No, this isn’t for dessert. It’s not that kind of pie. Instead, this pumpkin pie is a main dish. While you might not think of it, pumpkin is nothing but a large squash, and you’ve probably had a whole variety of squashes as part of your meals. So, why not as a pie? After all, wouldn’t it be fun to have pie for dinner?
We’re in the process of working our way through the freezer, finding frozen bits of this and that, all of which should be used somehow. Naturally, we had frozen pumpkin left from last fall, and, with fall approaching, it had to go into something. So we just thought about it, and came up with the idea of making a pumpkin pie for dinner. Not sweet, savory. Now all we had to do was develop a recipe, but that shouldn’t be hard to scratch up.
This is entirely from the staff at Scratchin’ It headquarters, so you won’t find this recipe anywhere else. That means we can get full blame when you don’t like it, and you get all the praise when you serve it to rave reviews.
We really, really, recommend making this Pâte Brisée. It’s super easy, always turns out perfectly, and tastes delicious. Okay, we get it. A lot of people don’t like goat cheese. We didn’t really care for it, either, until we started getting Black Mesa Ranch fresh goat cheese through the CSA. Now, we aren’t necessarily suggesting that you buy Black Mesa Ranch cheese, although it’s good, but we are saying that different goat cheeses taste different, and, by trying a few from places near you (dairy goats seem to be everywhere these days), you might find one you like. Otherwise, we think this would be great using feta as a substitute. For the pumpkin, we used some that we roasted ourselves, but feel free to use canned. Eggs, well, we try very hard to use fresh, local, eggs, that come from pastured hens (we’ve seen them, and they’re out in fields, clucking and eating). Try your local farmers’ market, or check Craigslist; you’ll be surprised with what you’ll find.
Procedure in detail:
Roll and fit crust. Place the crust on a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 9-10 inch disk. Fit into an 8-inch pie plate and trim away the excess crust. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the crust. This is known as docking, and it helps keep the crust from bubbling up in spots, because one side of the crust is “docked” to the other.
Freeze crust. Place the crust in the freezer to freeze solid. While 20 minutes should be enough, it can stay longer, which makes it possible to roll the crust long before you intend to make dinner. If the crust will be in the freezer for only 20 minutes or so, we don’t bother to cover it. Much longer and we’ll wrap it in plastic.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Move a baking rack near the center of the oven for even baking.
Cook onions. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt. This seems to help them release moisture and cook a bit faster, plus it starts adding flavor. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add aromatics. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and a good grind of black pepper (or to taste), then continue cooking and stirring until you can smell the garlic and rosemary, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Process. Place the pumpkin, goat cheese, and onion mixture in the bowl of a food processor and process until mostly smooth. We really want to make sure those rosemary leaves are chopped up a bit. As you process the mixture, stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. If you’re worried about tasting raw eggs, taste and adjust seasonings, mainly salt and pepper at this point.
Add eggs. Add the eggs and nutmeg and pulse a couple of times to mix in. If you still see larger bits of rosemary, process for about a minute.
Season. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. As we said above, if you’re worried about raw eggs — we aren’t — taste and adjust before adding the eggs.
Fill crust. Scrape the mixture into the prepared crust and use a spatula to smooth the top. This filling won’t smooth out on its own, so you have to do it. If you happen to have a bit leftover crust, roll it out and cut out a shape to place in the center. We went with a goat, since it’s goat cheese filling.
Bake. Slide into the oven and bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set, about 60 minutes. The filling probably will only brown in a few spots, so don’t use that so much as a guide; instead, rely on the color of the pie crust.
Rest. Remove from the oven and let the pie rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. This gives the filling time to set completely so you’ll have nice neat slices.
We didn’t really know what to expect with this pie. The ingredients aren’t what we think of as pie ingredients, so we took a couple trepiditious bites, but it turned out to be very tasty. By adding a lot of thyme and rosemary, the herb-y flavor was nice and strong. So strong that it overwhelmed the pumpkin flavor, but, then, pumpkin prepared at home is often very mild, not like pumpkin from a can, so we think you’ll be fine. It also heated up very nicely the next day when we had the leftovers for lunch — just popped slices into the microwave for about 90 seconds, and it was perfect. Four stars.