Saturday, 6 March 2010

Pumpkin Pie in the UK

I know this will shock some of you, but pumpkin pie (my favourite) does not seem to exist here in the UK. It's not as if they don't have actual pumpkins. It's not as if they don't have pie. But they don't have tinned pumpkin, or if they do, it's not to be found in Canterbury. Go figure.

I have the good fortune of having some very cool friends in the States who learned of my plight and sent me two cans of pumpkin (at no small expense, I might add). Bless them. And God bless America. It isn't the holiday season anymore, but it is my mother's birthday today. I made a pumpkin pie in her honor. Happy Birthday, Mom!

I thought a brief photo essay would be in order to document the occasion.

First, I had to find a pie tin. I couldn't. So I got the UK version of a pie cooking thing. It's oval. It's super deep. It's Pyrex. It looks perfect for baking some sort of very meaty pie type thing, or perhaps a miniature turkey. Then I had to make the crust. Okay, I didn't actually make the crust. We bought Jus-Rol, a ready-made block of dough. Defrost it, smash it into shape and you're good to go.

To do the smash-the-dough-thing I needed a rolling pin. I didn't have one. Typical. However, I think you'll find, should you ever discover that you are rolling-pinless and yet have access to a store with a decent wine section, that a bottle of Rosemount Shiraz 2008 will work wonders with your pre-made crust. And thanks to the over-production of Aussie wines lately, it's a bargain at £4.49.

Once the crust situation was sorted, I moved on to the pre-heating of the oven and the mixing of ingredients. I didn't have ground ginger but found that grating a bit of fresh ginger with the microplane worked well. Two free hints from Chef Rhodes: 1. buy a microplane grater or three (they're wonderful - and very sharp) and 2. for easy grating, store your ginger root in the freezer and grate it while frozen - you don't even have to peel it. My lovely partner taught me both those things.

The depth of the pie dish was a bit of a challenge. I should have lowered the temp slightly as it needed to bake longer than it would have had I been using a nine inch pie tin. Live and learn. The pie is delicious. Thanks to J & L for the tins of pumpkin. I've still got one left. Hmmmmmm. Rosemount also make a decent Chardonnay which I feel certain would be up to the task of rolling out the crust next time...

the kitchen cowboy guarding the pie

Dirk Chilham, kitchen cowboy

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