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Classic Spiced Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie on plate

This Thanksgiving was a day of many firsts. My first American Thanksgiving – I’ve been celebrating a lifetime of Canadian Thanksgivings until I got married to my American hubby, and this year was the first time we were able to celebrate it. It was our first Thanksgiving celebration together since we’ve been married and had our own place (our very first Thanksgiving was on the road somewhere in Malaysia, I think).

It was also my first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner on my own. I know right – first American Thanksgiving, first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner – aren’t you asking for trouble here, Camilla? Fortunately I have very understanding friends who praise all my efforts no matter how they taste.

And not only was it my first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner, but it was also my first time roasting a chicken in a toaster oven. Yes, you heard me, a chicken! I suppose it might be possible to find a turkey in China, but my Chinese isn’t yet good enough to ask for and bargain for a huo ji. Plus, I don’t think I could fit a turkey in my little toaster oven. So a chicken it was.

Now before you think I totally copped out by doing a chicken instead of a turkey, consider this – I cooked two pies, a roast chicken, two vegetable side dishes, stuffing, chicken wings, mashed potatoes, and cornbread muffins, ALL using two toaster ovens, a single electric hot plate, and a rice cooker. Well? Well?! WELL?!?! Isn’t that a little something to be proud about?

Pumpkin Pies

The best thing, of course, was being able to eat the meal with our friends. It was nice to have some traditional Thanksgiving tastes while living as expats in China.

And you know what? I’m thankful to be in China. Often it frustrates me, sometimes it irritates me, and sometimes I think I just can’t take it any more…but I’m thankful for the wonderful people I’ve met, and the experience of living in a country where you just don’t know what might happen next.

Pumpkin Pie

Classic Spiced Pumpkin Pie
This pie, adapted from one on Epicurious.com, isn’t too heavy, and puréeing the pumpkin with some whipping cream in a blender creates a fluffy, smooth texture for the filling. It really is one of the best pumpkin pies I’ve ever had, if I do say so myself.  The spice mixture is nicely balanced, though I didn’t add ground cloves (didn’t have any) and used nutmeg instead.

One pie crust (make your own or storebought)
2 cups pumpkin purée
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¾ cup golden brown sugar, packed
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1/3 tsp ground nutmeg
3 medium eggs (or two large)
pinch of salt

Bake the piecrust at 350F for 20 minutes, lined with foil and weighted with pie weights, rice or beans. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes, flattening any bubbles with the back of a spoon.

Blend the pumpkin and the whipping cream in a blender until smooth.

Whisk the sugar, spices, salt and egg together in a large bowl. Whisk in the pumpkin/cream mixture until smooth and creamy. Pour into piecrust.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325F and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until pie filling is puffed and set. Allow to cool thoroughly (the filling will deflate and flatten out beautifully) before serving.

1 comment to Classic Spiced Pumpkin Pie

  • You’ve got a great site here. Can totally relate to your Chinese experiences as I’ve spent several years in Mainland China. In Taiwan now, which is much different from the US but also much easier – though not as interesting – as Mainland China.