|Pie for the Indecisive|
At some point during the holidays, someone has to take charge of the ensuing chaos in the refrigerator and if the result is pie, so much the better. Such was the story of my life when I opened the refrigerator days after the Thanksgiving feast and--no kidding--needed a search party to find the cream for my coffee. That's when I sized up the seemingly endless containers of leftovers and decided to make pie.
Thankfully, I'm not one to top the regulatory sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, but only a scattering of toasted pecans. This year, just days before the feast, I experimented with a recipe for sugar-brined roasted pumpkin, but things didn't turn out as planned and when I took mine from the oven it looked nothing like that picture accompanying the recipe. Once cooled, I tossed the roasted pumpkin into a container and decided that it would make a great addition to the roasted sweet potatoes slated for mashing. Thus, this mashed sweet potato and pumpkin became the basis of my pie.
After a quick swirl in the food processor, I added in a cup of whole milk, since I had none of the evaporated called for in any of the recipes I consulted, along with a few tablespoons of sugar, several large pinches of cinnamon, a grating of nutmeg, and two eggs. Once mixed and poured into a pie shell, it looked like nothing more than a squash puree, though delectable, leaving me unsure of the final result. Once baked, it seemed passable, especially if dolloped with large quantities of whipped cream and eaten with the lights off while watching a late night movie, but to me, even under such circumstances, it seemed naked. It didn't take long for me to decide on a crumble topping, a long time favorite of mine and one that tempts me to pick away at crisps and coffee cakes to no end.
Turns out it was sheer accidental genius and while the recipe for this pie was created from a need to make shelf space, this one is a keeper and will be a day after tradition in this house for years to come.
4 cups of mashed sweet potatoes and pumkin
1 cup of whole milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 T. sugar (or, more to taste)
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 unbaked pie crust
5 T. cold butter
2 packets of instant oatmeal with brown sugar
2 tablespoons of flour
pinch of salt
1. Mix together pumpkin, milk, vanilla, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until smooth and pour into a pie crust.
2. Bake in a 350 degree oven until set and the crust is turning a light golden brown.
3. Place butter, oatmeal, flour and salt into a food processor and mix until combined and crumbly.
4. Remove pie from oven and top with crumble.
5. Return pie to the oven and bake until topping is firm and golden.
6. Let the pie cool, then slice and top with dollops of fresh whipped cream.
7. Refrigerate leftovers--which, by the way, make for excellent breakfast eating along with coffee, with cream, of course.