Dueling Pies.

So for some reason I thought that all this pie making was a good idea for a weeknight. Didn't stop to think, hmm, perhaps I can make two pies from scratch on a weekend day when I don't have crap else better to do. Noooo... I went to work, went and bought some things I needed for work, and then came home and commenced to pie making around 5pm. Not one, but two "pumpkin" pies from scratch.

Pie #1: Bryan's Gram's Pumpkin Custard.

I have heard my mother-in-law say, in passing, that she's not fond of dealing with this pie, yet it is a staple at every Klinger holiday meal. It's good. It was my father-in-law's mother's recipe, and after following it last night, I have decided that this woman was SERIOUS about the pie making. Holy crap. First of all, it's made with butternut squash, not pumpkin. And a freaking butternut squash is a BEAST to cut. And when I say beast, I mean "vegetable that would really prefer not to be cut and therefore will fight you with every last fiber of its being."

I did finally tame the sucker and get it in the pot to boil. Excellent. Once it's done, I drain it and recall that the recipe Jan wrote me says, for my next step, "Sieve." So I get out the sieve and put the pumpkin in it and mash it through the best I can, and hardly anything is coming out the other side. So here's a glimpse into my thought process at this point:

"Huh. Which of these parts am I supposed to use in the pie? This part in the bowl that looks like baby food, or this part left in the sieve that looks like pumpkin? Surely I'm not supposed to press this through the sieve until I get enough baby food stuff for 2 cups... but what would be the point of the sieving if that's not what I'm supposed to use? Oh, wait, what if SIEVE is Yankee for STRAIN?! Then I'm an idiot battling this sieve for no reason! But a sieve's a sieve... I mean, they are northerners, but they speak basically the same language..."

At which point I decide to call the in-laws just to be sure I've got this right. And of course I am told that, yep, I'm using what comes through the other side of the sieve.

I sieve my ass off until I get just enough for 2 cups, throw the rest in a freezer bag, and commence to making pie crust. Because of course when I mentioned buying pre-made to my husband the day before, he whined about how his mother makes HOMEMADE pie crust (Thanks, Jan. ;-) ).

Eventually it's all ready, and into the oven it goes. In the meantime...

Pie #2: Regular Ol' Pumpkin Pie

Since I don't have a family recipe for regular ol' pumpkin pie, I used one out of my giant Baking Encyclopedia. And let me detail this process for you since I did so for Gram's Pumpkin Custard.

I cut the pumpkin into pieces and scooped out the innards. Slice, slice, scoop, scoop. Easy.
I put the pumpkin in a pot to boil.
I strained the pumpkin.
I scooped the pumpkin out of the skin.
I dumped some ingredients in the bowl.
I mixed.
I baked.

Okay, that might be overly simplified (still had to make pie crust #2), but the point is, it was SIGNIFICANTLY less work than Pie #1.

Since the pies weren't done until late last night and had to cool, Bryan hasn't sampled them yet to determine which one he likes best. I have a suspicion he's going to choose his Gram's pie. First of all, any recipe made by your grandmother is gonna win out over one from a cookbook. Secondly, Gram's pie is a custard, and pumpkin pie is thick and... well, pumpkiny. They're really two totally different types of pie, in spite of both being called pumpkin.

So we'll see. I tried a little sliver of both, and I think they're both good. Regardless of Bryan's decision, we have got some tasty pies to eat over the next few days!

Oh, and by the way, Bryan is so smitten with the jack o' lanterns we carved that while I was whipping up a frenzy in the kitchen, he went outside to have another portrait session with the pumpkins. Here's some of his handy work, with a little alteration thanks to Picasa.

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