Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pieGetty Images

Give your pumpkin pie a little Irish twist with this scrumptious traditional Halloween recipe. 

In recent years, pumpkin pie has become a very popular Halloween dish in Ireland as coffee shops and restaurants have been adding this sweet, mousse-like dessert dish to their seasonal menu.

I'm adding another little piece of Ireland to the Halloween story, by flavoring my pumpkin pie with a little Irish whiskey. You can use whichever brand is your own favorite.

The first recorded recipe for pumpkin pie was published as a "Pompkin Pudding" in 1796, in a book called "American Cookery" by Amelia Simmons. This cookbook is considered to be the first cookery book to be published by an American, in America. Only four copies of the first edition are known to exist.

Pumpkin pie is made in the same way as a baked cheesecake or a custard tart and is flavored with cinnamon, cloves and ginger. If you've never eaten some, you could be excused for thinking that it might taste like a savory vegetable quiche – but it's really more like a sweet cheesecake in a pastry crust.

Read more: Donal Skehan's ghoulish pumpkin and crispy pancetta risotto recipe

The gingernut biscuits add flavor and also help to make the base crunchier. The evaporated milk gives a richness to the pie and the Irish whiskey works just perfectly with the spices to give it a yummy taste sensation.

You can make this recipe at any other time of year by substituting butternut squash or sweet potato instead of pumpkin. Their texture and taste are almost the same when flavored and cooked. In the US, you can buy canned puréed pumpkin for use in cooking.

Whiskey Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This makes one 10" x 1.5" pumpkin pie.

To make the pumpkin puree:

  • 1 medium sized pumpkin

Method:

  1. Cut the pumpkin into wedges and discard all the seeds.
  2. Cook the pumpkin in a microwave on high power for 12 minutes.
  3. Scrape off all the cooked flesh and purée it quickly in a blender until smooth. (If you are using canned pumpkin purée you'll need to spoon it onto a clean tea-towel and squeeze away as much liquid as possible.)

You'll need 400g prepared pumpkin purée for the pie.

For the pastry:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 100g cup butter
  • 75g light brown sugar 
  • 1 medium egg
  • A little cold water
  • 100g gingernut biscuits, crushed

Method:

  1. Rub the butter into the flour until it's like breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the sugar and mix.
  3. Break in the egg and quickly pull the pastry together, adding a little cold water if needed.
  4. Roll out the pastry thinly. Line a floured 10" Pie Dish (about 1.5 " deep) with the pastry and trim off any excess.
  5. Crumb the ginger nut biscuits in a blender or by placing them in a sandwich bag and rolling them with a rolling pin until fine.
  6. Sprinkle the biscuit-crumb over the pastry base, pat it down and refrigerate until needed.

For the pie filling:

  • 3 medium eggs
  • 160g light brown sugar
  • 1x 410g can evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 400g pumpkin purée 
  • 35ml Irish whiskey

Method:

  1. Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk well.
  2. Add the brown sugar and mix in for 30 seconds until thick and creamy.
  3. Add the can of evaporated milk and mix well for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the pumpkin purée, along with the flavorings and mix everything together until smooth.
  5. Lastly, stir in the whiskey.
  6. Carefully pour the mix into the pie dish and tap the side of the dish a few times to help raise the air bubbles to the top.
  7. Bake in the center of a preheated oven at 160°C  for 40 minutes.
  8. Check the pie as you would when testing a sponge cake; It should be soft, but responsive to the touch when it's cooked, giving a little spring in the center when gently pushed down.
  9. Leave the pie aside, in the dish to set, until cold.
  10. When cold, turn the pie out by putting a flat plate on top of it and turning it over to tap the bottom of the baking tin. Lift off the tin gently.
  11. Now put your serving plate on the base of the pie and turn it back over.
  12. It's now ready to serve with a little fresh cream to which another little drop of Irish whiskey has been added.

See www.irishfoodguide.ie for more from Zack.

This article was initially published on our sister website Irish Central.