Baker's Corner: Joy's Book Signing & Pumpkin Pie

I mentioned yesterday that I was going make a pie for Thanksgiving. And I did! It was glorious! The inspiration came from a recent book signing I went to for Joy the Baker. Time out...yes, OMG, I met Joy the Baker! She's real. And she baked! Ahhh! Okay, calm again. 

At the book signing Joy, demoed the making of pumpkin praline pies using a recipe from her new cookbook, Homemade Decadence. And you know what's even better? Joy, and the folks that hosted the signing at Book Larder, made everyone mini pumpkin praline pies. Deliciousness. I new at the moment I devoured my mini pie* that I decided I would make this pie.  (*I also plotted a way to sneak a second mini pie. Sadly, it was a no go).

I'm sure you're like, "ya ya ya"...you met Joy the Baker...big deal. But, I counter that with this question: Do you like what I bake up? Well, many of these goodies are Joy's recipes. Appreciation! Also, we are both Joys. Her first name is Joy, my middle name is Joy. It's meant to be...we should totally be besties. With her in New Orleans, I don't think it'll happen. 

But Let's get to my pie now. Here's me Heather Joy the Baker and the new cookbook...

I've had a sugar pumpkin on our table as decoration for a few weeks. I knew it was going to die soon, so I decided to make pumpkin puree. I don't always use real pumpkin because honestly the canned stuff works totally fine and is still delicious. But i didn't want to pumpkin to rot and then not have a chance to fulfill it's destiny. Doesn't every pumpkin dream of becoming a pie?

{Pumpkin Puree} It's actually easy...I swear. Cut the pumpkin in half and place face down on a foiled pan (with cooking spray). Bake in a preheated 350 oven for ~1 hour. Let it cool and then scope out the seeds (the "yucky" stuff as my younger self would have said). Then scope out the flesh. I used my hand mixer to smooth it out, but I'm sure a fork or something would work as well. (Psst! I do this with butternut squash, too!)

{Pie Crust} Seriously, though, the canned stuff is just fine. So, now onto the pie crust. Joy's buttermilk pie crust is wonderful and pretty forgiving. Josh specifically complimented the crust, so that's a win as well. I made the crust the night before and just popped it in the fridge overnight. Tips...

  • Cold Butter - The one of the keys to success with pie crust is to make sure the butter is super cold.
  • Butter or Shortening - There is the age old question: butter or shortening. Joy says butter. Think about it...butter tastes better, so wouldn't you naturally want to put what tastes better in the crust. Uhh, makes sense to me. 

{Pie Curst Rolling} A few tips Joy shared about pie crusts. 

  • Don't overwork the dough. Try to keep the rolling to a minimum. If you roll it out and then the dough springs back, then you're close to the end. BTW, I hate when recipes say don't overwork or overmix. Well, gosh, what does that mean exactly. I especially liked this tip.
  • Rotate it. When rolling, rotate the crust as you go. Do a roll or two, and then turn it. 
  • Lift it. When you near the edge of the dough, don't continue to push down so the roller hits the table. Roll and lift. This will keep it from thinning too much at the edges. 
  • The Transfer. This tip is from a friend: To transfer the crust to the dish, roll it around on the rolling pin, and then un-roll it over the dish.
  • The Pan. Oh, and Joy recommends a thinner, tin pie pan. This heats up the crust better. Don't use glass...apparently glass takes a long time to heat up. 
  • Pre-Bake? Not really necessary, unless you're doing a cream pie. 
  • The Edges. Use your thumb and forefinger of one hand, and the forefinger knuckle of the other. I need to practice this one myself!

{The Filling} This is probably the easiest part, if you ask me. This recipe had you heat up the pumpkin, sugars, and spices. This melts the sugars and make it smooth. I opted to use some milk instead of all heavy cream. I don't think you could really tell. I think you can use heavy cream, half and half, or evaporated milk as the dairy component. I hear that this is what gives the pie the velvety texture. You chose you're own adventure. 

{Baking} This seems easy, but I've had troubles in my past pie making with this part. How jiggly is it supposed to be? I think a bit of jiggle is good, but no goopey. Are you with me? So give the pan a shimmy. Does it look more fluidly or more like jello? Jello is good. This is just my advice. I have much to learn, but it worked on this pie, so...yea. It baked for 15 minutes at 400, then reduced to 350 for the remaining 45 minutes. Bam! 

Wait that's not it! There is more! 

{Topping} This pie had a pecan praline topping. I mean, more sugar? Yes, please. I did only half the recipes for topping, and I'm glad I did. It really didn't need more than that. Next time I'll toast the pecans first, too. 

Okay, now time to devour!!! 

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Topping

{From Joy the Baker's Homemade Decadence}

Filling:

  • 2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c white sugar
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1/4 t cardamom
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla

Topping:

  • 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
  • 6 T unsalted butter
  • 3 T heavy cream
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3/4 c coarsely chopped pecans

Put a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400.

Roll out pie crust and put it in a 9โ€ณ pie dish. Try the buttermilk crust recipe I suggested above. 

For the filling, combine pumpkin, sugars, spices, and salt in medium saucepan over a medium heat. Cook until the mixture bubbles and becomes fragrant, 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in heavy cream then whisk in eggs and vanilla.

Transfer filling to the prepared crust and bake for 15 min, turn the oven down to 350 and cook for 40-50 min, until the center no longer jiggles (think jello).

This needs to cool for 30 minutes, make the topping while you wait by combining everything except the vanilla and pecans in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 3-5 min until thick and bubbly. Turn off the heat and add the vanilla and pecans. Once the pieโ€™s cooled for the 30 min, pour topping over it, let it cool about another 30 min on the counter, then transfer to the fridge until youโ€™re ready to serve.