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Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Lately I’ve been really trying to make an effort with the kidlets. Now that it’s fall and the potential for even a slight downfall is around every corner, I tend to stay inside a lot more. Considering I live in a rain forest, this may seem like a surprise to you, but having lived here all my life has not made me “used” to the rain, it has made me cautious of it. I, of the large volume of frizzy, unmanageably curly and poofy hair, tend to enjoy looking out the window and sighing more so than actually strapping on the gumboots, rain coat, hat, waterproof pants, etc. Fot that is the bare minimum of clothing I would need to be out in the rain.

I hate being wet.

What can I say? I got it from my Mother. She likes to be warm and dry too. Probably the reason she moved to Mexico for the winters. Brilliant. I think I’ll be right behind her one of these years.

Lately though, as the rain has not showed up for it’s winter round the clock lashing, I’ve been taking the kids out every day. Tossing caution to the wind, I strap two sometimes screaming kids into the car, drive to whatever blissfully natural or otherwise intriguing site I can find, hop out, unstrap kids, strap one on to my chest and hold the others hand in a death grip as we meander about whatever it is we are looking at. Fun stuff. No really, it is totally worth the Herculean effort of dragging plural kids around.

I mean, look at that face. How could I not want to show her amazing things every time I have the chance? She’s only awake for so long in so many intervals at this age, so scheduling is a nightmare, but for the older one, it’s an adventure he relishes.

We’ve gone to the stream to see the salmon run (not there yet though, maybe next week) and also visited the nature house, where we learned what owl is constantly hooting outside our windows in the spring (Great Horned and Barred). If strictly for educational purposes, our outings have been a blast!

Oh and on days that ARE rainy, miserable, cold and dreary we stay inside and play with the myriad toys littering the floor in every room. No shame here. As someone once said to me, cleaning up after kids while they are still playing is like shoveling snow in a snow storm. Sometimes we venture into the kitchen for a little noontime baking session. It all seems worth the pound of flour and sugar on the floor when he puts the oven mitts on both arms and waves them around, laughing hysterically. Good times.

Something I did not let him help me with in the kitchen was this dessert though. It’s not that it’s too complicated for him or too boozy or even that it contains raw egg whites. I simply did not want to share the licking of the cooking implements. Shameful I know, but this pie was so good, I couldn’t stand to lose one bite of it to anyone. I would have sat down and eaten the whole pie should I have had to for any particular reason.

I should warn you though, that this pie has ruined me. I will never, ever, ever eat another regular pumpkin pie again. Unless I’m being polite…

This pie is all the wonderful flavours of a regular pumpkin pie (the warm spices, the pumpkin-y goodness, etc.) without the overly heavy texture and feel. This pie is light and airy, fragrant from the addition of rum and orange zest and refreshing to eat rather than a chore at the end of an already large meal. Have this pie with your Thanksgiving meal and you too will be converted, I promise.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Yield: One 9″ round pie
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time:  20 minutes

For the Crust:

2 cups digestive biscuit crumbs (about 14 cookies)**
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp each ground ginger and nutmeg
1/3 cup butter, melted

1. Grease a 9″ springform pan and preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Create crumbs from digestive biscuits by placing in a zip top plastic bag and crushing with a rolling pin, or in a food processor.
3. Mix the crumbs with the remaining crust ingredients and press evenly into greased springform pan.
4.  Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

**If you can’t find digestive biscuits, a good replacement would be shortbread cookies, arrowroot cookies or graham crackers (if you must).

For the Filling:

2 packages gelatin (such as Knox brand), or 2 tbsp gelatin powder
1/2 cup heavy cream, divided into 1/4 cups
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each ground ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon
3 eggs, separated and at room temperature
1/4 cup spiced rum
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups pumpkin purée
1 whole vanilla bean or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
zest of one navel orange

1.  Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup of cream and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
2. In a medium metal bowl, beat brown sugar, salt, spices, 1/4 cup cream, egg yolks and vanilla bean.
3. Set the bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water (or use a double boiler) and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
4. Remove from heat and whisk in the cream/gelatin mixture and orange zest.
5. Stir in the rum and pumpkin and refrigerate for one hour.
6. In bowl of stand mixer, whip the egg whites and 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into pumpkin mixture.
7. Pour over cooled crust and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
8. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Similarly delicious dessert recipes from other blogs:

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies on Smitten Kitchen
Pumpkin Spice Challah on Always Order Dessert
Sweet Pumpkin Fried Wontons on Steamy Kitchen
Pumpkin Cannoli on Cucina Panzano
Caramel Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake on The Pioneer Woman

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