A friend came over this morning with her son to get a lesson in Pumpkin Pie making… They definitely got a lesson – in paying attention!

It was Jen’s and Brendan’s first time making a pie completely from scratch – which amazed me since she makes such fabulous sweets and desserts – so we started off with the really simple basics of pulsing the flour with the butter, adding the ice water, feeling the dough for moisture… all of the basics of making a pie dough in a food processor. The easiest way to do it, by far!

They both got it down. We formed them into disks, wrapped them, refrigerated them, made the filling, rolled, crimped, the whole bit.

Brendan got the crimping part down really well and was able to point out holes and areas that needed to be patched. The professional-looking crimped shells were filled and then placed into the 425°F oven. Next step, set the timer for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 350°F for another 40 minutes, or so.

I’ve been making this pie for years. I expected nothing short of perfection.

What I didn’t expect was to make a pizza while waiting for the timer to go off and then forget to lower the oven temperature when it did.

45 minutes of 425°F heat did not make the perfect pie I was envisioning.


What it did, though, was show that even someone who {{supposedly}} knows what they’re doing can screw up.

No, the pies weren’t perfect. The crust on one of the pies collapsed in a section and the filling ran over it. But… That’s okay. Perfection doesn’t really exist outside of PhotoShop, so don’t worry about it. And it showed that even a screw-up is better than not making it in the first place.

We both got pies to eat tonight – and we had a lot of fun being in the kitchen together. That’s really a lot more important than perfect pies, in my not so humble opinion.

And, it was a valuable lesson in cooking and baking.

Pay Attention.

On the other hand… I redeemed myself with the pizza… it was pretty good.

My moral to the story is to get into the kitchen and cook. It’s even better to get into the kitchen and cook with other people. Have fun. Laugh. Laugh at your mistakes. Stop worrying about things needing to be perfect. And then sit down and eat like you’re having the best meal of your life.

Because truly, you are!

Pie Dough

for a double crust:

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 lb butter, frozen
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp ice water – or more, as necessary

Using a food processor, add flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse to mix.

Chop up frozen butter and add. Pulse until butter is incorporated and mixture looks grainy.

Slowly add ice water. Pulse until mixed.

Turn out onto counter. Press and form mixture into 2 disks . Wrap in plastic and refrigerate about an hour to allow the flour to properly absorb the water and to relax the gluten.

Roll out crust and place in pie plate. Crimp edges and fill.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked 10″ pie shell
  • Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425°. Beat eggs, sugar, maple syrup, and spices in large bowl. Add pumpkin amd mix well. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425° F. for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Make sure you lower the temperature after 15 minutes…