Monday, November 23, 2015
I've given up on the notion of ever truly cooking for one. Even when I can manage food that will feed only me, or at least be appealing over a week of leftovers, I simply can't manage shopping for one. Abundance is my natural state, and as long as it's abundance of reasonably cheap ingredients, the Yiddishe mama in me surrenders to it. Yesterday, I tried immersion therapy, buying two pounds of butter and a pile of dried fruits and telling myself that the day's only task was to stay in and bake whatever I wanted from the piles of books in the living room. I'm particularly taken with The Violet Bakery Cookbook, by Claire Ptak, this month, and will be messing about with it some more soon.
On the list, though not at the top, was this week's Alpha Bake, Rose's Pecan Pumpkin pie. Essentially two fillings baked on top of one another in the same crust, a classic pumpkin pie on top of a classic pecan pie. Not entirely necessary, but why not? This week I played it straight, making the recipe more or less as written. Rose's flaky cream cheese pie crust, rolled out with a heavy lip to prevent early shrinkage (no par-baking in this one). The pecan filling is a simple treacle-y custard, made with corn syrup as I couldn't find the golden syrup that I thought was in my cabinet. It's probably in there somewhere. After that, a classic pumpkin filling is layered on top. I used an organic pumpkin puree, frozen and drained, mixed with some not very flavorful but nicely textured cubes of roasted cheese pumpkin. I baked the pie for a few minutes over the recommended baking time, which I worried was going to be too much for the pumpkin custard, but I really wanted to see some browning on the bottom crust. What's the point of a bottom crust if it's just going to be a layer of cardboard wax?
In the event, the pecan underlayer lent moisture to the pumpkin and there was no harm done, although it was a bit firmer than I might have cooked a plain pumpkin pie. The one co-worker who has tried it so far ate a slice very quickly and announced 'That was great!' Hopefully he and everybody else will take some home, as my freezer is filling up and I have tomorrow off as well...
although I'm already out of butter.