I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was excellent. There was plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving: an awesome end to the presidential election, a much-needed four day weekend, another wonderful Thanksgiving meal and especially the fact that my pumpkin pie turned out okay! It wasn’t until my mom put me in charge of the pumpkin pie this year that I realized I had never made pie before. Crazy, I know! I’ve made my share of cakes but never pie (which is funny considering that, in the age old pie vs. cake debate, I’ll take pie any day of the week.)

Pie is intimidating, particularly when it comes to making the crust. Just type “pie crust disasters” into google and you’ll find tons of tales of pie crusts gone awry. Many pumpkin pie recipes have you pre-bake the crust before adding the filling (also called “blind baking.”) This keeps the crust from becoming soggy but can also be the source for some problems. Steam trapped under the crust can cause it to puff up considerably making for an uneven crust and reducing the amount of room available for filling. Also, the sides of the crust can shrink or sag while baking. In my case, the sides sagged quite a bit; in some places it completely folded over itself like a pair of crumpled socks! I gently eased the crust back up the sides while it was still hot from the oven and was thus able to avoid having my very own pie disaster. However, my decorative edges, which were quite “rustic” to begin with, were all but gone after pre-baking. Oh well, it doesn’t need to look good to taste good!

With my crust done, it was time to move on to the filling. The recipe that I chose, Pumpkin Butterscotch Pie, is not all that different from a standard pumpkin pie. Oh, except that it has scotch in it! To make the filling, you first heat brown sugar and butter together to form a caramel. Then, you are told to whisk in the scotch and cream until smooth. Um…it didn’t exactly happen that way for me. There was no “whisking until smooth.” As soon as the cold liquids hit the hot caramel, I was left with a solid sheet of hard candy. It looked like delicious candy, but nobody wants a pumpkin pie with a sheet of rock hard caramel in the center. Luckily, the caramel eventually melted back into the cream. Another near-crisis averted! The rest of the process – adding pumpkin and spices, filling the crust, and baking – was easy as pie (pun intended.)

The pie was a huge success! Everyone in my family went crazy for it. The butterscotch flavor wasn’t overly pronounced, yet it provided a nice, subtle background note. The crust turned out really flaky and the filling was amazingly smooth. The only issue was that the pie was a slightly off-putting neutral color. I’m thinking that this might have been because I used a fresh pumpkin which had much paler flesh than the brilliant orange stuff you find in cans. Again, it certainly doesn’t need to look good to taste good, and none of us cared one iota about the color as soon as we bit into our slices. It was a lovely way to end a lovely Thanksgiving meal (the leftovers made for an equally lovely breakfast this morning!)

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