I cooked all day yesterday, just for the three of us. I made nearly everything - except for the butter, the drinks, the bread for the stuffing, and the fried onions for the green beans - from scratch. Even the mushroom sauce for the green bean casserole was from scratch. It was warm and sunny. We cooked with the windows open, peeled potatoes in our shorts.
It was a non-stop kitchen extravaganza, but we did find time for playing games - Candyland and Memory - while the chicken roasted. I couldn't see roasting a turkey for two adults and a toddler, so we had chicken with herbs.
As we sat down to dinner, the song we danced to at our wedding - I've Got You Under My Skin - came on. It seemed like a sign - a sign of all that we have to be thankful for, a sign of commitment and what it really means to be in a committed relationship, a reminder that everything about us - even our beautiful girl - starts from one tiny, simple, sacred space together.
It was a beautiful day, and the only thing that would have made it more beautiful would have been if our table could have somehow magically been surrounded by all our friends and family, all the people we love so much, living or not. That would have made the meal absolutely perfect.
Most of what I made came out well, but not everything. The mashed potatoes weren't quite right, and the bread cubes I cut up for the stuffing were too large. The best part, without a doubt, was the 100 percent from scratch pumpkin pie. I've never before made a pumpkin pie that started out as an actual pumpkin, and now that I have, I'm not sure I'll ever make another one that starts out as a can. This pie was so absolutely perfect - great texture, delicious pumpkin-y taste - that the minimal (and I mean minimal) extra effort needed to roast the pumpkin instead of opening the can was completely worthwhile. The best part - even better than the fact that I still have about half of this pie left - is the fact that I have another pie pumpkin from Flying Cloud Farm in my collection of winter squashes, patiently waiting for its destiny in my pie plate.
100% From Scratch Pumpkin Pie
For the crust:
I use this recipe from Martha Stewart for my pie crusts. For this particular pie, you can halve the recipe.
For the filling:
1 whole, honest-to-goodness pie pumpkin
2 large eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup half and half
Preheat the oven to 425. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil or parchment and oil very lightly with vegetable oil. Without scooping out the seeds, roast the pumpkin, cut side down, until tender and browned - about one hour. Allow to cool completely. Discard seeds and scoop flesh (even browned spots) into a medium bowl. Puree using an immersion blender. When smooth, press through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl, discarding any solids left in the sieve.
To the pumpkin add the eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and spices. Whisk until combined, then whisk in the half and half.
Reduce oven temperature to 375. Place the pie crust in a 9-inch pie dish. Line the pie crust with tin foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until firm, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350. Pour prepared filling into baked crust. Bake until set, about 1 hour. Allow to cool on a wire rack for one hour before slicing. Serve with homemade whipped cream, and kiss those cans goodbye.