A soft pumpkin heart with tantalizing spicy notes enclosed in a crispy shortbread shell: the Pumpkin Pie, a must-have on U.S. tables, a dessert symbolic of Halloween and traditional on Thanksgiving Day and also popular in Italy as a luscious fall dessert.
The tradition of Pumpkin Pie developed in America hand in hand with the origin of the Thanksgiving feast, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November: on the occasion of the first feast, dating back to 1621, the Pilgrim Fathers’ menu in fact included pumpkin, one of the most widespread crops that later became the authentic emblem of the feast, featured in sweet and savory dishes alike.
The first recipe for Pumpkin Pie, prepared with a buttery puff pastry shell and a soft filling, is owed to French chef La Varenne, who in 1651 included it in the cookbook Le Cuisinier François, while the introduction of shortcrust pastry was instead the work of American Amelia Simmons, along with the addition in the filling of cream, eggs, molasses and spices.
Pumpkin Pie Ingredients
For the shortcrust pastry
For the pumpkin filling
Preparing Pumpkin Pie
Wash the pumpkin and cut it into pieces, then place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake it for 20-25 minutes.
To prepare the shortcrust pastry, place the flour in a bowl with the butter cut into cubes and work it quickly with your hands or using a planetary mixer, being careful not to let it get too hot. Then combine the salt and sugar, knead quickly, then add the egg and vodka and mix. Then wrap the resulting shortcrust pastry in plastic wrap and leave it to rest in the refrigerator for an hour.
Take the pumpkin, remove the skin and mash the pulp in a bowl, season with the sugar, 2 tablespoons of honey, salt and all the freshly ground spices, then stew it in a thick-bottomed casserole dish for about 10 minutes or bake it in a preheated oven at 200° for an hour.
In another bowl, beat the eggs with the cream and milk, and when the pumpkin pulp has cooled, add it along with the bourbon, then mix until smooth.
Flour the pastry board and roll out the shortcrust pastry to a sheet about 22 cm in diameter, making sure to place it on the edges as well and pressing it down well to make it adhere to the corners, then cut away the excess pastry. Using a fork, prick the surface of the pastry, place it in the freezer for 7 to 8 minutes. After the necessary time has elapsed, cover the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and bake uncovered for 10 minutes at 170 degrees. Then remove the baking paper and bake for another 10 minutes, then place back to cool.
Now proceed with the filling, lay the pumpkin filling on top, level it well and return to the oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes and 170 for another 15 minutes. Once cooled, cut the pumpkin pie into slices and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of cream ice cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.