more time. But then there was an OSU game (Go Bucks!)...and Mary said she was making it anyway...and was going to bring it to our house for Sunday dinner...and I figured we didn't really need two pies, right? So, there you go. Another recipe I didn't complete.

Who's keeping track of how much I suck at this challenge? [Mary: Moi.] [Lea: Besides her.] [Mary: Johnmanos.]

The Results

Mary: I loved this pumpkin pie. It was super light and I thought the orange went well with the flavors (although, as you'll see below, it wasn't for everyone). I didn't really taste the rum in the pie but loved it in the whipped cream. The crust was wonderful both to work with and to eat. Flaky, tasty, and easy.

John's review was that it was delicious and "tastes like boozy fall." (Sounds good to me, I'm a big fan of boozy fall.)

Will it replace our Baking Night Libby's special? I'd have to convince Heather, who I'd bet agrees with John that what we're used to is what we want.

Or maybe 2020 is the year to change things up...I'll let you know.

Lea: The one thing I did do for this challenge was to write the family's reactions to the pie (you're welcome):

Mom: It tastes different, what'd you do to it?

Dad: I think this is great. I wouldn't change it in any way (God bless our father) [Mary: Amen.].

Josh: I don't eat pie and I'm eating pie (I think that was a positive review). [Mary: And he said it multiple times.]

Dean: Well, if I was a reviewer at America's Test Kitchen, I think it falls flat on the pumpkin. I think it's great, but I wouldn't say it's pumpkin pie.

Meaghan: I like it, but it's too orangey for me.

Mary: I think it's super light (see? she said it that night, too) and not dense (isn't that the same as light? Boy, for a cook, her descriptions kind of stink.) [Mary: Ha, meanie.]

Lea: I liked it too. It was creamy but I agree with the others that the orange made it feel like it was something other than pumpkin pie. Not that I minded. While I love pumpkin pie, I was fine with it not tasting like pumpkin pie.

Emily (our 10-year-old niece and the baker in the family) [Mary: Um, she's 11.] [Lea: Oh shoot. Don't tell her I said that!]: I think the pie is good. The whipped cream is bitter.

Thank goodness she doesn't like the taste of alcohol (yet)!

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02 nov 2020

Baking night is one of my favorite nights of the year!! It kicks off the holidays for me!! Although I am not big into change and love traditions we may have to try out this crust recipe ?!? Not sure we want to change the good old Liibby’s pumpkin pie though!! I DO like the idea of the rum whipped creme! Yum ...

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