The original Jack O Lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beets and has been a popular tradition here for centuries! Immigrants from Ireland brought the Jack O Lantern tradition with them when they went to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, were easier to carve into the perfect Jack O Lanterns and they made great pies too!
In recent years, Pumpkin Pie is becoming a popular Halloween dish here in Ireland, as coffee shops and restaurants have been adding this sweet, mousse-like dessert dish to their seasonal menu. I’m adding another little piece of Ireland to the Halloween story, by flavouring my Pumpkin Pie with a little Irish Whiskey. You can use whichever brand is your own favourite!
The first recorded recipe for pumpkin pie was published as a ‘Pompkin Pudding’ in 1796, in a book called American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. This cookbook is considered to be the first Cookery Book to be published by an American, in America. Only four copies of the first edition are known to exist!
Pumpkin Pie is made in the same way as a Baked Cheesecake or a Custard Tart and is flavoured with cinnamon, cloves and ginger. If you’ve never eaten some, you could be excused for thinking that it might taste like a savoury vegetable quiche – but it’s really more like a sweet cheesecake in a pastry crust! The Gingernut biscuits add flavour and also help to make the base crunchier. The evaporated milk gives a richness to the pie and the Irish whiskey works just perfectly with the spices to give it a yummy taste sensation!
You can make this recipe at any other time of year by substituting Butternut Squash or Sweet Potato instead of pumpkin. Their texture and taste are almost the same when flavoured and cooked. In the US, you can buy canned puréed pumpkin for use in cooking.
|Becky Pumpkin – Butternut Squash – Sweet Potato|
This recipe makes one 10″ x 1.5″ Pumpkin Pie
To Make the Pumpkin Puree:
Cut a medium-sized pumpkin into wedges and discard all the seeds. Cook the pumpkin in a 160*C oven for 30 minutes or in the microwave on high power for 12 minutes. Scrape off all the cooked flesh and purée it quickly in a blender until smooth. (If you are using canned pumpkin purée you’ll need to spoon it onto a clean tea-towel and squeeze away as much liquid as possible.) You’ll need 400g prepared Pumpkin Purée for the pie.
250g Plain Flour
75g Light Brown Sugar
1 medium egg
a little Cold Water
100g crushed Gingernut Biscuits
1. Rub the butter into the flour until it’s like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix in. Break in the egg and quickly pull the pastry together adding a little cold water if needed. Roll it out and line a floured 10″ Pie Dish (about 1.5 ” deep). Trim off any extra pastry.
2. Crumb the Gingernut biscuits in a blender or by placing them in a sandwich bag and rolling them with a rolling pin until fine. Sprinkle the biscuit-crumb over the pastry base, pat it down and refrigerate until needed. Crush the Gingernut Biscuits and gently press them onto the Sweet Pastry.
|Crush the Gingernut Biscuits and gently press them onto the Sweet Pastry|
3 Medium Eggs
160g Light Brown Sugar
1x 410g can Evaporated Milk
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Ginger
A pinch of ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Salt
400g Your Pumpkin Purée
35ml Irish Whiskey
1. Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them well. Add the brown sugar and mix in for 30 seconds until they’re thick and creamy. Add the can of Evaporated Milk and mix well for about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin purée along with the flavourings and mix everything together until smooth. Lastly add the whiskey and stir it into the filling.
2. Carefully pour the mix into your Pie Dish and tap the side of the dish a few times to help raise the air bubbles to the top. Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 160°C for 40 minutes.
3. Check the pie as you would when testing a sponge cake. It should be soft, but responsive to the touch when it’s cooked – giving you a little spring in the centre when gently pushed down. Leave the pie aside, in the dish to set, until cold.
|Zack’s Irish Whiskey Pumpkin Pie|