So excited to have fresh canned pumpkin shipped to me by Mr. Flip Flop's sister, Ruth, in Indiana. I used her recipe and pumpkin last year to make my first ever pie from fresh pumpkin. It was, indisputably, the best pumpkin pie I have ever eaten. Hope this year's lives up to the previous one.
I didn't have luck last year with my fancy pie crust border. A few years ago I used a leaf cookie cutter and used a paring knife to mark the veins. That was quite labor intensive, but looked beautiful IMHO, for a first attempt at a "fancy" crust. I baked a piece of cut-out pumpkin shape dough on top of the pie - and it didn't work very well.
Last year, I used a Paula Deen plunge cutter - but the pieces were too big for a crust edge, they just draped down - not a bad look - but it didn't look like I expected, nor wanted. I used an egg wash and a pastry brush on the crust top - and only had foil to cover my crust - I felt like the egg wash was too abundant and it browned too quickly. I was darn well determined to find a pie crust protector instead of foil for future use. I used some extra dough to cut out pumpkins and baked them separately for embellishments. They turned out quite well. Every year is a learning experience.
So, this year? I got out 3 different plunger cutters. The pumpkin from last year, with thoughts of trimming the pieces (nope - too much work).
Another large maple-type leaf from the Paula Deen set I bought last year, but it looked too big also.
Additionally, I bought a pie crust shield (silicone) that ended up being too small to cover my crust once the leaves were on the edge and caused the 10 inch pan to actually extend to about 10 1/2 inch from leaf edge to leaf edge.
I turned the shield over and placed it on the crust between the 15 and 20 minute mark, and it worked just fine!
I used the maple leaf and the pumpkin leaf from the Paula Deen set to cut out some leftover dough for toppers. Also painted those with cream and sprinkled on some sanding sugar for shine.
The toppers turned out quite nicely.
I've said it before - I am not a great pie baker, but with the right tools, even a mediocre pie baker can make a really nice pie presentation. Like men have been saying for years "it's all about having the proper tools"... well, the same thing goes in my kitchen. I try not to buy single use items, but the pie crust shield is a necessity for me. I get so frustrated trying to cover an edge of a pie without messing up the pie or the crust and having to worry that it is going to fall off. Not worth the stress and anxiety. So, this is going to be one of those "one use" products I do recommend. Too bad I can't find one that actually fits my glass pie pan. But, hey, upside down worked, so I will just go with it.
Everything came together and was placed in the oven on a cookie sheet. (just in case of high rise overflow) I took it off the cookie sheet for the last 10 minutes to ensure the bottom of the crust was done enough. It is perfectly browned. I'm so pleased. Oh, and in case you are wondering? Pillsbury refrigerated rolled pie crust. I simply can't make it any better and this is very consistent. Another de-stressing choice for me on holidays. I have not had great luck with store-brand rolled pie crust...so Pillsbury it is!
A little freshly whipped sweetened vanilla bean cream, a cute topper, and one delicious pie, ready to serve. The full recipe is on the 2013 blog post which you can find here. If you have the chance to make a pumpkin pie using fresh pumpkin, it is really something special! If you don't have the inclination, canned pumpkin is great - I've used it for years...but give these pie crust decorations a try - easy enough to do, and makes a simple pie look special!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone...
Bon appetit, Y'all!!!