Friday, November 28, 2008

honey-phyllo pumpkin pie

Honey-Phyllo Pumpkin Pie 10

Yesterday we hosted the first holiday meal in our home in four years. FOUR YEARS. The remodeling project, which I've mentioned here on occasion, is taking a very long time. However, the kitchen portion of it is nearly finished, so we were long overdue for a holiday gathering. And as the aspiring hostess with the mostess, I don't think anyone was more excited than me. I poured over recipes, starched napkins, glittered leaves, and made my best attempt at creating a memorable occasion. (Mom obligingly created the lovely centerpieces for the table.) It didn't exactly go off without a hitch -- I spilled part of the pumpkin pie in the oven, reinforcements were needed to get the mashed potatoes and gravy ready in time, and, most unfortunately, Mom was too ill to participate -- but we still had many things for which to be thankful. Including this pumpkin pie.

Honey-Phyllo Pumpkin Pie 14When it comes to sweets, I'm not a pie girl. Cakes and cookies I crave, but except for the homemade apple version, pies don't interest me much. So when I tell you that one taste of this pumpkin pie made me want to snatch the pie plate and run out the door, leaving only crumbs in my wake, you'll know it must be good. So good....

I don't know if it was the fresh pumpkin puree that made all the difference, or the recipe itself, but the pie is outstanding. The fresh pumpkin puree is lighter and creamier than its canned counterpart, and so easy to make that I don't know why we all rely on the canned version so much. (OK, sugar pie pumpkins can be a little tough to locate in some areas. I got mine at Whole Foods and brought them on the airplane with me.) The phyllo dough preparation looks daunting, but it turned out to be fairly simple. And accented with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, the flaky phyllo crust was a wonderful complement to the pie filling. The walnut streusel completed the triumvirate and added a fantastic crunch to the dish. With such an amazing flavor, it seems a shame to wait until next Thanksgiving to make this again. I wonder where I can find sugar pie pumpkins in February? (I think this would be a more than suitable replacement for those chalky candy hearts most people eat that month....)

Roasting Pumpkins for Honey-Phyllo Pumpkin PieHoney-Phyllo Pumpkin Pie 4
Honey-Phyllo Pumpkin Pie 5Honey-Phyllo Pumpkin Pie 8

Honey-Phyllo Pumpkin Pie
A recipe from Martha Stewart Living November 2008
Serves 12

Fresh Pumpkin Puree
1 sugar pie pumpkin

Walnut-Oatmeal Streusel
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
3 ounces (1/3 cup) finely chopped walnuts
7 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey

1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
17 sheets phyllo, 8 1/2" by 13 1/2" sheets, thawed
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
Walnut-Oatmeal Streusel
15 ounces fresh pumpkin puree or 1 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 eggs
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves

To Make Fresh Pumpkin Puree:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the stem from 1 sugar pie pumpkin and slice the pumpkin in half. Place halves cut side down in a baking dish filled with 1" of water. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the halves can be easily pierced with a knife.

Let the pumpkins cool and then use a large spoon to scoop out and discard the pumpkin seeds. Scoop out the flesh and then puree it in a food processor or blender.

To Make the Walnut-Oatmeal Streusel:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine oats, walnuts, flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Melt butter and whisk in honey. Stir into oat mixture.

Spread streusel on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a nonstick baking mat. Bake, stirring occasionally, until light gold and crunch, 12-15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet on a wire rack. Streusel will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

To Make the Pie:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fold a piece of foil lengthwise to make a 2"-wide collar and fit it around a 9" deep dish pie plate, extending it 1/2" above the dish. Combine granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon in a small bowl.

Brush 1 sheet of phyllo with butter and generously sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Then sprinkle 2 tablespoons streusel over half the sheet. Fold the sheet in half from left to right. Brush top with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Gently scrunch right side, then fold back corners of left side to create a petal shape. Place phyllo in dish, pressing scrunched side into dish and tucking folded corners under (phyllo will not reach the center of the dish). Repeat 13 times, overlapping sheets when placing them in the dish.

Brush remaining phyllo sheets with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, and fold into quarters. Press into the dish to cover the bottom. Brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Cut a circle of parchment at least 16" wide and fit into phyllo pie shell. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges begin to turn gold, about 10 minutes. Remove pie weights, parchment, and foil collar. Continue to bake until crust is golden brown, 10-15 minutes more.

Transfer dish to a rimmed baking sheet. Mix pumpkin, brown sugar, honey, eggs, milk, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, remaining cinnamon, ginger, and a pinch of cloves in a large bowl. Pour into crust. Tent edges with foil and bake until center is set but still a bit wobbly, 60-65 minutes*. Let cool in pie dish on a wire rack. Sprinkle with streusel and serve at room temperature.

* I had to bake mine a lot longer -- about 35-40 minutes more, I think. I don't know if this was because I tented the whole pie with foil (I found it difficult to tent only the fragile crust) and that prevented it from baking, or if it was because Martha's original recipe was made for canned pumpkin pie.

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