Festive Finale

November 23, 2010

 

Side-view Slice of Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

Baking should legally be a sport. I have plenty of evidence and various photo documentations to prove it. 1) Like any sport, baking requires commitment, training, pre- and post-stretching, and technique. 2) There are rules. If you don’t follow the directions, you can get very lost very easily. [but still find your way] And 3) The point is to have fun. It’s all an experience.

During my personal baking experience, I decided to go all out: It was time to bring out the Christmas music. I baked and baked through 4 different CD’s. So technically, this wasn’t totally independent: I had Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Harry Connick Jr., and Nat King Cole to help me out. To be honest, there was a lot of humming, second guessing about correct measurements, puzzled expressions, and occasional but brief swearing going on. At one point, I got so much into the Christmas spirit that I pretty much smashed one of my two eggs on the counter instead of gently cracking it. That’s when I cursed- Right as the song “O Holy Night” was softly playing in the background. I quickly apologized and began to clean up the yolky mess.

The Infamous Smashed Egg

I am happy to say that my crust finally turned out right this time. Just the right consistency: Not too damp, not too dry. The crimping, however, was a little sketchy, as the dough was getting a little warmer. But after baking in the oven, the dough seemed to take shape. My dog, Rosie, really enjoyed the dough that had managed to escape on the floor. As I was very carefully crimping, flour coating my apron, Rosie tilted her black, fluffy head up and stared at the dough. Of course by now, with this audience, the pressure was on. I tried to shoo her away, but they always come back…

Preheat to 425 degrees

Measurement of Flour

Crumbly butter and flour
Chilled Dough

Rolling Pie Dough

Flipped Dough

Crimping

The pumpkin filling was the fun part. What makes a pumpkin pie a pumpkin pie is the spices. For my recipe, I doubled them. In most recipes, you can double or triple them to make your pie more flavorful. Even when doubling mine, the flavor was not overwhelming at all. I used ginger, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, and nutmeg. The pepper sounds weird, but it totally goes. From my dessert class baking experience, I knew to fully blend the dry and wet filling ingredients separately before mixing them together with a whisk (it makes all the difference). I would also like to announce that I finally figured out how to correctly use a can-opener without looking like I had no idea what I was doing. Yay!

Measured Brown Sugar

Once I poured the filling into the crust-lined dish, I (carefully) popped the pie onto the middle rack of the oven (with oven mitts, of course). It would be only a matter of time. I was getting pretty tired at that point.

Baking Time

Unfortunately, I would not be waiting during that matter of time. I had to measure ingredients for the streusel, whisk them, then make the whipped cream. The streusel- well, I don’t think the streusel turned out the way it was supposed to. Maybe I should have added oats or pecans so the brown sugar, flour, and butter could stick to something, but the taste of the streusel was yummy anyway. It just made the pie looked like it had strange splotches or pimples. Thank goodness for the whipped cream.

Measurement for Whipping Cream

Whipped Cream

For the whipped cream, I decided to add only 3 tablespoons instead of 4 to make sure it wouldn’t be too sugary. The texture came out nice and fluffy with soft white peaks, and tasted mildly sweet with a hint (1/4 teaspoon) of vanilla. With one or two nice, big dallops of whipped cream, the unaesthetic streusel situation was taken care of while the outer crust turned out brown and crispy. As I sliced big pieces of pie for my family, each plate disappeared to the kitchen table and my mom quickly, with no hesitation, ate the first bite. Again. But, that’s okay. When I took my first bite, I thought it tasted pretty good. My parents were ravenous and kept commenting on the spices. Another odd lesson about baking: When you are the one making the dessert, you usually aren’t (for some reason) as hungry to eat it and don’t taste the spices as much since you’ve been around them. I have no idea why, but I could not even finish my piece of pie. That has definitely never happened.

Testing pie consistency

Cleaned Dishes

I hope you have enjoyed seeing (and laughing) at my photos and reading my blogs over the last couple months. I have had a lot of fun coming up with and writing them. This Thanksgiving and over the upcoming holidays, I am so excited to start making tons of my favorite desserts and try some new ones, too. (Crocquembouche, chocolate crackles, homemade apple pie, etc.) Hopefully you are encouraged and excited to have your own baking experiences now! (the reward is never-ending. Baking your own desserts has infinitely better rewards than buying what you assume to be a cookie or a questionably soggy pumpkin pie with all ? and no flavor. Another awesome part about baking: If you bake it, you’ll know what’s in it!

~Serena Sundae

P.S. Happy Holidays!

Rosie (a.k.a. my vacuum)

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