What rock have I been under, that I have never heard of Maida Heatter? Though her education was in the art and fashion design and merchandising arena, she settled on a career as a pastry chef and cooking instructor. The quality of her recipes and finished products endeared her to Craig Claiborne and various celebrity media personalities and brought her into the realm of cookbook publishing. She has been awarded the James Beard Foundation Award on three separate occasions, had her recipes published in such places as Food & Wine Magazine, the New York Times, Women's Day, and Chocolatier. Her desserts have graced tables at Spago, The Four Seasons, and various Presidential luncheons ... high praise, indeed! Who knew? Not me!
I decided to create Maida Heatter's Pumpkin Pie With Pepper for this week's tribute to Number 16 on the Gourmet Live List of 50 Women Game-Changers. I have been excited about the coming of Fall and the cooler weather. I have some pumpkin stockpiled in my cupboard and I have a dinner party to go to this weekend. This pie will be perfect! This recipe was published in a New York Times article in 1993 that highlighted different uses for pumpkin ... a November article. You can guess what everyone's mind is on come November in the USA. The Thanksgiving feast cries out for different pumpkin treatments - pies, cheesecakes, roasted pumpkin cream soups ... I liked the look and spiciness of Heatter's pie recipe.
So, here goes!
Maida Heatter’s Pumpkin Pie with Pepper
1 ¾ c. chilled light cream
3 large eggs
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. finely ground black pepper
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. mace
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 c. solidly packed canned pumpkin
Pastry for a 10-inch one crust pie – blind baked
Whipped cream for serving atop the pie slices
Making the Pie:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Roll the pastry out and line a pie pan, making the edges high and fluted. Prick the lower surface of the crust.
2. Line with foil and pie weights and bake for 13 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 °F, remove the pie weights and foil, and continue baking for 7 more minutes. Remove crust from oven and reset the oven temperature to 450°F.
3. Place the light cream in a saucepan and heat just until little bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Set aside.
4. Beat the eggs lightly in a deep bowl. Add and mix in the vanilla extract, sugar, salt, black pepper, ginger, mace, and nutmeg.
5. Stir in the pumpkin and mix well to incorporate and take out any lumps in the pumpkin.
6. Gradually, beat in the hot cream. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 10 minutes at 450°F.
7. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking for about 40 minutes – until the center no longer seems liquid when gently shaken.
8. Remove from the oven and cool gently to serving temperature.
So... a pie is special, but so are so many other recipes by this lady! You can see what all my blogging cohorts have chosen to bake in tribute to Maida Heatter by clicking this link to Mary's blog, One Perfect Bite. See Mary's tribute and her links to all the other food bloggers that have joined this weekly tribute to the many women who have become real influences in the food industry. Enjoy the reading (and drooling!). Next week, we will be honoring Dorothy Hamilton, a famous and influential culinary educator ... join us!
Post Recipe Note:
As you can see, I've taste-tested this recipe and the only thing I'll change is too NOT blindbake for so long. Ten minutes should be long enough to firm up the crust and seal the bottom bit so the pumpkin custard doesn't make things soggy. I used the excess pie crust to make little cinnamon sugared acorns as a pretty seasonal garnish ... possibilities there are endless, depending on your celebration.
The smell of this pie baking is incredible ... the mace really changes things up from my traditional pumpkin pie filling. As for the pepper ... I might change things up next time and add a generous pinch of ground cayenne to really 'pepper things up', as the combination of the pepper and ginger is a good one ... just sayin', Maida!