Friday, March 14, 2014

Layered Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

In honor of Pi Day (March 14 = 3/14 = 3.14), Jeff and I decided it would be criminal not to make some sort of pie. I know that pumpkin is more of an autumn thing, but it's what we had on hand and the recipe just looked so delicious.

This recipe came from an old (1978) Better Homes and Gardens recipe book, called "All-Time Favorite Pies." I love old recipe books, they're so much fun! Anyway, this layered chiffon pie has a mild pumpkin flavor that Jeff and I agreed would be wonderful as a Thanksgiving dessert. But being so light and fluffy, it wasn't at all too heavy for early spring. Just an all-around delightful pie.

Layered Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Oil Pastry Crust
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup oil
3 tbsp. cold milk
Chiffon Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or cooked from fresh
1/2 cup milk
3 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
Whipped Cream Filling
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Prepare crust: Stir together flour and salt. Pour oil and milk into small bowl (do not stir); add all at once to flour mixture. Stir lightly with a fork. Form into a ball; flatten slightly with hands.

Cut waxed paper into two 12-inch squares. Place ball of dough between 2 squares of paper. Roll dough into circle to edges of paper (Dampen tabletop with a little water to prevent paper from slipping). Peel off top paper and fit dough, paper side up, into pie plate. Remove paper.

Prick bottom and sides of pastry all over with a fork, to prevent the crust from puffin up. Line pastry shell with a double thickness of heady-duty foil; press down firmly but carefully. Bake pastry in preheated 450 degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove foil, continue baking 5 to 7 minutes more or until pastry is golden. Set pastry aside.

Prepare chiffon filling: In a saucepan combine the 1/3 cup sugar, gelatin, salt, the 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg. Combine egg yolks, pumpkin, and milk; stir into gelatin mixture in saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat till gelatin dissolves and mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Chill gelatin mixture to the consistency of corn syrup, stirring occasionally. (That's what the recipe says. But with the pumpkin, the consistency was never anywhere near corn syrup, it was too thick and gloppy. I just chilled it until it was noticeably thickened.)

Immediately beat egg whites till soft peaks form. Gradually add the 1/4 cup sugar, beating till stiff peaks form. Fold stiff-beaten egg whites into gelatin mixture. Set aside.

Prepare whipped cream filling: Combine whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, and the 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon. Whip mixture till soft peaks form.

Spread half of chiffon filling into baked crust, top with half of whipped cream filling. Repeat layers; chill several hours or overnight until set. After serving, cover and chill to store.

I know there's a lot of steps. But the finished product is so worth it. As a side note, I really liked this method of pie crust. No shortening to cut in, no floury mess on the table to roll it out. It turned out light and crispy, a great accompaniment to the airy fluffiness of the filling. Mmm, so yummy!

P.S. Here is the book where I got the recipe. Isn't it delightful?