Tag Archives: pie

Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie


Originally published at Sweetspot.ca.

Pumpkin pie sits high on the list of my favourite treats and it’s a Thanksgiving staple for me.

I chose a recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. The cookbook is filled with (over 300!) of her most treasured recipes. It’s a hefty book and I love the details that she puts into the recipes such as storing and serving instructions.

A sour cream pumpkin tart is a nice twist on the traditional pie. The added sour cream makes it extra creamy and by making it into a tart transforms this to an elegant dish. There will be extra filling for you to make mini tarts.

I found this pie subtle in spice and that the rum gave it a good spike of flavour. This dessert is worthy of being on any Thanksgiving menu.

What are some of your favourite Thanksgiving traditions?

Sweet Tart Dough

Makes enough for one 9-inch crust

Storing: Well wrapped, the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, I prefer to freeze the unbaked crust in the pan and bake it directly from the freezer—it has a fresher flavor. Just add about 5 minutes to the baking time.

In French, this dough is called pâte sablée because it is buttery, tender and sandy (that’s what sablée means). It’s much like shortbread, and it’s ideal for filling with fruit, custard or chocolate.

The simplest way to make a tart shell with this dough is to press it into the pan. You can roll out the dough, but the high proportion of butter to flour and the inclusion of confectioners’ sugar makes it finicky to roll. I always press it into the pan, but if you want to roll it, I suggest you do so between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper or inside a rolling slipcover (see page 491 of the book).

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons)

very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in—you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change—heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

To press the dough into the pan: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed—press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To partially or fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).

To fully bake the crust: Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. (I dislike lightly baked crusts, so I often keep the crust in the oven just a little longer. If you do that, just make sure to keep a close eye on the crust’s progress—it can go from golden to way too dark in a flash.) Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

To patch a partially or fully baked crust, if necessary: If there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough as soon as you remove the foil. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust. If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, bake for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.


2 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin puree

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Lightly whipped lightly sweetened cream, for topping

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

1/3 cup sour cream

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons dark rum

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat and put the pie plate (or tart pan) on it.

Put all of the filling ingredients in a food processor and process for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Alternatively, you can whisk the ingredients together vigorously in a mixing bowl. Rap the work bowl or mixing bowl against the counter to burst any surface bubbles, and pour the filling into the crust.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F and continue to bake for 35 to 45 minutes longer (20 to 25 minutes for a tart), or until a knife inserted close to the center comes out clean. If you don’t want to create a slash in your masterpiece, tap the pan gently—if the custard doesn’t jiggle, or only jiggles a teensy bit in the very center, it’s done. Transfer the pie (or tart) to a rack and cool to room temperature.

Serving: Pumpkin pie and whipped cream are naturals, and if you’ve tested the pie’s doneness with a knife, you might want to serve the whipped cream as a cover-up. I like this pie chilled, but others are fans of it at room temperature—decide for yourself.

Storing: Like most pies, this one is best served the day it is made. However, you can make the pie early in the day and keep it refrigerated until needed.

Kitchen tips:

For the smoothest pumpkin pie, process the filling in a food processor.

Spices lose their potency after awhile. To get the best flavour, make sure your spices are fresh.

If you can, splurge and use good rum as you will be able to taste the difference.


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Spicy Pumpkin Pie

Spicy Pumpkin Pie

I may have missed baking a pumpkin pie for Canadian Thanksgiving, but at least I’m in time for the American one.

This is from King Arthur Flour. Apparently Canadians prefer their pumpkin pies spicier compared to their American counterparts. I’m a fan of the spicier ones myself. Do you have a preference?

The flavours meld much better the next day. If I had to serve this, I’d make the pie one day in advance.

Recipe here.

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Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie

I always get suckered when I see things claiming to be the “best”. I then feel obligated to try it and to see if the claim is true. Most of the time I’m pretty disappointed with the outcome.

So when I saw the cook book Beat This saying that it had the best recipes, I had to test it out.

With strawberry season at full peak, the strawberry pie recipe was meant to be. Instead of rolling out the crust, you just press it in making the whole process less time consuming. I had doubts that the crust would turn out, but it actually does. The downside? If you haven’t given your pie pan a good greasing, it’ll stick and crumble when you try and slice it out. The dough turned out to be much more powdery looking than I had hoped for. I think you can add a bit of water, but I left mine as is to see if it would turn out (and it did).

Strawberry Pie

After the crust is cooled, the you beat heavy whipping cream and cream cheese that then turns into a light and fluffy filling. The strawberries aren’t baked, so make sure you’re using the best you can find.

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie from Beat This

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

3 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 quart strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup currant or seedless raspberry jelly

1. Have a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Generously butter a 9 inch pie pan.
3. Mix the pastry ingredients together until the dough starts coming together. It will still be a bit powdery looking, but once baked it’ll be fine.
4. Press in the crust and prick it with a fork in a few places.
5. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.
6. Whip the cream until soft peaks form and add the other ingredients until combined.
7. Pour into crust, smooth it out and chill for an hour.
8. Put the berries on the filling, points up. Melt the jelly on low heat and use a pastry brush to put the glaze on.
9. Refrigerate for 3 hours.

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The Pie and Pastry Bible: review

The Pie and Pastry Bible is book #2 for week 2 of my reviews. I’m a huge fan of Rose Levy Beranbaum and I practically have her entire book collection. As with her other “bibles”, this is a huge book with over 300 recipes. There is an entire chapter just on crusts. What I like most about Beranbaum’s books is that weights are listed along with the volume measurement. Weights are much more accurate as 1 cup of flour can be anywhere from 4-6 ounces — a difference that can make something dry instead of moist.

Instructions in this book are very explicit and the tone is very methodical. It seems people either love or hate this tone. The instructions can get wordy and this is sometimes confusing. I have to admit I don’t like her method for making pie crusts. She has you put all the ingredients in a big ziplock bag and use that to knead everything. I’d rather much feel the dough under my hands. The bag is there to prevent stickiness and you can use food safe gloves instead. The resulting dough is really easy to roll out and shape. Her favourite crust is the cream cheese crust, but my favourite crust in her book is the deluxe flaky one. Very flaky and tender.

(Not so) Perfect Peach Pie

I’ve made several items from the book and they have all been tasty. Noteworthy ones are the pumpkin pie, peach pie, and the cheddar cheese crust is amazing. One possible drawback is that a lot of these recipes are lengthy and usually complicated. The results are worth the labour in my opinion, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy book, this is not for you.

Overall, if you’re looking to perfect your pastry and pie making skills, this is the book that should be on your shelf. While my pies won’t win any beauty pageants any time soon, they are pretty darn tasty.

I finally made my way to Fiesta Farms and spotted Meyer lemons. I’ve only heard about these guys from food blogs. Meyer lemons are supposed to be sweeter, it’s a cross between an orange and a lemon.

Lemon, orange, meyer lemon

Lemon meringue pie was destined to be.

Lemon meringue is probably one of my most favourite kind of pie. I may even like it better than pumpkin. It’s the meringue piled high and when it’s toasted, the crunch and lightness that you get in your mouth that I love. I even like the slight tartness of a lemon, it balances the sweetness of the meringue.

Lemon meringue pie

I’m terrible at making pies look pretty. I roll out the pie dough that’s never quite circular in shape and my fluting is pitiful. It’s all about practice I guess, but maybe I should give up and make tarts instead?

I rolled out the pie dough too thin so to get a piece you grab a spoon and scoop it out onto a plate. To make matters worse, I left my Italian meringue unattended while I was whipping it and didn’t turn out quite right. Despite appearances, it’s a very smooth filling and isn’t too tart. I’d prefer it to be more tart, so I’ll use less sugar if I make it with Meyer lemons. The meringue is very light and it isn’t the usual overly sweet meringue.

I’d like to try this recipe again — it’d be nice to have a pie you could cut and serve instead of scooping it out.

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The homely, but tasty pie

(Not so) Perfect Peach Pie

I had R’s family over for dinner. This time I decided to not try all new recipes to save me a little stress but to make one new thing — a peach pie. I knew it would be a lengthy process. I started before 10am and the pie came out of the oven before 7pm. It was supposed to sit at room temperature for 3 hours prior to cutting, but dessert obviously couldn’t wait that long so everyone was served a very messy slice.

Here’s how the day went:

– Start pie dough. I was going to do it the night before, but I was already tired from making the soup that was to be served for dinner so I didn’t do it.
– Read instructions that pie dough is best when refrigerated overnight. Oops.
– Freeze ingredients for pie dough. I’ve never done this before and I probably would have skipped this if it wasn’t scorching hot in my place.
– Make dough and let dough chill. I may have made the dough wrong because it says it’s done when dough is slightly stretchy. It stretched the teeniest amount before it broke but I didn’t want to overwork the dough so I left it as is. I wish there was a YouTube clip for this.
– Roll out bottom crust, place in pan and chill. Curse my terrible pie rolling skills.
– Make filling and place in crust, then roll out top crust. Have top crust tear and do a sloppy job of patching it together.
– Chill pie. Again.
– Bake.
– Pie is done when juices bubble thickly out of the slashes of the pie. An extra 10 minutes and it still wasn’t happening. I didn’t want the peaches to be mushy so I just took it out.

(Not so) Perfect Peach Pie

Despite all the mishaps, this was an amazing pie. I would do it all over again. I’d also like to practice my pastry skills so I can be half decent at it. I sometimes forget that it takes practice before you get good at something.

I remember when I tried to make my ex-boyfriend pancakes for the first time. I beat the batter until it had no lumps (the best way to turn pancakes into frisbees).

“I’m sorry, I can’t do this”, he told me and took his plate of pancakes and dumped them in the garbage.

Thankfully with practice I’ve gotten better at making pancakes.

Recipe here (the recipe if for a galette, but in the Pie and Pastry Bible it’s put in a 9″ pan).

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