Friday, December 23, 2011

Mom's Pumpkin Pie - Christmas Dessert Video

Christmas is two days away so you have plenty of time to make my Mom's Pumpkin Pie. I was back in Gonzales, Louisiana around Thanksgiving and got her to cook it on camera. Boy, was it good -- so good that a lot of my Cajun cousins swung by. It was a fun and noisy day, as you will see, where everyone lines up for a slice after the pies cool down.

Mom made a wheat crust from scratch, but for the filling, she went with the convenience of canned pumpkin. I know you are disappointed that we didn't find a free pumpkin in the wild like we did a couple of weeks ago on Mom's last dessert recipe of Mini Pecan Pies -- where we went pecan picking out in a field of pecan trees (click here for that video).

Even with canned pumpkin, Mom's extra ingredients of spices, eggs, and evaporated milk, make a luscious filling with a creamy flavored kick of cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, and clove.

The rest of the pie filling was made with cheap ingredients. This week I went searching for a cheap can of pumpkin and found out how expensive it is. Almost $3 a can! 

Now, for this recipe, I am following Mom's lead, and would not have her change a family recipe handed down to her, but I can offer a 99.99 cent substitution: canned sweet yams. They are almost the same color, and by the time you add sugar and all the spices to Mom's pumpkin filling, it almost tastes the same. I've had Sweet Potato Pie (probably made with canned yams or sweet potatoes) at my local Soul Food restaurant and it's dang good. The consistency is similar to pumpkin and the flavor is sweeter. Usually, canned yams are cooked chunks floating in liquid. So if you want to make a cheaper pie using yams, you should drain the can and mash the cooked yam flesh. And, I would use half the sugar that Mom uses for her Pumpkin Pie.

The best substitution would be to fork mash the orange flesh of fresh baked and peeled sweet potatoes -- they are almost as cheap as russet potatoes. See, dear reader, I am always thinking of you, and how to make a cheaper, but still tasty twist on a typical expensive dessert!

For the heck of it, I priced premade pumpkin pies at my local grocery chain store and found them on sale for $6.99 each. That's way too One Percent for
The 99 Percenter Chef!

You could also buy an inexpensive pre-made pie crust -- but if you have time, do give Mom's homemade version a try. The whole pie came together quickly and easily. It's a two-for-one recipe. The video recipe is for 2 pies. Of course, it's easy to cut the ingredient amounts in half to bake one pie.

I have to give a big 99 thanks to all my Cajun relatives -- I didn't have to twist their arms to give Mom's Pumpkin Pie a try -- and an extra 99 thanks to Mom for sharing her recipe with all my readers. And Merry Holidays to all! See you again in the new year.

Mom's Pumpkin Pie Recipe - VIDEO
  Play it here. Video runs 8 minutes, 33 seconds.

To view or embed from YouTube, click here.

Ingredients for Pie Crusts (2 Pies)
  • 2 cups of flour - white or wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup ice-cold water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup shortening

Directions for Pie Crusts
Add flour and salt to a large bowl for mixing. Scoop in a cup of shortening. Mix in with a fork until flour becomes pea-sized lumps. Pour in a cup of cold water. Now you have to get your hands dirty. Mix the dough by hand for about 3 minutes until it all comes together. Sprinkle flour over a work surface. Plop dough on it and form it into a ball. Divide the ball in half.

With a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball until it is large enough to fit over your baking pie pan. Press dough into the pan and press together any cracks that split during the transfer. You can pinch dough ridges around the top if you want to.

Ingredients for Pumpkin Pie Filling
  • 2 cups of canned pumpkin - okay to use cheaper canned sweet potatoes or yams (drain then mash with a fork or potato masher to smooth.
  • 1 cup of sugar - use half a cup if you are using sweet potatoes or yams. Of course, best to use baked and peeled fresh orange colored yams - about 2-4, depending on the size.
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of evaporated milk

Directions for Pumpkin Pie Filling
In a large bowl mix in dry ingredients and spices including sugar, salt, ground cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.

In another small bowl, add 4 eggs and lightly whisk the egg yolks and whites together for a minute. Pour blended eggs into the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix it all together for a minute.

Spoon in 2 cups of canned pumpkin into the spices and egg mixture. Next pour in 2 cups of evaporated milk. Whisk it all together for a minute or two until well blended.

Okay to substitute cheaper sweet potatoes or yams, but first drain and mash with a fork or potato masher. They"re usually canned in liquid with large pieces.

Now it all comes together. Just pour the pie filling into both pie shells until pie shells are almost full.

Add pies to a 425 degree heated oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and finish baking for 40 minutes.

Mom uses a toothpick test to see if a pie is cooked through. She inserts a toothpick into the center of the pie, then removes the pick to see if it's wet. If it comes out clean, it's ready. If it is still wet, she puts it back in the oven for another 5 - 10 minutes. I think if the toothpick is slightly damp, you can just leave the pie out to cool, as it will continue cooking anyway.

Pie is ready to serve when it reaches room temperature (after an hour of cooling on the counter.)

Of course, you could easily half all the ingredients to make just one pie.

You can also speed up the cooling by putting the pies in the refrigerator. Since the pie plates are hot, you need to allow them to cool for 10 minutes first. Then place potholders, or a kitchen towel, on the refrigerator surface and place the pies on it. Pies store well in the refrigerator, so you can make them a couple of days beforehand -- just cover with plastic wrap after they cool down.

Pie slices are delicious on their own, but you may want to top them with whipped cream.

Of course, you can just buy a premade crust at the market for cheap. I thought it fun to show how Mom makes hers. As mentioned earlier, it is easy to cut the ingredients in half to make just one pie. You could shave off 10 minutes or so for a creamier pudding-like filling, that's still enough time to cook the crust.


Dinahsoar said...

Sure wish I had a piece of that pie! I made your mom's mini pecan pies, subbing gluten free flour for the wheat flour, and they were delicious...that recipe is a keeper. Your mom seems like one good lady who knows her way around the kitchen.

Coco said...

I just want you to know how much I enjoy your recipes and posts. I am a chef also from Baton Rouge and I live way up in Minnesota so I really miss southern cooking. Thanks for sharing all the great ideas on how to cook on the cheap!

Unknown said...

Two points if I am, te first is that I changed over to sweet potato pie versus pumpkin pie some years ago as my holiday pie. Here in Minnesota people are surprised when I serve it. The other note is that I use lard for all my pie crusts since I think it makes a flakier crust. Just the way I was taught.

Rich Hunt Minneapolis

99 Cent Chef said...

that's great Dinahsoar, I like the gluten free flour twist.

99 Cent Chef said...

hi Coco, I bet you're having a White Christmas! I've had some good times in Baton Rouge, too.

Anonymous said...

We make sweet potato pie quite often..but I just stick a few in when I'm baking white potatoes and let them cool for the next day....then mash them...cheaper than the canned and very good.

99 Cent Chef said...

hi Dani, I agree, fresh baked is better & no sugar syrup to dump out from the canned type;-p

Karen @ Desert Chica Ramblings said...

Hi! I am a new visitor (found through facebook link to LA article)... I love bargain hunting at the 99 cent store so the concept of your blog is fabulous!

P.S. I found canned pumpkin at my 99 cent store in Tucson! :-)

99 Cent Chef said...

hi kc, you out-cheaped me ;-p

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