Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pumpkin Pie With 3 Gingers and The Best Stuffing Ever

Last year I made my first pumpkin pie and it turned out surprisingly well since I followed a recipe that promised zing but I found that, while it was good, it was still not zingy enough for me. This time I came up with a really spicy, gingery pie that will please all of you who think regular pumpkin pie is a bit thick and cloying. The 3 gingers in this pie are crystallized, fresh and ground. Here's my recipe:

1-15 oz can of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 whole eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsps rum
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped almost reduced to a paste
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground true cinnamon (Mexican cinnamon)
1 tsp grated orange peel
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 recipe of this great pie crust (or just make the whole thing and freeze half in a disk for later)

Pre-heat oven to 375F. Roll out the dough to just a bit bigger than your 9" pie tin, place in the tin and put the whole thing in the freezer.

Whisk pumpkin and the 2 sugars together to blend, add each egg one at a time until incorporated. Add all other ingredients (except crust of course) and mix to a uniform consistency. Pour into your crust (mine does really well without blind-baking, but I thing that's due to my pie tin. You do what you think is best.) and place on a rack at the bottom third of the oven. Bake for 1 hour until the center of the pie is set. If the crust is not browning well after 45 minutes, place at the top third of the oven and that should do the trick.

Now for a beautiful and zingy decoration for your pie, make Candied Clementine Peel.First score the peel of 5 clementines (or mandarin oranges) with a serrated knife as you see here.
Then carefully separate the peel from the flesh with your fingers as so... (Or you can cut the clementines in half and juice them, then pull off the membranes and proceed from there.)

And finally take a cleaned pair of scissors and cut the peel along the rim with one hand while turning the peel with the other to make the longest slice of peel possible. By the time you get toward the center, you will have real curlicues and loopdy-loops which look great on the pie. Hint: Narrow strips of peel are NOT a goal here. Thicker strips not only remain more intact in the long, long boiling and simmering process but also serve for dramatic effect. This does make enough for snacking; I usually munch on the small, broken bits and save the long, culry things for the pie.

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!

I followed James Beard's Basic Bread Stuffing recipe. This recipe includes loads of suggestions of extras you can add. I took Mr. Beard up on the 1 cup of finely diced celery and 1 cup of toasred walnut halves then in the spirit of improvisation, and considering the fact that last years Porcini Cremini and Pancetta stuffing was a lot blander than it sounds, I added 4 ozs of hot Italian sausage (oh, I reduced the amount of butter called for by 4 tablespoons and kept all the fat from the sausage) and 1 oz of dried porcinis reconstituted in 2 cups of very hot water.

I followed the directions for combining the ingredients exactly then I browned the sausage, dumped it in then added the chopped porcinis, put the mixture into an oval baking dish and into the fridge it went (this was the day before our Thanksgiving). I strained the porcini soaking liquid to get the grit out and reserved that as well. Before baking the turkey, I poured half the porcini liquid onto the stuffing, and put it into a 400F oven. After 30 minutes, I took it out, stirred it around, added the other half of the porcini liquid and returned it to the oven for another 30 minutes. I PROMISE THIS WILL NOT DRY OUT! This can rest on your counter for a couple hours until you have taken out your turkey. While the turkey is resting and you're whisking up your gravy, stick the stuffing back into the oven and it will be warm enough to serve with everything else.


Blogger nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving. That stuffing looks amazing.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yum,yum,YUMMY! I'm going to have write this down, it looks great!

Happy Thanksgiving, Susan!

4:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful Turkey feast already!YUM!!Pie looks gorgeous:) What a visual treat.
I might do a Indian style Chicken (not Turkey) when I come back, my son still wants a feast anyway:D

Happy Thanksgiving Susan:)

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving. I love stuffing! I'm going to make this next year.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH that stuffing sound lovely. We did Prime Rib this year, but I'm planning on roasting a turkey next weekend so we can still enjoy the "traditional" meal and leftovers. I just might have to try your variation to the bsisc stuffing. The sausage, walnuts and porcini additions sound wonderful.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Tracie B. said...

hey, what happened to the cawn bread dressin'?!

6:27 PM  
Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

sounds like your thanksgiving was great! yum!i'm definitely trying that pie!

2:00 PM  
Blogger Paz said...

Everything looks so delicious. I can see you had a tasty Thanksgiving!


6:02 PM  
Anonymous Poetisa said...

So I pull Pablo over to my computer screen and say, 'Look what Susan did for Thanksgiving!' and he pushed his glasses up on his nose and said in a little voice, 'has she gone crazy ... ?'

Now he is chasing me around the living room showing me the pictures of *his* Thanksgiving Butterball Turkey Breast loaf as if I wasn't there to eat it right next to him yesterday.

OK, Campbell, let's start those first-rate leftover dishes! I can't take another turkey and mayo on toast!

6:45 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hello Everyone, Hope you all (well, those in the States and Americans abroad) had a Happy Thanksgiving! Do let me know if you try any of these dishes and how they went for you.

Asha, Indian-style Thanksgiving turkey sounds pretty tempting give us the recipe!

Cherry, So the prime rib was for your dad?

Hey Tracie, I thought about corn bread dressing! Then I thought on top of everything else, I'd have to make corn bread. What's it like BTW? Being a Northerner, I've never had it.

Hey, Poetisa!! Pablo's right, I'm nuts. This is my teaching low season anyway. Is the Butterball Turkey breast the one that's already injected with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter? Or would that be the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butterball"? As for leftovers, I made turkey stock with the carcass yesterday and had some Thai cellophane noodle soup with basil, chili, keffir lime leaves and fish sauce. But the big Kahuna of Thanksgiving lefotvers for me is the leftover turkey in Oaxacan mole. To die for. Or at least to eat and then lay in a semi-catatonic state on the sofa with your trousers unbuttoned.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you do thanksgiving with flair, susan! those pumpkin pies looked too good to eat. i tried a new pumpkin cake recipe (via mom) for the day AFTER thanksgiving since there were no leftovers of the real thing. i thought it was too sweet, but t loved it.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Melissa, Pumpkin cake sounds a lot better than pumpkin pie. Got a recipe? How did you get off with no leftovers? You must really know how to plan.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Tracie B. said...

hey susan, corn bread dressing is the best. i've never had regular bread dressing, but corn bread is just so good that i'm sure it IS the best :)

it's really easy to deal with the cornbread. you can make it way in advance and freeze it (like mom always did) or you can make it a couple of days in advance and refridgerate it.

10:00 AM  

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