Thanksgiving is right around the corner so you have time to make my Mom's Pumpkin Pie. I was back in Gonzales, Louisiana a few years ago 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 lined 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 for 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).
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 Happy Holidays to all!
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
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.
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 the 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 must first allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Then place potholders, or a kitchen towel, on the refrigerator surface and place the pies on it. Pies are stored well in the refrigerator, so you can make them a couple of days beforehand -- just cover them 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 one pie. You could shave off 10 minutes of baking or so for a creamier pudding-like filling, that's still enough time to cook the crust.