I'm pretty loyal to apple pie and I believe that no Thanksgiving (or Christmas) is complete without an apple pie. But, I realize that other people feel the same way about pumpkin pie. You may think that I am a crazy lady, but pumpkin pie was another thing that I had never actually tried until this year. Texture is my food weakness and I always thought the texture of pumpkin pie *looked* weird. Of course I never even bothered trying it. It really wasn't fair of me to discriminate against pumpkin pie just because of its looks. That is wrong in all aspects of life. Judging based on appearances made me miss out on a quite scrumptious experience. Now, I advocate for giving every pie a chance. Sneak a bite from someone else's plate if you have to. So, now that I've had pumpkin pie, I like it and I will eat it again. I will still prefer apple, but that is just me.
This particular pumpkin pie is a bit "lightened" up. The filling is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe, with a substitution of maple syrup for some of the sugar to give it a bit deeper flavour. (Besides, on my Canadian Thanksgiving, I couldn't resist adding maple to dishes whenever possible - see cranberry sauce). The filling uses fresh roasted pumpkin purée, but you could easily use canned pumpkin. I roasted 2 small "pie" pumpkins and I ended up with about 5 cups of pumpkin purée. Feel free to freeze the extra purée or keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days.
If you aren't into pumpkin pie or apple pie, here are a few other desserts to make your Thanksgiving very special:
Brown Eyed Baker: Cranberry Upside Down Cake
My Life as a Mrs: Pumpkin Cheesecake
The Baker Chick: Pumpkin Caramel Layer Cake
Eat Live Run: Maple Pecan Pie Bites
Basic Pie Crust
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/4-1/3 cup ice cold water
Put the flour, butter, and shortening into the bowl of a large food processor and pulse until it starts to form pea sized clumps. Slowly add the ice cold water until the dough starts to form a ball. Do this slowly, so that you aren't processing the dough for too long. Add more water if dough crumbles easily.
Remove the dough from the food processor and divide it into two balls. Wrap the dough in parchment paper and chill the dough for at least an hour. Dough can be frozen and used later.
Fresh Pumpkin Purée
2 small pie or sugar pumpkins
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut the pumpkins in half and remove the seeds. Brush the cut side with vegetable oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake the pumpkins for 45 minutes.
Allow the pumpkins to cool, then scoop out the inside of the pumpkins. Place in a food processor and blend until completely puréed.
Light Maple Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
1/2 of a basic pie crust recipe
2 cups fresh pumpkin purée
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 (12-oz) can evaporated fat-free milk
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Press the crust into the pie pan. Place some pie weights in the bottom. Bake the crust for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the pie weights.
For the filling, combine pumpkin and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour into the prepared crust and bake for 1 hour at 325°F or until a knife comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.