Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Zingy Pumpkin Pie

O.K., it's T minus 24 and we're almost ready for Thanksgiving! Today is pumpkin pie day and your finished product will sit well covered on the counter until tomorrow.

I've made some changes to this Epicurious recipe for Orange-Spice Pumpkin Pie. Pumpkin pies usually seem too thick and cloying so an even zingier pie is in order. The original recipe, actually, really goes in the direction of zingy since it includes crystallized ginger. According to the NPR (National Public Radio) pre-Thanksgiving broadcast, crystallized ginger is the "in" thing to put in your pie for 2005. SO, we're in style! I've added 1/2 tsp ground ginger to the cinnamon and nutmeg that the original recipe calls for because I want maximum zingy. To make the pie more beautiful, I'll add a decorative touch of thinly-sliced candied orange, clementine and lemon peel on top. Grapefruit works with this as well, but the others, I had on hand. Here's my recipe.


I've taken some good ideas from several candied peel recipes and come up with this one here.

1/2 packed cup peel from oranges, clementines, lemons and/or grapefruit
1 cup of granulated sugar
abundant water for boiling
1 cup water for sugar syrup

Peel the citrus fruit (except the clementines) with the large setting of a citrus zester (the one that makes 1/8 inch wide strips). Move the instrument in a circular fashion around the fruit trying to get the longest strips possible. If you succeed only some of the time, the result will still be beautiful. For clementines, score the fruit along the perimeter and carefully separate the peel halves from the fruit. Flatten the 2 concave pieces of peel and cut off any parts that tear. Slice the peel as thinly as possible with a sharp knife.

Fill a small saucepan with water and add the peel. Bring to a boil, and continue boiling uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain the water and repeat the boiling process with new water. This process helps to soften, sweeten and purify the peel.

Place 3/4 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water in another small saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook until the sugar dissolves. Add the drained peel to the sugar syrup and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.

Put the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar into a wide, shallow bowl. Once the peel has cooked for 1 hour, drain it and quickly roll it in the sugar. If you don't act quickly enough, the peel slices will stick to themselves. Arrange the longer pieces of peel into curly shapes. Remove the peel and set to dry on waxed paper.

*The left-over sugar syrup is wonderful as a sweetener for black tea!


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